My First Year on WordPress.com

`The Penguin’ says… has been on WordPress.com for one year! I thought it was January 23rd, but according to WordPress.com, it’s the 21st, and who am I to argue with them? There may be a discrepancy between when I signed up and when created this blog, but as I remember, this blog was created at account sign-up.

Anniversary badge

First anniversary on WordPress.com!

So, what has `The Penguin’ says… accomplished during its first year?

Stats highlight

As of 2014-01-23 19:20 UTC:

  • Views: 8122
  • Average views per day (December 2013): 37
  • Most views on a single day: 96 on 2013-09-19
  • Visits from 109 different countries, mostly Canada (2844 views), the United States (2438 views), and the United Kingdom (465 views)
  • Posts: 146 (not including this post)
  • Reblogged posts from other sites: 18
  • Guest posts: 1
  • Hits on the home page: 2278
  • Most viewed posts:
    1. MS Paint Tricks (1821 views)
    2. Seriously, if I see another homunculus again… (1126 views)
    3. BugMeNot.com (265 views)
  • Categories: 23
  • Tags: 685
  • Pages: 5
  • Likes: 100+
  • Approved comments: 130
  • Spam comments: 9579
  • Most commented page: Guestbook (13 comments)
  • Followers: 70 (60 WordPress.com followers, 10 email followers, plus an additional 3 comment followers)
  • Most popular referrers:
    1. Search Engines (3956)
      1. Google (3337 views)
      2. Google Images (508 views)
      3. Bing (52 views)
    2. WordPress.com reader (68 views)
    3. MuseScore.com (36 views)
  • Most popular search terms:
    1. ms paint tricks (29 views)
    2. motor homunculus (26 views)
    3. sensory cortex (18 views)

Hits on the Home Page:

chart of hits on the homepage

Chart of hits on the homepage

Five Notable posts

In order of views:

  1. MS Paint: Tricks that you probably didn’t know you could do
  2. Seriously, if I see another homunculus again…
  3. A new computer to add to my collection
  4. A Look at Magnetic Storage
  5. From The Archives: WebKit the Disease: Opera Moves to WebKit [2013-02-13]

Why did I sign up with WordPress.com?

As my first real post states, I used to run a few mailing lists in which I sent out things that I thought would interest the recipients. Nobody really complained, and if they did, they were taken off the list. Most of the recipients probably never read the emails anyway since they never check their emails in the first place, but I have had people replying saying they liked it and shared some of their thoughts on the topic, so I knew I had at least a few followers.

One day, one of my friends who was taken off the lists got fed up with it anyway, so he put down his laptop in front of me and told me to sign up for a blog right then and there. I didn’t object, because I have actually mentioned the possibility of posting on a blog instead in my emails because a blog is a better medium, and it would reach out to more people.

Why WordPress.com? For blogging, there are three big sites people normally flock to: Blogger/Blogspot, WordPress, and Tumblr. There are also some smaller platforms like LiveJournal. My first thought was to go to WordPress.com because it’s free (both gratis and libre). I’ve used Blogger before and liked how I could play around with the theme’s code, something which WordPress doesn’t let you do, Blogger is run by Google and I’d like to have as little to do with Google as is practical. Tumblr is out of the question because it isn’t even a proper blogging platform: it’s for microblogging. WordPress is simple enough to use while being advanced enough to be appealing to advanced users (i.e. those who know HTML) like me.

Starting Off

`The Penguin' says... Blavatar

`The Penguin’ says…

When I created `The Penguin’ says… , I kept it as a private blog, which doesn’t allow anyone to access the blog unless I’ve given the user the permissions to do so. This gave me a chance to set up the blog without making future readers impatient to see it done. I wouldn’t have had any readers back then, but thinking of your readers, even if you don’t have any, is always a good idea.

When the blog was ready, I made it public, but discouraged search engines. Doing so would give me a chance to explore WordPress and experiment a little, and more importantly see if I could actually keep a proper blogging schedule while the readership was low. I did this around February 21.

Sometime in the week of March 10, I removed the search engine restriction, making `The Penguin’ says… fully public. The search engines indexed it within a few hours.

