Lessons learned from running a blog

Expect yourself to do many things, if not everything. You’ll be an administrator, a developer and a writer, all at the same time. This blog is the first time I install WordPress, first time I install and configure Apache, first time I configure CNAME or so, first time I use Google Adsense. It was not smooth all the way, but it’s not that hard and it’s really rewarding when I got it works. One after one. I failed sometimes, like when I tried to make WordPress runs on PHP7 (I’m not a PHP developer after, so I run away when the problem gets out of hand), but for most parts, I can find an answer from here and there on the Internet. Thank you, internet.

Attracting visitors is hard. Internet is full of things and no matter how you try, there are always other content somewhere more interesting than yours. Except if you are exceptional good at writing, or you are famous person, most of the people will not visit your website. Not even one. And sadly enough, many of your visitors will not return, even if your website was helpful to them. You helped them to solve a problem and that’s it. Attracting visitors is already hard enough, and keeping them coming back is even harder.

The problem is a bit different if your blog serves content to a niche topic, like this one. You know your audience is (supposed to be) small, but the people who come to read your content is more likely to come back. It’s niche market and you have the power of limited supply, as long as you keep posting interesting topic.

Networking is important. You might not have to be a famous one, but at least a known person, not no-one. That will help drive some initial traffic which will boost your moral. You don’t want to your best two hours writing left rotten away on the Internet, right? Promote your content via Twitter, Facebook, via friends, etc.

Internet is huge and you can find almost anything here. In terms of a blog, that means you will see your visitors use all kind of browsers. I saw IE6 once, IE8 several times, Firefox 0.10 or so. Bots without agent headers are very common. That said, don’t be surprise if one day you get a visit from someone who is using dial up and Mosiac, or at least trying to pretend to be.

In the end, the browsers statistic reflects pretty well what is believed to be true: Chrome is the most popular browser, follows by Firefox

And there are many people who want to do nasty things to you website. Almost everyday, I saw someone (or some bots) request to my blog almost every second. It is of course abnormal, but no where near the scale of a DOS attack. Most requests come from IPs in Ukraine. Who are they? What do they want? I have no idea whatsoever, and those requests do not seem to harm my server, CPU and Memory usages are normal. But I decided to block any suspicious IPs. Who know when they decide to do bad things? Better safe than sorry. They do not seem to add value to my blog anyway.

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