Almost a couple of weeks into the new year and the diary, here’s a collection of updates about the site.
Thank you all so much for your donations and subscriptions at Ko-fi. I really do appreciate them all. The subscriptions now cover the financial costs of hosting the website and daily diary emails, and all the one-off donations are a lovely show of support for me continuing to improve the site.
New daily diary email list
The new Buttondown-hosted daily diary entry emails seem to be working OK. There are currently 792 subscribers, nearly 300 more than there were at the end of the second reading of the diary on the Groups.io-hosted list.
Twitter and Mastodon
The Twitter and Mastodon accounts started working again without too much trouble. At the start of the second reading Twitter only allowed 140 characters per tweet, which changed to 280 part way through. So for the first few years I’ll be modifying the texts I prepared a decade ago, given less editing down is required. The Twitter account is up to 70,588 followers, and Mastodon is now at 3,140.
For most of the site’s existence I’ve been using Google Analytics to track data about usage of this website. I turned that off towards the end of last year because I didn’t consider the drawbacks – excessive tracking and data gathering – to be worth the limited use I made of it. I mainly want to keep track of the ebb and flo of total numbers of visitors and page views.
Instead I set up Cloudflare Web Analytics which is more privacy-focused, with the drawback that it doesn’t save data for long. But it’s still free.
There are a number of other, small, better, privacy-focused analytics services but they all cost money. I’m currently giving the one-month free trial of Plausible Analytics a go. I’ve set it up so that it’s possible for anyone to view this site’s data (including data imported from Google Analytics) over there. It’s very nice to use but I’m not sure I’ll keep it going beyond the end of January – because this site gets over 100,000 page views per month it would cost £23 (US$28) per month. Other services cost similar amounts. Which seems too much for the limited use it would be to me/us.
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but you can see all the bugs, improvements and ideas that I might tackle at some point in this list of Issues on GitHub. The presence of something there doesn’t guarantee it will happen – you can see how old some of them are! – but it does show whether something is on my radar. You can also see things that have been done in the list of closed issues.
“Also on this day” links fixed
Some of the links in the “Also on this day” blocks by each diary entry, to events in the Houses of Parliament, have been broken since British History reorganised their site a while back. I’ve removed the old links and added new versions, so they should all work now.
Similarly I’ve fixed all the links to Ralph Josselin’s Diary which changed web server some time ago, breaking our links. There’s no connection to Pepys but there aren’t many contemporaneous records online so I’m linking to what I can.
That’s all for now. I hope to fix and improve things gradually as we work our way through the diary for a third time. Happy reading!