Leveling Up The Null Set to Celebrate It’s Sixth Anniversary

alpha_jumpIt’s time to fess up on something – I hated reading my own blog. This vexing feeling started off as a vague, insidious whisper that I couldn’t shake and it only strengthened over time. Upon examination and reflection, I was able to sum up the problem as The Null Set was “taxing” to read. Puzzled, because I had picked a theme that steered clear of tiny 8 pt. and 10 pt. fonts as well as poor color choices like grey text on a black background, I finally decided it was probably a fault of my writing. Not a particularly uplifting thought and a less stubborn or optimistic me probably would have decided it was time to stop blogging, if only to ease the suffering of those who continue coming back.

 

Fast forward to this January 21st, The Null Set’s sixth birthday, and I happen to stumble upon an article talking about improving the readability of web pages. One point this article makes is that line lengths of 50-75 characters is optimal for reading and a sneaky light bulb flipped on in my brain – and not one of those CFL bulbs with their insipid light but a real incandescent bulb. I opened up The Null Set and started counting. As I had guessed, my blog blew past the upper limit of 75 with ease. At an unhealthy ~98 characters per line, it started to look like maybe my blog theme was, at least partially, to blame for my problem.

Further reading also convinced me that a 12 pt font, while great for paper, really is too small for a blog. The obvious solution was to find a better theme; but, after 4 years with the same theme, I was already cringing at everything that was going to go wrong in the switch.

I’ll spare you the theatrics, including how I spent 20 minutes with the mouse pointer posed over the activate theme button – yeah, first world problems – to say the switch was actually pretty painless and I could tell immediately that reading The Null Set was going to be a less “taxing” affair. Now, I have to improve the quality of the content and the quantity. :)

I took this opportunity to carry out a couple changes I’d long wanted to do. The archive page was entirely too unwieldy to be useful so I broke it down by year, hopefully that helps. Which was the easy one compared to the other change. The first ~2.5 years of posts on The Null Set were not full justified and it has irked me every day since I switched to full justifying my posts (the last 3.5 years). Well, 30 hours of work later, I fixed that and many of the most egregious spelling mistakes from those first 2.5 years.

Add a spiffy new banner – Yotsuba and Alpha appreciating a sunset over Lake Erie at Conneaut Township Park (which hosts the largest D-Day enactment in America) – and The Null Set is ready for another 6 years.

This sixth year saw an up tick in the number of posts I finished and posted (60 posts vs 53 posts in 2012) but a decrease in number of hits for the year (100,828 vs 246,086 in 2012) which I blame in large part on Google changing something with their search results. I know it was on Google’s end because the drop in traffic happened in one day early in 2013 and never recovered the rest of the year as well as Glo at Eye Sedso noticing the same thing (link very NSFW) for his site. I’m not really blogging for the numbers but it does sadden me that fewer people are finding their anime related needs met by this site. :(

Speaking of numbers here’s a few more:

My Top 10 most viewed posts of 2013:

Post Views
My Top 20 Anime of All-Time – #20 to #11 6,282
My Top 20 Anime of All-Time – #10 to #1 3,104
Dear Aniplex, You’re Setting Puella Magi Madoka Magica Up to Fail In America and You Probably Won’t Even Know Why 2,840
Film Review – Pixar’s UP 1,737
Soul Eater Wallpaper 3 1,484
Clannad Wallpapers 3 1,218
Spring 2013 Anime First Impressions – Mushibugyou, Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge, Yuyushiki, Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko – Last Minute Additions to the Team 1,193
If Anime Is Dead Then Death Has Never Looked So Good 1,126
The Top 15 Anime of 2012 – #15 to #11 1,088
The Top 15 Anime of 2012 – #5 to #1 1,079

In six years The Null Set has had:

  • 549 blog posts
  • 1,443,265 views
  • 2,370 comments
  • 179,266 spam comments

Anime related projects that I participated in this year included Reverse Thieves’ Secret Santa Project and the 12 Days of Christmas Project on The Null Set. Elsewhere, I was also a voter for the Weekly Anime Power Ranking (now, sadly ended). I was an enthusiastic follower of the Anime Music Tourney, discovering many great anime songs, and tried my hand out on the Bracket Challenge for the Anime Music Tourney, which I happened to win. This year also saw an improvement in how well I did in the Fantasy Anime League over at MyAnimeList. In 2012, I placed 94th out of 199 in the fall contest and this year I finished 32nd out of 230 in the spring and 9th out of 354 in the fall.

And, last but not least, to everyone who reads and comments here on The Null Set – you have my most heartfelt thanks – maintaining this blog these six years has been a most gratifying experience.

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7 thoughts on “Leveling Up The Null Set to Celebrate It’s Sixth Anniversary”

  1. Happy 6th blog birthday! I haven’t even had Otaku Lounge up for a year yet, but I feel like 6 is really something to be proud of. (Also, your new layout looks rather spiffy, so well done there as well.)

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  2. @Alex: Thanks!

    @Artemis: Thanks! I’m very bad about finding new blogs but I checked yours out just now and it’s a very nice blog, keep it up – I loved reading Watson Watches: Azumanga Daioh, I’d really like to see what Watson thinks of Madoka

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  3. I read my blog at 200% mag and yours at 2.5x mag. Modern templates seem to auto adjust to the mag level. But since I read a lot of ebooks, I kind of figure out ahead of time where the margins need to be.

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  4. Happy 6th! Absolutely love your blog. The new look is great, but the old one never stop me from visiting. Hope you do the best of 2013 – those year end reviews / ranking are the best. They help me discover gems outside my normal genre. Thanks!

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  5. @ymarsakar: Interesting, I’ve never tried moving the magnification around. Instead, I’d rather grumble to myself about I can’t read some sites :)

    @Joe: Thanks! I’m working on it my best of 2013 posts. I’ve got a fair amount of it roughed out already but until it’s almost completely written, I won’t start putting up it up.

    @Justin: Thanks! I sometimes think the very same thing, though in the first person :)

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