Meta: The State Of Linux Tips #13

Today’s article is just a quick one, a meta article. I try to write one of these every month, at the most, or when things happen around the site that I think folks would be interested in.

So, for a while, there were no Google ads. It turned out a site I added to my AdSense account was considered ‘invalid traffic’, which is a vague term that seems to mean it’s whatever Google says it is when they say it. I resolved that issue.

At that point, ads were being shown again – and I know folks clicked on ’em. My readers are kinda creatures of habit, so I’m positive there were clicks. For whatever reason, Google gave me no credit for those clicks.

Then, the pay period ended… 

It could be coincidence, but the site started generating ad revenue when the pay period ended and a new one began. The site has since been getting credit for your clicks. While I like your clicks, I want to remind folks:

Do not click ads to make me happy. Only click ads if you’re truly interested.

If you’re legitimately interested, feel free to click an ad or two… Otherwise, just don’t click. Thanks for both!

Also, I’ve tried to enable a new feature. It’s provided by Google and it’s a nag for those who block ads. This should be EASILY dismissed and not nag you all that often, like once a month or something like that. If the nag in any way interferes with the functioning of the site, please let me know.

For whatever reason, I can’t seem to trigger the ad block nag screen. This makes it difficult to debug.

Meta Stuff:

So, I originally thought the ‘invalid traffic’ was because this site, Linux-Tips, was getting massive increases in traffic. After all, nobody would define ‘invalid traffic’ well enough for me and the site was definitely growing at a good clip. I figured this was the problem, but I was wrong. It was the other site that I added.

What is this massive traffic? Well, it’s not massive when compared to the big sites, but it’s definitely pretty respectable. Last month we had more than 10,000 unique visitors, and those people visited more than 18,000 times. 

My stats are kinda wonky and I’m thinking it’s counting some bot traffic when it’s counting the pages displayed, because in November it claims we displayed more than 1.3 million pages. That’s a whole lot of pages for those visitor numbers, so I think it’s just not accurate.

The bandwidth has gone up accordingly. I now regularly exceed the free tier at the CDN (quic.cloud). Last month, but seemingly not this month, I had to make another deposit to pay for ‘page optimizations’. So, expenses pile up! You don’t have to donate, but you could if you wanted. I will not complain!

I pay for the CDN so that the site is pretty much always available no matter where you are on the globe, and so that it loads quickly from servers that are closer to your location than my actual server. A quick loading site with high availability seems to be a good idea to me.

Some Data:

The three articles that got the most traffic in the past 28 days is:

Find Out Which Display-Manager You’re Using
How To: Disable Sleep And Hibernation on Ubuntu Server
How To: Restart TeamViewer From The Terminal

I am not sure why those are the most popular articles. They’re not the pages I’d think would be the most popular, but I don’t actually have a clue what I’m doing with this whole SEO thing. I just smash buttons and hope something good comes out the other end.

The three most used search terms to find this site via Google, again for the past 28 days, would be:

screenfetch vs neofetch
permitrootlogin prohibit-password
restart teamviewer command line

That’s technically three out of the top four, as the first one is pretty much the same as what’s listed – it’s just in reverse. Lots of people wanna learn about the differences between the two (screenfetch and neofetch) via Google. Again, don’t ask me why. 

So far this month:

The busiest day is Monday, by a good margin.
The vast majority of my traffic is from the United States.
The average person spends 199 seconds (3 min 19 sec) per visit.
96.1% of my visitors are using Linux.
85.5% are using a browser that identifies as Google Chrome.
Google search accounts for most of my traffic.
Linux.org accounts for the second most, but it’s truly dwarfed by Google results.
Last month we used ~25 GB of bandwidth.

Got any other numbers you’re interested in? If so, leave a comment. I’ll be happy to let you know – if I actually have those numbers. It’s also important to realize that every single stat application (especially ones like Google Analytics) is horribly inaccurate. I rely on AWStat the most, because it’s the closest to accurate for some of these numbers. Google Analytics should not be even remotely trusted – but still has some useful information, useful for spotting trends.

Closure:

And there you have it, you have another nice meta article. I’d actually planned on another article, but I decided I’d watch American football and just write a meta article. It seemed like the thing to do. The next article will be published on Christmas day, so we’ll see if we can do something festive for the holiday.

