Blogs and Blogging

I know a couple of you guys have blogs that you update occasionally which is great.

In addition to posting interesting ones in here, I was curious what software/services you use to actually run these blogs? Does it set you back much money year on year? How much traffic do you get? Anything interesting you’d like to share?

1 Like

I have a linux machine at home that does several things for me. It’s a web server, NAS, plex server, FTP, etc. It just sits in the laundry room out of the way with no keyboard & monitor, because I can manage everything through putty from my main PC.

I built the machine from old parts when I upgraded my PC, so the cost of hardware was very low, but I have 3x 8tb and 3x 10tb drives in there, so that’s obviously the bulk of the cost.

I run NGINX for the web server, as I wanted to try something new after running apache for many years.

The website is built on WordPress, along with several plugins to make editing easier. Mainly Elementor. I have built my own websites for years so I can do everything from scratch without something like WordPress, but this just makes things much easier.

As the system is running 24/7 I imagine it costs a bit in power usage, but it’s probably only a few bucks a month as it’s not doing anything CPU intensive really.

Traffic… what traffic? Lol. It gets probably 5-10 page views a day on average. I don’t write the blog for it to be popular, and I know it’ll never make any money. I write the game reviews for myself, and the hardware articles to help others.

When you get a comment on an article saying that you helped them out, and they say thanks, etc… that’s the best part.


I don’t have an update schedule for it, as the time I can find to write there isn’t always available. I’ve entertained the idea of having guest writers from here and other retro places on the internet, but haven’t fleshed that out entirely yet. It would be cool to have different perspectives from people playing different styles of games than I do, working on different hardware mods than I am etc…

3 Likes

I just use wordpress. Basic ad-supported hosting, which I should probably do something about. I never see the ads due to ad blocking, but when see it on other machines, eg work computer, the ads are pretty crap.

Stats? 20k views a year since 2017, ~10k visitors (so clearly not much repeat viewership lol). I think most of my hits are people googling something obscure I covered.

Haven’t posted much for 1.5 years due to having a baby and buying a house. Planning to get back to it, have quite a few drafts half done.

1 Like

I work with WordPress but for my blog I chose not to use it.

https://blog.gingerbeardman.com

Instead I use Jekyll static site generator (free) which means the site is a set of static/pre-rendered HTML+CSS+Images. This means loading for the viewer is almost instant, and people notice because they’ve commented to me about it.

Hosting is on GitHub Pages (free). Domain name is a subdomain on an existing website so also technically costs me nothing (free). If I didn’t have a domain name that would be the only real attached cost ($10-20 per year)

I’m not a fan of Jekyll as it’s too slow to generate the site during editing. But it’s done now, and I don’t have the energy to change it. Maybe next year.

Templates are a custom mod of an existing open-source (free) template set I found on GitHub. I’m pretty pleased with these which is another reason to stay on Jekyll.

Every time I commit a change to GitHub the site rebuilds according to some rules and a set of static HTML+CSS files are generated, which are pushed live automatically to GitHub Pages. I do this using Netlify (free tier) as I use some plugins for Jekyll that won’t run on plain GitHub Pages.

If this all sounds dreadfully complicated, it’s not. Though perhaps this way is more for people with GitHub or web development experience?

I use Twitter and some other places to announce blog posts which drives traffic.

I’m glad I created my blog, albeit 20 years late. It’s been very rewarding.

Google Analytics (free)

1 Like

Interesting that GitHub let’s you host a website for free. Definitely going to check that option out.

@raskulous what’s your blog?

They created this process and encourage using it because it increases use of their site and potential income from new users.

Check out raskulous profile for a link to his blog.

https://raskulous.com

I just put up game reviews when I feel like it (only of games that I finish), and hardware mods that I do my retro stuff.

2 Likes

I just use Blogger and have done for many years, the reason I chose blogger is because of it being free and when I first signed up a generous 30gb of picture hosting (now cut to half though) and mainly because I could use Windows live writer back in the day for off-line posting and just queue the posts on that. Sadly advances in the internets made live writer a broken entity and now I just plug on through the WYSIWYG editor with pictures being hosted on drive/google pics or something. Although not entirely regular updating by any means.
I’ve often thought of moving to my own domain name, but I’m exceptionally cheap and that would cost money, for a hobby that already costs me enough :wink:
Stats wise Its interesting to see a definite drop off as youtube has come into play big time. I have some big posts, but they are fairly specific have and short lived high traffic.

Youtube has become an interesting internet beast. I deal with Transformers and toys with a bit of dabbling in game blogging, but even just personal searching, its very hard to find a decent text/picture review of a recent Transformer, whereas there are plenty of low quality (including mine) video reviews. Of course quality is entirely subjective, but I prefer to see some nicely taken pictures with some text I can whizz through at my own pace rather than some guy’s hands fondling plastic while they drone on about stuff.

www.tetstoys.blogspot.com if ya wanna have a look. Feedback always welcome.
I enjoy blogging and even though the stats are low, it’s not what I do it for, it’s kind of like a way to catalogue my thoughts. I enjoy looking through my earlier posts and considering if I would feel the same way about something now, as I did then.

1 Like

Is there an easier way to browse for a jekyll-theme than browsing rubygems.org and clicking 3 layers down into each search result? Suppose I only need to do this once but it’s still taking longer than it should.

I believe I found the one I use whilst browsing http://jekyllthemes.org