WordPress Reader is Acting Strangely

Do you follow my blog in the WordPress Reader? If you do, then you might be wondering why I am reposting old stuff. The short answer is, I’m not. The WordPress Reader is doing it for me – a totally unsolicitated behaviour.

The Reader is also not advertising most of my new posts. Catch 22 – right! If I try to tell WordPress Readers about this issue in a new post, will the Reader publish the new post?

Or will the Reader pick another old post like this one – How to Replace iTunes with CopyTrans Manager, which was first published in 2009. It appeared in the WordPress Reader a day ago.

This has been going on for a few months now, but I wasn’t paying attention (Christmas, New Years, travel to AZ, etc). Then I contacted a few of my regular readers. Thanks go to to Al and Faye for confirming my suspicions that the WordPress Reader had developed a mind of its own! I alerted the WordPress Happiness Engineers who say that the ‘Reader team’ has being contacted and the issue is being ‘escalated’ with them.

Even more puzzling, some of my readers are being sent to links that are a revision of one of my old posts. Since only I can see revisions, WordPress simply tells people

I’ve alerted the WordPress Happiness Engineers about that too. Perhaps they have some bugs to work out in their world of big data. Or maybe, somehow, I’ve broken my blog…

What Were You Doing 3287 Days Ago?

Nine years ago (the aforementioned 3287 days) I published my first blog post: Did you Get the H1N1 Flu Shot in 2009. It was not highly successful and has been viewed a grand total of 13 times. At the other end of the scale,  Tricky Questions – Thinking Outside the Box has been quite popular with over 36,000 views. Go figure…

That’s the interesting thing about blogging. While I might have a general idea what my readers might find interesting or when it is a good time to catch them in a reading mood, I  have no idea how the Search Engines will promote or trash my posts! I do know this involves algorithms that judge, filter, penalize and reward content, but that is about the extent of my understanding!

While the stats for the Tricky Questions post are fascinating to watch,  I like the H1N1 post as much and I love the process of researching and writing.  I’m happy with my blog as a whole –  a scrapbook of my photos, thoughts and ideas – my Codex Vitae.

I think the pleasure of completed work is what makes blogging so popular. You have to believe most bloggers have few if any actual readers. The writers are in it for other reasons. Blogging is like work, but without coworkers thwarting you at every turn. All you get is the pleasure of a completed task.
– Scott Adams –

I’ve mapped out a plan for the next year of blogging at Fueled by Chocolate (because 9 years of blogging won’t be as newsworthy as 10 years of blogging!) I’m bringing over all my quotation posts from The Quippery and will roll them out, two every week, for the next six months. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed collecting them.

Old words are reborn with new faces.
– Criss Jami, Killosophy –

My Birds and Bugs blog, Chirps and Buzzes, will get an injection of new material too – I’ve got a lot of photos that are patiently waiting to be edited and uploaded and I want that blog to be a record of my ‘backyard’ birding and buzzing life lists.

When you have seen one ant, one bird, one tree, you have not seen them all.
– E. O. Wilson –

My newest blog is Right Side Up – a Conservative exploration of topics that include politics, the environment, media bias, free speech – but also the exciting possibility of a return to civil discourse!

The reason that free speech is so important… It keeps the balance between those two tendencies. You need the questioning, and you need the order. You think, “how much of each?” The answer is, “the recipe changes day to day.” And so you think, “well, if it changes day to day, how are we going to keep up?” The answer is, “by keeping up! Here we are. We’re alive. We can keep up, but we do that by thinking, and we think by talking, and we think and talk by disagreeing. And we better disagree conceptually, because then we don’t have to act out stupid ideas that would kill us.”
– Jordan Peterson, Oxford Union Address –

What were you doing 3287 days ago? What was the most popular post you have ever written? Which of your posts is your favourite?

Your Blog – What Do Your Visitors See?

I give my blog a make-over now and then. (WordPress.com has so many themes to try). When I test drive a new one, I ask a few friends to let me know what their browser thinks of the change. Does my blog load fairly fast on their computer, phone or other device? Can they read the blog easily? Does anything seem to be ‘broken’?

Why does speed matter?

My frog connection – photo dimensions are 302px by 219 px. The size is 23.9 KB

We might live in a fast paced world, but our internet connections vary from rabbit to turtle. I sometimes have a frog connection – fast leaps alternating with “really, you’ve stopped completely!?” pauses. A fast website loads completely in my browser while my frog is leaping. I can read the site while my frog has stopped to admire the scenery. A slow website doesn’t load completely during the leaps. I often get tired of waiting and abandon the site.

Apparently search engines also use load speed as one of the factors in search ranking. You can test the speed of your site with a free tool called Pingdom Website Speed Test. The test will tell you how fast your site is. If you scroll down their page, you will be able to see exactly what is slowing your site down.

If you click the Home button on my menu above, you can check my new landing page. According to Pingdom my Performance Grade is 90 and it loads faster than 83% of sites tested from New York City.

How does your Home Page compare?

One way to speed up your site – reduce the size of your images

Your theme choice dictates the size your images will display. Resize your images to match your theme – your images will then be the best the theme can offer AND the fastest to deliver to your readers.

The original of this frog photo was 2756 px by 1991 px with a size of 2.82 MB. The content width for this theme (default post) is, however, only 640 px.  (I’ve been using a maximum image size of 700 px for quite a few years).

This frog photo is 702 px by 508 px. It is 72.5 KB in size.
This frog photo is 902 px by 652 px. It is 107 KB in size.

As you can see, the frog photo on the bottom is of no better quality than the photo above it, but it takes up more space in your WordPress account. If I had uploaded the full size photo, it would have taken a lot longer to load, and would not have looked appreciably better than the smaller size photos.

Is your font choice working for or against you?

Speaking of size, is your font large enough to be read easily? What about colour? Dark text on a light background is easy to read. Light text on a dark background is harder to read. Check your site on a computer, a tablet and a phone. How readable is it?

If you a Frog Lover

The frog in the photo is a Northern Leopard Frog. They are no longer common in Alberta, though we often used to see them at the cabin. This frog photo has yielded a large number of interesting renditions, which you can see at Almost Artistic – Northern Leopard Frog.