website

Anti spam

There is a problem with my main anti spam plugin, so I installed another one that I have no experience with. Should you have any problems commenting, please see “website intro and contact” for an emailaddress to notify me of this.
[edit] Problems with Akismet solved, the other plugin deleted.

Searching

During the last week I have been messing around with the search function of this website. Since the beginning I have had a standard search that searches only the section you are reading and another searchbox with a Google search that searches the entire website. Since I now no longer have a database for each section, I figured it should be a lot easier to make a ‘sitewide search’. Not so! I found a way that supposedly nukes databases. Moreover, I could not style the search results to my liking. Then I miraculously found a way to display Google searches within my own website and I even managed to make radio buttons to choose between the current section or the rest of the website. Thrilled as I was in the beginning, testing things out proved that Google has results I am not happy with. Some articles or reviews display twice in the results, some not at all, or only in some archive (of the category the review is in or even the date-based archives). Being not amused with a couple of such things, I looked again for a sitewide search option based on the WordPress search, but the only two plugins that seem to do something like that do not work, either because I have a new version of WP or because my server uses a too old version of MySQL… So, I am back with the two search-boxes in the sidebars. One to search the current section, another to search the whole of Gangleri.nl or alternally the entire www. The only thing different is that these results are neetly displayed within the website, so at least something got better.

Automatic news

With a ‘network’ it is a lot easier to have a ‘new on Gangleri’ page. Now all new posts will be listed here on the right automatically without me having to do anything. I realise that this is not the perfect sollution, since you might have a feed subscription for this section to follow the whole of Gangleri.nl, but I am working on that.

Security and anti-spam

I almost forgot to mention that when I was working on the complete makeover of this website, that I had to replace some security plugins and/or was suddenly able to use the latest version. Of one very extensive security plugin I was never able to use but a very old version and now I use the latest with many many features of blocking access and stopping bots.

Then in the old setup I found an easy way to block IP’s, referrers, hosts, etc. I am not completely sure if this still works, but you will know soon enough when you are on the blacklist 🙂

As far as I know this has not resulted in new problems with commenting of access to these pages. Should you experience problems, please visit the “website intro and contact” part to send me an email about this.

A few other things that I consider with all the spamming etc. going on is disabling or at least replace the “live comment preview” and the “subscribe to comments” (in the articles and book sections). Bots load the “live comment preview” files every time they stop by even when they are not able to do anything. The same goes for the subscription feature. Spam are caught, but the emails end up in my subscribtion list. Both cost server effort which is not really necessary. There are hardly any subscribers in the first place, but a preview before posting a comment is an almost obligatory feature.

Complete makeover

WordPress 3.0 is available and this was not going to be a regular upgrade. 3.0 Has possilbities which will make the maintenance of this website a lot easier, but in order to be able to use it, I had to take down the entire website and then rebuild it. The website remained largely the same, there were a few things that I ran into that I cannot immediately solve, a few easthetic failures too, but for the larger part, you should encounter not too many differences. Should you run into something that just does not work (properly), be so kind to drop me a note at contact and you can come up with the rest of the email address yourself.

Now I am off to do something different, four hours were quite enough…

Stats

I do not often look at this website’s statistics and when I do, it makes me wonder about the use of Gangleri.nl. When I look at last week averages (unique vistors per day, hits per day) this list is as follows:
Articles: 82/420
Bookreviews: 30/219
Filmreviews: 27/188
Musicreviews: 60/590

When you count back, that comes to respectively 5, 7, 7 and 10 hits per visitor. This seems unlikely to me. A visitor looks at five long articles, but also 7 short film or music reviews? This probably has more to say about how this website works on the background. Other interesting or less interesting things are that the Articles section gets tons of spam (probably caused by a few popular referrers which generate quite some traffic), the Filmreviews section has loads of referrer spam, but hardly comment spam and the Musicreviews section is constantly battered by the same IP (91.214.44.182, a spammer I asume).

Let us have a look at two previous daily averages based on the previous week: Articles 91 and 72 unique visitors in January 2010 and August 2009; Bookreviews respectively 41 and 64; Filmreviews 26 and 76 and Musicreviews 60 and 126. That is quite a drastic decline on most fronts. Of course, these are but numbers based on weekly stats. In a week with many new reviews, the number of visitors is likely to be up for a while, but still…

But of course, if 82 people a day learn a little something from my articles and 30 or 60 people a day read a review and learn something about a book, film or album, that is a nice thought, right…?

The use of it all

I have had a website online for about 9 years. Since the beginning I have published music reviews and articles, later also book- and filmreviews. Much has changed in those years, especially with music and film. The music scene that I am mostly involved in was tiny in these days. A normal pressing of a cd was 2000 copies or so and the best way to learn about new music was to read (online) magazines. Nothing like that anymore. Nowadays, when you hear a bandname, you go to their Myspace to listen to their music, you have Last.fm to find similar bands and most of all, all kinds of places on the world wide web to listen to music legally or get it illegally. Is there still a need for a music reviews website? Personally I have never really known a website where I could read about music that I am interested in (after Funprox stopped that is) and I have moved along a bit with my time. When some distributor has a band that I do not know, I check their Myspace or try to listen to their music in some other way before I buy an album. Safer, sure. Would my music reviews section give people ideas for music (to download) or do people get their information in another way, such as fellow P2P user lists? When I check my statistics I see that my music reviews section is the most popular after the articles section, on average 60 unique visitors a day last week (997 hits). That is not so bad.
Similar thoughts apply to the film reviews section, my least popular section (26/524). When you learn about a title, you can watch the trailer on Youtube or whereever, but with films I do prefer myself to read a review before I watch it, but also here I do not really know a place to read reviews of films of my interest.
The close the line, the book reviews section comes at 41/246 in the last week and articles at 91/676, pretty high thinking of it that nothing really happens there, but I have a few popular articles that Wikipedia links to and that helps a lot.
There is no doubt in my mind about the articles and book reviews sections, but these are the slowest going and they require most effort and therefor these other two make that in most cases at least once a week something new can be read at Gangleri.nl and that can be a reason too to keep maintaining these two sections.

Tidying up

I just deleted 123 posts just saying “new book review” or “new film review”. I noticed that I have a variety of posts in the ‘general blog’ (where I hardly write anything…) which may get a bit more of attention again. Besides, a notificitation for a new post in another section does not need to stay here until kingdom come.

Subscribe to comments

Well that subscribe to comments function proves to be another extra job. My anti-spam measures might block spam comments, but not the spam subscriptions to comments. Not that these are of any use, but an automatic spam bot doesn’t care about that of course. Since I don’t expect ongoing discussions about music or filmreviews or newsitems, I disabled the plugin in these parts. If in the bookreviews and articles sections things remain silent, I might just as well get rid of it there as well.

Spam’n’eggs

A while ago I was notified about the fact that people had problems commenting, the problem was the antispam plugin that I used used some kind of Java that did not work for everyone. I replaced the plugin only to find out that I receive several spam comments every day. So I looked for yet another antispam plugin, hopefully it works better. Should you have any problems commenting, please to go the ‘intro and contact’ section and send me as many details as possible by email.