Thanks for reading my meta article! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Meta: The State Of Linux Tips #12

Today’s article is just another meta article. It will not be all that long, as not a whole lot of the favorite articles – or even numbers, have changed. This will be published on Sunday, a day when I don’t get a lot of traffic.

Well, some things have changed.

See, if you view the site with ads enabled, this site whitelisted in your ad blocker, and you’ve been clicking ads – please don’t click on ads just to help me out. That’s not how AdSense is meant to work.

If you can’t tell, the ads have been suspended while Google researches the site for ‘invalid traffic’. I’m not sure what that means, but some searching says it could take a month or so for ads to be resumed. Invalid traffic also includes purchased traffic, something I’ve never done. 

I can’t help but wonder if many of us use a VPN to connect? I do. Maybe that’s the kind of traffic, but I can’t imagine Google not knowing how to recognize VPN traffic and to adjust accordingly. That doesn’t seem like invalid traffic to me.

So, don’t click ads to help me out. Ads should only be clicked if you’re genuinely interested in the subject. Otherwise, it screws over the people paying for the ads.

More Meta:

So, last month we kinda had a blow out. In the month of October, we served almost a million pages to about 16,000 viewers. The pages number is kinda wonky, so that probably includes bots. But, for the first time ever, we had over 10,000 unique viewers.

Other than that, not much has changed. The three most heavily visited pages are the following:

Find Out Which Display-Manager You’re Using

Screenfetch vs. Neofetch, You Decide!

How To: Disable Sleep And Hibernation on Ubuntu Server

About 97% of the traffic is using Linux – which is interesting. For a while, it was a lot of Windows users. I never did quite understand that. Windows users are down to like 2% of the traffic.

About 80% of my traffic is from the United States, and about 20% has IP addresses from Russia. It’s safe to discount those Russian numbers as they’re likely bots and people attacking the site. We get a lot of attacks here.

Chrome (and probably others that identify as Chrome is the most common browser. About 85% of you are using Chrome, Chromium, or a derivative like Opera or Brave. Firefox is only about 12% of my traffic.

What Else & Closure:

So, yeah… We’re about at the 300 article mark. That’s a lot of writing. If you feel like writing an article, let me know. This is the meta article for the last month, so November looks even better.

Why is this article late? I typed a bunch of it up and then just plain forgot to proof it and write this part of it. I then didn’t schedule it. So, it’s a bit late, but not terribly late. It also means I got it out in time to not have skipped a day!

I’m not sure how much longer we can go without skipping a day. Winter is definitely coming and I will have connectivity issues as well as losing mains power on a regular basis. I should probably get a few articles ahead and then saving them for any major infrastructure outages that will occur. 

Anyhow…

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Meta: The State Of Linux-Tips #11

Today’s article is yet another meta article, in which I discuss the state of Linux-Tips. It’s basically an easy day for me and an article that lets you know how the site is progressing. It’s generally an easy article to write and I appreciate that.

This is a pretty long article. Longer than most. I do encourage folks to read it all, but I doubt that’ll change anything. 🙂 

As folks may know, I pay a lot of attention to the site’s statistics and those statistics influence how I do things. I try to optimize the site, as best as I can, for the viewer. For example, the day this article will be published is on a Saturday. That’s the day I consistently get the least amount of traffic. So, that’s the day I’ll cover the state of Linux tips.

I’ve actually been wanting to write this article for a while. I’m really excited about some of the changes going on, especially now that Google has taken me out of the dog house for accepting a paid article. Yes, Google, I learned a lesson!

While you might not like that I optimize for Google, that’s where I get the majority of my traffic. I don’t get squat from other search engines, but Google loves my site! For a blog, I’m doing VERY WELL in the traffic growth department. We’ll give you some details below.

So, let’s just jump into the meta stuff and see where that goes.

The State Of Linux-Tips #11:

Let’s just get this started by sharing this:

Oh my! The site’s traffic is increasing rapidly. For example, in the past 28 days (the easiest stats for this), the site has shown up in 227,000 searches. Out of all those, nearly 4,000 people have clicked on those search results and visited Linux-Tips! (That’s actually a good percentage.)

