Expat Magazine

15 Years Of Gail At Large

By Gail Aguiar @ImageLegacy
This entry is part 11 of 11 in the series Blogiversary

15th Blogiversary

On July 28 this blog turned 15 years old, with a total of 5,845 posts plus 34 drafts (which may or may not ever get published). In total, I’ve put 1,318,030 words online as of yesterday, which is definitely more than a book — in fact, it’s the equivalent of 13 long memoirs!

To announce 15 years of blogging, I didn’t go with a cake image this time… instead I used a photo I took of a nearly empty billboard in Lisbon in July that had a couple of lines of quotes from the 1958 film “A Touch of Evil” by Orson Welles. (Confession: I had to look it up, I’ve not seen the film and was unfamiliar with the quotes.)

Somehow, it didn’t seem like a cake sort of milestone year. This one deserved something less conventional than cake, because I’m still struck by how absurd it seems to be writing this way for fifteen years. I think it’s because it’s an entirely self-motivated project; I’m free of constraints.

That said…

The Geeky Stuff

blog stats as of July 28, 2017

You can see by the numbers that this past year was my absolute worst ever for publishing since the year I started. For one thing, I switched hosting companies and while the transition was fairly seamless, shortly after that my traffic spiked, the technical problems started piling up, and I had to upgrade my service to account for that increase. Right now I’m at the top tier of shared server, and I want to keep it that way because switching to a dedicated server is expensive.

On the upside, late last summer I upgraded my Mac’s operating system by a big leap of versions (from Snow Leopard to El Capitan), which was the best change possible for my 2009 machine. There were very few problems from that transition, thankfully (one software program stalls at startup on occasion), but I think this is the last or second-to-last OS upgrade this machine will accept.

That’s not an excuse for the steep drop in posts, but the technical problems (versus the OS upgrade) took MONTHS to unravel. Website maintenance is always a work in progress, but the problems I had were really time-consuming: I burned through templates, tweaked code, researched workarounds, skimmed forums, had numerous exchanges with tech support, and figured a lot of things on my own through testing. The issues have subsided and I’m at cruising speed now, but it irks me to think of the cumulative time spent fixing problems instead of writing.

The other reasons for the drop in posts were entirely due to time, or lack of it, which is really a topic for the “Three Years In Portugal” post, which of course is still sitting in draft. To give you an idea of the backlog, the end of this month marks the due date for the “Four Years In Portugal” post. Someone told me I should just combine the two into one post, but I just can’t bring myself to do that. Yes, I am my own worst enemy!

Celebrating With The Best Ice Cream In Town

Instagram Photo

15 Most Popular Blog Posts

Anyone remotely familiar with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) knows I don’t follow any of the recommended practices for being found through a keyword search. Usually if any post becomes popular it’s through someone posting a link on a site like Reddit or someone sharing it on Facebook, not from anything I did directly.

What that means is that I can’t really predict how popular posts will become, because I’m not writing for them to get boosted, either by using titles that correspond with what people are searching for, or making an educated guess at the content that search engine algorithms tend to favour.

I also don’t have complete statistics for my website because when I moved everything from Blogger to my own domain at the end of 2005, Jetpack wasn’t available to all WordPress users at the time (only those who used Jetpack on WordPress.com). Jetpack only started keeping statistics on my website in early 2011. But you can get a pretty good idea of what posts are popular by these two lists, the left one is “Top 15 Posts of All Time” and the right is “Top 15 Posts of 2017”. Since they already get lots of traffic, I made screenshots rather than links. If you want to read any of them, the easiest way is to put the title in the search box at the top left of this screen (unless you’re on mobile, in which case there is no search box).

Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 4.14.42 AM
Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 4.15.53 AM

[Insert Witty Wrap-Up here]

I was going to write a “Wish List” for the blog to end this post, but with the way this year is going, it may languish in draft forever… or at least another 15 years.

Cheers to surviving 15 years, Blog! (You’re the same age as the TV show The Bachelor.)

Time to hit the ‘Publish’ button!


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