Attempt to Improve the Blog: User Experience

One thing what I want to improve in 2019 is my blogging. Not loosing a day, here comes first improvements.

I am learning about the tool (WordPress) by using it. Around a year ago, when I changed the theme, I became aware of categories and tags and importance of those.

Categories and tags build structure of a blog. Categories are high level grouping tool and helps readers to understand identify of the blog. Tags are detail level information about specific aspects in single blog post. See graphic above to have an example how it can look like: category – personal development, tags – conferences, quality, roundup, software, trainings. Now I think this is a bad example, because “software” does not fit in. Another proof that I am not perfect :D.

Blog posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order. Most readers are not interested to read ALL the blog posts, but are searching for particular information. Here comes user experience part: if blog has well-considered categories and tags, it helps user to find information faster.

Some sources state that it is not possible to change categories and tags after publishing. I changed both several times and never experienced any problems. As most of beginners, I could not decided what should be category and what should be a tag. Not so long ago, I had 20 different categories and no hierarchy. Today I took time to recategorise my blog. A lot of work with 100 posts, many had two or three categories, but in the same time this exercise was excellent retrospective. Now I have only 11 categories and I made them visible on the sidebar. A good category structure should be flexible and designed to handle any future content. I am not sure that 11 is the final number, maybe few other should be eliminated, but at the moment it gives me flexibility I need.

Tool, which finally helped me to relate post to only one category, was to imagine that my blog is a book. This approach is suggested in several resources about categories.  Idea is very simple – in a book topics are organised into chapters and one topic can be organised into one chapter. I imagined that categories are my chapters and tags are the keywords listed at the end of the book.

Time will show (or you can tell me) if this improves user experience.

Attempt to Improve the Blog: Who are my Readers?

One thing what I want to improve in 2019 is my blogging. Not loosing a day, here come the first improvements.

I started blogging by sharing my current ideas and topics. The idea behind it was to track my personal development. My part was clear to me, but I had no idea about the readers. For a long time I did not know if somebody at all read the blog: I got some little traffic, but there was no sign that this somebody really read the article and found it useful. I kept writing and one day, I guess it was after it was added to MOT blog feed, system informed me about my very first follower. At the moment I have 46 followers in WordPress and 7, who subscribed per email.

In the mean time I started to learn about the tool I am using – WordPress. Many topics are still very blurry to me, e.g. where WordPress ends and Automatic starts, where exactly information is stored etc, but I am learning. WordPress shows me information where the readers come from. As you see from the graphic above, most of you come from Twitter or MinistryOfTesting websites. Facebook is a mystery to me, because I do not use it. What comes to search engines, no idea what they where looking for, because I do not see keywords. For more detailed information I would need to instal reader tracking, but I prefer to keep it very basic.

Once you landed on my page, the question is, what else do you read? For today it looks like this.

First three are my last blog posts, linked in right sidebar for each page on my blog. Funny thing is that I linked there last four blog post, but 4th does not appear on todays summary. Conclusions which I make here:

a) you already read Trainer Notes before;

b) no interested in my stories as a trainer;

c) you did not see it;

d) you had time to read only three blog posts;

e) there is something between my blog and you, who overrides my settings and shows only last three posts.

I could continue like this forever, but in software development we talk a lot about getting to know your users. If I see this blog as kind of product, that you, my dear reader, are user of it. So…

Here we come to the most important part. Call for feedback! Dear 53 followers and guest readers, I would really appreciate if you would share what you like in my blog and what you do not like, any suggestions, feedback or simply to say “hi!”. It would be great to get to know you! For this occasion I reopened comment feature. GDPR made me disable it, so be aware that by leaving a  comment, WordPress system will save your IP address and only possibility to delete it, is by deleting your comment.

Security and WordPress

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Week ago I learned about security headers  and found weaknesses of this blog. In my previous post I did not write, that beside mine I checked other websites, which I know are run by WordPress. All of them have the same problems. No matter where the WordPress page is hosted or stored. I contacted Happiness Engineers and got feedback that my question will be forwarded to Network Engineers. Still waiting for an answer from them.

One thing what made me especially concerned was the blog post “stopmullware-on-the-security-of-27-of-the-websites-on-the-internet” written by Scott Arciszewski, which got deleted shortly after I read it – the post was about priorities of Automattic, hint – security is not one of them. Here are some tweets which should explain why it was deleted:

Use Google and read yourself who is Scott and what he does. And make your own picture of the situation.

But Scott is not the only one who is alarmed. Here is another article about WordPress vulnerability. In fact I have a feeling that suddenly everyone writes about how insecure is WordPress. German media people seem to be little slow – they are informing about update bug just now.

Long story short – I spent whole week reading and understanding how it works all together – touched certificates and domains as well. My aim was to find out, what can I do to improve the security of my website. My current answer – as long as I use WordPress, I cannot fix security header issues. But optimist inside me is really looking forward to WordPress Network Engineer answer. May be there is a way.