Last month, the month of September, was the first time I’ve exceeded 10 GB of traffic. Now, the site’s mostly text with almost no images and almost no videos. That’s a lot of traffic, and it took  over 9,000 unique visitors to reach that level.

To put that into some contrast, in January of this year I had a total of 6,400 unique visitors. 

Also, in May I hit 7,800 visitors – but then Google threw me into the doghouse for the paid article. In June and July, I got about 7,200 unique visitors. In September, those visitors would visit 14,900 times! It’s amazing how fast the site is growing now that it’s out of the doghouse.

I should also mention that I was getting, in the previous 28 days as a running total, no more than 3,200 visits from Google. In less than the past month, that running total is what is represented by the 4,000 clicks mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago. Google considers this a ‘high traffic site’.

My most popular pages are:

How To: Disable Sleep And Hibernation on Ubuntu Server
How To: Restart TeamViewer From The Terminal
Let’s Learn How To Change The Default Terminal

Previously, the ScreenFetch vs Neofetch was the most popular article, and today it continues to get the most search results. Direct visits can sometimes outnumber that, so that’s why the stat might look a little weird.

I still use a CDN, a Content Delivery Network, for a variety of reasons. The biggest reason is that it means the site loads faster for people around the globe. When you load the site, you’re getting a cached result from a server somewhere near you, instead of needing to access my server directly.

The CDN recently stopped a DDoS attack. There was a CDN free tier but I am no longer in a position where the site fits the free tier, so it costs me even more money. As far as I know, it’s only useful for WordPress sites that use LiteSpeed as the server. That fits this site, so I use it. It works brilliantly, but I now use enough traffic to also have to pay for the CDN service.

It’s worth every penny, given how the site didn’t stumble in the slightest during the attacks. So far, donations only add up to like $10 USD. I do appreciate them and put the money towards hosting and the CDN. There aren’t any other real expenses. Ad revenue does help.

attempted DDoS attack
They gave up not long after, or so that’s what it appears to be. Good… It wasn’t working.

The site’s busiest days are Tuesday through Thursday. I’m not sure why Monday isn’t all that busy? Maybe folks encounter the problem on Monday  and finally find my site on Tuesday? I really don’t know. I do know that I get a lot of traffic from within corporate networks, so that’s professionals searching the site – or entertaining themselves while they should be working.

There really aren’t that many newsletter subscribers. I’m thinking about making it pop up a notice when people visit, but that seems like it might be annoying. On the other hand, it’d likely result in more folks subscribing. Do you find those newsletter popups annoying? Do you sometimes see them and decide to enter your email? I know I do, but I’m sympathetic to others running websites.

From watching the way people work through the site, few scroll down far enough to actually see the newsletter. Putting it at the top seems like a worse idea than a popup. If you have any thoughts on the matter, feel free to leave a comment. I could use some input.

Anyhow…

Closure:

As you can tell, I’m pretty happy about the growth. Not a whole lot of folks click ads, so the site really isn’t making much of anything for ad revenue, but it does make a little. Then again, money wasn’t really the point. I do want the site to at least break even, but I dunno if it’ll ever do that. That’s all I really care about. I don’t want to make money, I have enough. I do want the site to break even, just as a matter of principle. 

Either way, this is the most excited I’ve ever been about a meta article. Things are going great, according to all the stats I keep. As for the stats, don’t worry, I couldn’t single anyone out if I tried. I don’t store any personal information because it just seems like the right thing to do. Your privacy is reasonably assured when you visit. I too value my online privacy – sometimes. Other times I’m an open book, but I like to pick when and where that happens!

Also, in case anyone is confused… I do store any information you give me. But, I only keep what I need to make the site work. I figure if I don’t store information, I can’t lose the information. I obviously store your email address if you sign up for the newsletter or register for the site. It’d be pretty hard for those things to function without that.

The rest of it is information I really don’t care about and don’t care to keep. If you give me your address so that I can send you something, you can be certain that I deleted it afterwards ’cause I don’t want to be in charge of securing that securely.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Meta: The State Of Linux-Tips #10

This is going to be another meta article, where we cover the state of Linux-Tips. This is the 10th such installment, I do believe. I did go back and count at one point, but not all that well or that deeply. Not all meta articles have been the state of Linux-Tips. So, this is #10, even if it’s not #10.