Changes Since Launch

Things change with time; sometimes they’re for the worse, but hopefully they’re for the better. This blog has had many changes in its first year. Let me list a few of them:

Schedule

The change in schedule is perhaps the most apparent change. I started with posting at midnight (UTC) on Wednesdays so that readers would have something to look forward to in the middle of the week to help them get through the week, and midnight (UTC) on Saturdays so that they’d have a little supplementary material for the weekend. I started becoming busier by the end of September 2013, to the point that I had to shift my schedule, posting 24 hours later, at the end of October because posting for Wednesdays at 0:00 UTC was no longer feasible for me. As time went on, the schedule slowly dissolved, ending off with saying that I’ll try to post something once, maybe twice, a week. This is evident with this week and this post (although with this post, I can make the excuse that it’s longer than what I usually post). In practice, the schedule has dissolved somewhat, but it still nominally stands, and hopefully I can get back to keeping it soon.

New Lists

Thoughts on Oku Hanako
Thoughts on Oku Hanako Blavatar

Thoughts on Oku Hanako

Thoughts on Oku Hanako is a spin-off site of `The Penguin’ says… , based on my Oku Hanako mailing list. I had a lot to say in that list, and if I were to include it on `The Penguin’ says… , more than half of the new posts would be about Oku Hanako, so it was better to put it in a new blog (even better, WordPress.com lets you have as many blogs as you want). The first post of this list is The Predicament, posted on `The Penguin’ says… on 2013-03-15. Incidentally, this was one of the first posts to go up when the blog became fully public. I announced its launch on `The Penguin’ says… on 2013-08-16.

Compositions

My compositions. This is the only list right now that still has an active email component still running. I plan to also move this to its own blog soon. The first post was I Don’t Know, posted on 2013-10-08.

Other New Categories

Faith

As a Christian, I believe God has given me a platform to spread His Word and to share the truth. The first post in this category was a reblogged post called “Distracted“, originally posted at You Make Me Smile.

Daily Prompt

WordPress.com posts a prompt every day to help bloggers when they’re stuck for something to write. I don’t usually respond to these prompts, but when I do, it’s usually because I have something clever to make out of it. The first post in this category was The Glass, for the 2013-05-05 prompt.

Reblogged

I don’t reblog very often, but any posts that have been reblogged are found in this category.

Spam Comments

Some of the comments in my spam queue were quite humourous, in my opinion, especially when they were ironic. The first post was about a spam comment ironically asking how to reduce spam comments, posted 2013-05-03. The plan was to post the best spam comments every month (also giving me some filler content for the Saturday posts), but I stopped because I wasn’t getting many good comments anymore (I stopped checking in November), WordPress started automatically deleting old spam, and posting spam comments would put them on the same level as legitimate comments.

Tongue-in-cheek

Although filed under geek || nerd, it could also be standalone. This is where I post articles that centre around a tongue-in-cheek remark. The first post was for Pi Day, March 2013, where I make a pun about converting all π to 180° for ease of computation.

Guest Posts

I’ve only had one guest post so far, but any future ones will be filed under this category.

Other Changes/Updates

  • Although I never announced it, new posts filed under From the Archives will no longer bear the “From the Archives” prefix unless the content isn’t updated to be in the “present voice”.
  • I’ve been awarded a few awards by Don Charisma. I haven’t gotten around to accepting them yet, and I’m not even sure I will because of their acceptance requirements. Thanks all the same, DC; the thought is appreciated!
  • I’ve added a few Easter Eggs to the site, and although links to them are right in front of you, I haven’t gotten any hits on any of the eggs.

Plans for the Future

In no particular order:

  • Get around to writing those long posts about Windows Classic, FLOSS, and other interesting topics. It’s not that I’m lazy, but that I can’t fit it into my schedule.
  • Update the About page. The last major update was September 2013.
  • Maintain the posted schedule.
  • Continue to post good content, and do so more often.

Closing words

The past 52 weeks have been quite an experience. Not only have I learned about how to use WordPress effectively (something you could put on your résumé, by the way), I’ve learned about the responsibilities and the rewards of blogging. I don’t usually like to write, but writing for my blogs has been a lot of fun and quite enjoyable. I’ve even managed to find people who really take an interest in what I write about: readers such as aa, Denny Sinnoh, Don Charisma, DR43DNOUGHT. Thanks go to all my readers for dropping by for a visit, and thanks also to Matt Mullenweg and the rest of the team at Automattic for making the software and providing this free service. I am proud to be a member of the WordPress community and I hope to continue to add to the quality content found on WordPress.com.

Thank you all again, and here’s to another 52 weeks!


Think I missed anything or would like to propose ideas? Perhaps you’d like to tell me what you most enjoyed on `The Penguin’ says… in its first year. Drop me a comment!
Better yet, sign up with WordPress.com and start blogging today!

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