Just enjoying computers

Blogging is a journey

Laptop and cup of coffee

Blogging is a journey, not a destination. On that premise, here are some of the steps taken in January to get this blog off the ground.

Context

First, a little context. I haven’t been the brightest bulb in the pack. Instead of having several different blogs over the years, I made the mistake of changing the domain name several times and redirecting the previous domain’s pages. Bing has been quite forgiving. However, I’m trying hard to get back into Google’s good graces.

My original site’s more popular pages were all about custom ROMs for Galaxy phones. I used to compile pages of up-to-date ROM lists and was a Recognized Contributor for a few years over at XDA Developers. As the need to customize smartphones waned (for me at least), I decided to bring the PC stuff to the forefront. Deciding to go with the domain name the computer mouse, I felt it was time to remove the phone stuff altogether.

We middle-aged stiffs are always talking about the past, so let’s get back on track.

The road ahead

There is plenty of stuff to do to get this site into shape. Last year, after changing to this domain name, I switched hosts and then finally changed to WordPress. I don’t intend to have ads on this site, although it will be OK for writers to link to their own app or author page if they want, plus include the occasional useful affiliate link to recommended apps, hardware, or services.

F5 – Refresh

Instead of posting a new post per update (which would go to the top of the blog on the home page), we’ll probably just be updating this page. So, if you’re curious about this old guy’s technical fumblings, or what goes into setting up a blog, just refresh or revisit this page.

2021

With all of that out of the way, here are some of the things that have been going on here recently to get this blog off the ground.

Bought and paid for legal documents

Blogs and sites have needed to have documents like a Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions page for years. I’ve had a couple of basic free legal documents in the past, however, it was time to stop being lazy (yep, blog posts, etc.), so this time, a kind legal professional drafted the ones here.

Bought Awesome Fonts Pro

I’ve happily used the free version of Awesome Fonts before, especially depending on the WordPress themes I’ve experimented with in the past. In my quest to improve the page speeds here, I went with Pro to help keep the font collections small.

As it happens, though, I haven’t implemented Awesome Font yet. I’m still testing it and other options (SVG, other font families, etc.) from a page speed (and visual) perspective. Anyone who likes to test page loading speed knows that it can get quite addictive, even if it is rather pointless a lot of the time.

Bought WP Rocket

The WordPress plugin WP Rocket is a paid caching plugin that instantly improved page loading speed. Before that, I was using a popular free plugin to get pretty good speeds, but as the saying goes, `You get what you pay for.’

Lighthouse test (in browser)

Started looking for guest writers

When I first started writing (if you can call it that) about computers, it was because I came across many people in my daily life (I teach English in Japan) who seemed quite intimidated by computers. (I meet a fair few retired folks in my work.)

Being pretty much addicted to computers since the ’90s, I wanted to quickly and simply show such people how fun it can be to have a computer. Sure it could be an Apple Mac, a flavor of Linux, or what have you. However, I’ve been using Windows for years, so I’ve focused on Windows.

If the level of The Computer Mouse is going to be lifted, it needs more writers to bring their own energy, expertise, and enthusiasm to the mix. This, in turn, can help out the reader, who I’m sure would appreciate a change from my tireless, waffling opinions.

So, I’ve started by asking a couple of people (2, I think so far) if they would like to write about their own apps (free or paid) to introduce to readers. It costs them nothing and helps to improve the content here. It’s a win-win, so long as the visitor has something to take away from their experience. This will probably be a step that improves as the site starts to prove itself in time. Until then, some writers might be a little reluctant. Getting this site back on the first page of Google might help.

Always open to advice

I’m always open to advice on every front. Even more so from a design perspective. I’ll be the first one to admit that I have more enthusiasm than talent (and some of my posts here are lacking in detail compared to how they should be). You can still help out by leaving a comment here and there, or maybe you’d like to write a post or two.

Keeping things simple

One of the goals here is to have easy to see and easy to find content. Of course, that should be a goal of all sites. I do like to keep up on tech news, so I follow quite a few tech sites. However, I don’t want posts to get hidden amongst a sea of affiliate links or ads.

Therefore, there won’t be any ads on this site. If you use any adblocker extensions, you can check by visiting the page in a private window and checking for differences. (Try Ctrl+Shift+N in Chrome, Edge, or Opera, and Ctrl+Shift+P in Firefox. I haven’t checked all of the browsers.)

Obvious stuff

Finally, there are a few obvious things here to fix. Here’s a list off the top of my head:

  • Fix the default image sizes since deciding to go with this chosen theme.
  • The font size needs to be increased.
  • Adjust the page layout at certain screen sizes.
  • Some background work is needed for the social login buttons in the comments.
  • Removed WPDiscuz avatar plugin for comments – as it applied too many title tags, which Bing Dev tools keeps flagging.
  • I never really liked standard images, but it would be nice to find some more in line with the material, including this post.
  • Get back into social media. I’ve made the mistake of deleting all of my social media accounts in the past. It sucks if you want the names back!
  • Improve my SEO scores in Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
  • So much more. (I’m keeping the old-school style logo, which was my original logo.)

Check back for updates

I expect that I’ll be updating this page quite a bit. If you can offer any opinions or advice, feel free to loiter in the comments section and I’ll see you there.

Cheers.

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