I think the big news is that we’re out of the doghouse with Google. Last month we averaged a few hundred unique visitors every day. This month  looks like it’s going to be even better. I dare say I learned my lesson. 

The site still chews through a bunch of bandwidth, for a site like this. We chew through the CDN data pretty quick. Fortunately, I can cover it when it inevitably goes over the current level. 

I actually got a donation! It was for $5.00. PayPal decided I’m a business account, so they happily took their fees from it. I no longer have access to ‘Friends and Family’ payments. Damn it, PayPal! Though, in their defense, I am a business –  and conducted quite a bit of fee-free business through them in the past. For the services they provide, it’s really not that expensive. Sign up to be a credit card processor and check out those fees!

I was pretty pleased with the donation. I don’t need the money, but it gave me a sense of purpose – of value. It felt good to know I was appreciated. That makes TWO donations! I’m gonna be rich! 

Some Meta Stuff For Linux-Tips:

In the past 28 days the site has shown up in Google searches 180,000 times. Only a little over 3000 people clicked. That was improving from my days in the Google penalty box.

(Keep in mind that Google actually sucks at some of these numbers. I have the raw server logs. They really, really suck with some of them. We’ve actually shown 55,000 pages so far this month alone.)

Most of my traffic comes from Google. They tell me that the vast majority of people are on desktops. The vast majority of visitors arrive from organic search.

The most popular pages have changed. Here are the three most popular pages:

How To: Disable Sleep And Hibernation on Ubuntu Server

Repair Your Linux Filesystem With a Live USB or DVD

How To: Restart TeamViewer From The Terminal

Though, screenfetch vs. neofetch seems to be the article that shows up in search the most. 

Since I’ve was let out of the Google penalty box, I haven’t had a day with less than 200 unique visitors. (That’s a good amount for a fairly new site that doesn’t do a lot of SEO and does no paid promotion.)

We’re sitting at 260 articles, with one being hidden. We’ve had a new article every day since the site first started. Obviously, we’re well past the year I originally set aside for the project.

There are ads here on Linux-Tips and they get the occasional click. Most of my readers are technical users and tend to block ads. It’d be pretty sweet if you’d whitelist this site in your ad blocker. They’re just Google ads. They won’t hurt you. If you were really trying to hide from Google, you’d block their analytics. Meh… Or not… It’s up to you. I’ve long since decided that finances aren’t that important. ‘Snot like I’m going to stop paying in the near future.

Lemme think…

Closure:

Anything else? No? It had been a while since I last did a meta article. I should do them once a month or so. They’re easy enough to write, but they don’t really contain any useful information.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Meta Article: The State Of Linux Tips?

I like to do a meta article once in a while, a bit of a break from the normal writing and the chance to just speak about whatever is going on with the site itself. Today, today is one of those meta articles.

More than a year ago, I set out to put my notes online. More than a year later, I’m not even close to complete – and I’ve consistently published an article every other day for just about a year. I still have tons of notes.

The site started off on a .gq domain – a free domain – that was universally hated by every search engine on the planet. On top of that, getting a .gq TLD email through spam filters was pretty much impossible.

At one point, I decided I’d take the project a little more seriously and moved to a .us domain name. You could say that that’s when Linux Tips was truly born. I also decided to reset the clock and to start the year over again. I figured the new site would be motivation and that I could probably keep it going without missing too many days. (Note: I’ve so far missed no days!)

And, like all good things, that year is coming to an end. The very first article on the new domain was Welcome To Our New Home! – on April 16th, 2021. For those who can’t use a calendar, or use a different calendar, that means we’re just about 2 weeks from the official end of this project.

Many of you will have read the comments in my “Closure” sections and already have guessed what I’m going to say next.

The Future: 

I plan on keeping the site going. I plan on continuing to put my notes online and the interesting things I discover.

You might ask why, and I think I’d point to a few reasons (among the many).

  1. I am learning so much.
  2. I am still having fun.
  3. The results have been amazing.

Not a day goes by these days without at least a couple hundred unique visitors. It’s not unique to get twice that many – enough so that I’m now crossing into a position where I am just going to pay for CDN services. (I’m happy with the company I’m currently using and their rates are reasonable.)

Technically, assuming my cost for my time was zero, the site has made a few bucks with the Google Ads. It’s reaching the point where it’s likely to cover expenses – including covering the CDN. I’ve long since come to grips with the fact that it’ll never pay me for my time – and I’m okay with that.

By the way, the CDN isn’t because I worry about bandwidth, it’s because it makes the site faster to load. Google loves a site that loads quickly and this site now ranks pretty high for a bunch of keywords and phrases. Making sure the site is responsive is a definite part of modern SEO. (These are things I’ve mostly had to learn on the fly. Like I said, it has been pretty educational.)

Actually, for the month of March, the site averaged ~250 unique visitors per day. It chewed through about 10 GB (not much) bandwidth – but most of that was CDN bandwidth. The CDN company lets me pay for what I use and not some flat rate, which is nice.

So, you can assume I’ll still keep the site going. Granted, I still have a couple of weeks to decide and may change the publication schedule – but the site’ll remain here and get additional content.

Some Meta Stuff:

Seeing as I’m here, I might just as well give you some other numbers. It seems like the thing to do, and I’ve done something like this in past meta articles. Traffic has steadily increased. Traffic has steadily improved by every metric, with people spending more and more time on the site. Truth be told, I’m quite amazed at the success. At one point, I was legitimately happy when I’d get 25 visitors in a single day.

The three busiest articles this month were:

  1. Disable Hibernation/Sleep On Ubuntu Server
  2. Screenfetch vs. Neofecth
  3. Quickly Reset Ubuntu’s Repositories

I mentioned search engine traffic above and, like the most recent norms, the vast majority of unique visitors came from search engines. Google alone sent me ~5200 visitors – surprisingly some of them were repeat visitors.

A much smaller number of visitors – but still the most from any site other than a search engine – was (of course) Linux.org. It’d be nice to get some more traffic from other places (while not losing traffic from Linux.org). You can help with that!

You Can Help!

I know y’all have social media accounts. Well, some of you… You can easily share to the major social media sites. I made it really, really easy. There are quick links to do so at the top of every article. If your favorite social media site isn’t there immediately – it might be in the menu under the plus arrow –  pointed to in the following image.

Help out Linux-Tips.us by sharing the articles on social media!
The big ones are listed (I can add more at request) and the rest are hidden.

There are literally like 100 social media sites hidden under the arrow and by clicking on the more option. When they say ‘more’, they aren’t kidding. There are sites in there I’ve never even heard of before!

If you participate on Reddit, you can share it in the Linux subredits without making me look like a spammer! I’d do it myself, but that’s just bad form. Actually, I have done it myself – and had some solid results – but it felt kinda icky and one subreddit banned me without warning.

There are still other ways to help… You can donate, you can write articles, you can just vote on the articles, you can leave comments with additional information, and you can sign up for the newsletter – that only sends messages when new articles are published.

If you want to help in some way, just let me know. I hate proofreading but I do it anyhow. A skilled editor would be pretty sweet. Some more guest articles would be fun. Oddly, I get emails asking me if they can pay me for a guest article (and the nofollow links in it), but I decline those offers.

I’d accept the articles if they were topical, but I just can’t seem to figure out how investing strategy would be topical on this site. So, I don’t get to charge for those. I’m told they pay pretty well for a site such as this – like a few digit sum worth of money. I just really don’t want to sully the site with guest articles that don’t fit the subject.

Closure:

So, yeah… The site’s almost certainly going to keep going. I might relax a little and take a day off now and then, but that’s fine. Heck, I still have articles on the original site that haven’t migrated to this site. I suspect I have many articles left in me and I’m not yet bored to tears with the project.

It hasn’t always been easy. But, I’ve not missed a single day, even with a pandemic and internet outages. Even when sicker than a dog, you’ve had an article every other day. A couple of ’em weren’t all that good – but there were articles. I’ve even made a few mistakes along the way, but I love all the feedback I get that tells me when I messed up.

If the site is missing features, let me know. I might be able to do something. I’d toss up a forum, but I don’t want to be seen as competing with other forums. I have thought about chatting and setting up a few chat rooms. All the acceptable scripts are a bit more than I feel like paying, so I’ve never done much with it other than research it.

Anyways… One year is pretty much done. I don’t know what the future holds, but you can help shape that future. All you gotta do is step up and opine or offer to help.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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