Welcome back! The Renegade Coder has officially been up a whole week, and I’ve already been making some serious updates. For starters, I’ve been working on branding. Let me know how you think I’m doing in the comments below.
Table of Contents
As you probably heard in The Renaissance Woman and the Closer, I worked with Pamela Austin through Fiverr to generate a bit of the branding for the site. Now you can finally check out what the cover page looks like in action.
If the exercises get some pretty good ratings, I’m going to go ahead and create my first product. That’s right! I’m planning to start releasing premium content for the site. Don’t let that worry you too much! All of the current and future tutorials will remain free. In addition, all GitHub content and quizzes will remain free. However, I do plan to start a series of coding projects that will be sold as PDFs on the site. I think this will be a nice opportunity for people to dive into real projects. Each PDF will contain a problem statement as well as a set of requirements. Alongside each PDF will be a solution set in Java, so you can see a running version of the solution. I also plan to tag each project with a difficulty rating, so you’ll have an idea of the knowledge needed to get started. Once I start to build up a library of projects, I’ll start bundling them to provide a more affordable option for serious learners.
I expect to start selling projects by June, but I’d love to start sooner. However, I don’t want to create any products until the Java Basics series has concluded. You can help speed up that process by leaving comments under the current lessons. I’ll be using those comments to build up a final review lesson. In addition, I still need to generate some exercises for the Loops and Readability lessons. Also, I’m trying to figure out what license I want to file the products under. Once I get all of that figured out, you’ll be seeing a brand new store on the site.
In addition to all that fun stuff, I have been having a lot of fun trying to boost referral and organic traffic. Most of that is handled through word of mouth, so I just need to continue providing good content that people want to share. On the other hand, I also need to boost SEO whenever possible. If you haven’t noticed, every image on the site has been updated to provide some description as well a title and alt tag. The file names have also been updated to more accurately reflect what the photo contains. In addition, I caved and decided to work with Jetpack’s Photon functionality. I was really enjoying the Carousel feature on the old site, but it seems to be broken with the new theme for now (see my issue). Photon eases some of those frustrations by automatically down scaling all of the embedded images in posts and serving them via their own CDN (though some images seem blurry). I’ve already had some issues with Photon changing the center of some of my photos, so I’ve had to edit them by hand. However, this allowed my to get rid of yet another plugin that I was using to specify image dimensions! I really love cutting down on the plugin overhead. Overall, the site seems incredibly fast now, so I can’t really complain.
While I have been playing around with images quite a bit, I have also started to play around with schemas. In fact, I decided to start using a new plugin that automatically lays out the schema on a categorical basis. Once indexed, my posts should start to appear a little nicer in search results. In fact, you should already be able to see the effects if you run this search. Probably my favorite update so far has been the breadcrumb which shows up instead of a nasty link. Once I get some products going, I expect to see user reviews showing up in search results as well.
While not mentioned in the title, I did want to briefly highlight some security elements on the site. For starters, the website utilizes an SSL certificate. That is what makes the site https vs http which ultimately means your experience is secure. The website is setup to always redirect to the https version even when you manually type http, and the https version of the site is what gets indexed in search engines.
In addition, I’ve made an effort to stop fake registrations. WordPress offers a basic captcha system that should stop most bots from registering. Originally, I wanted to stop registration altogether. However, I have to open up registrations to customers once the store launches.
I also decided to grab a personal version of Jetpack which helps deflect spam comments and helps maintain a regular backup of the site. That way we never have to worry about losing content! 🙂 On my previous site, I was being cheap and backing up the site to a personal server nightly. I figured with this site I could get a bit more serious and secure.
Once again, below is a tl;dr list of changes to the site. If there are updates you’d like to see in the future, leave a comment below.
Latest Plugin Changes
- Updated W3 Total Cache to version 0.9.5.3
- Updated Wordfence Security to version 6.3.7
- Updated Media File Renamer to version 3.3.0
- Updated SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle to version 1.8.3
- Updated W3 Total Cache to version 0.9.5.4
- Updated SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle to version 1.8.4
- Updated Triberr to version 4.0.6
- Updated WooCommerce to version 3.0.5
- Updated All in One SEO Pack to version 220.127.116.11
- Updated Media File Renamer to version 3.4.4
- Updated SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle to version 1.8.5
- Updated All in One SEO Pack to version 18.104.22.168
- Updated Media File Renamer to version 3.4.5
- Updated Akismet Anti-Spam to version 3.3.1
- Updated All in One SEO Pack to version 22.214.171.124
- Updated Jetpack to version 4.9
- Updated Wordfence Security to version 6.3.8
I know I brought it up already, but I’m getting really excited about the PDF store. I got the idea a month or so ago during a drive to a leadership training in New York. While listening to my favorite podcast Side Hustle School, I started to brainstorm some ideas for monetization. I really wanted to stay away from advertisements, but I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. At some point during that drive, I thought maybe I could start selling PDF study guides and problem sets.
Fast forward to yesterday – I was listening to that same podcast, and I heard about a website called Master Organic Chemistry. Apparently, the author of that blog sells organic chemistry study guides. After a quick poke around, I started feel quite a bit more confident in my idea. I feel like it has a really great chance of being successful.
Of course, if the study guides don’t work out, I already have a backup. 😉
If you’re interested in learning more about the study guides and projects, go ahead and subscribe to my newsletter. Everyone who subscribes is going to get the first guide free of charge. I’ve already starting brainstorming some ideas for a Beginner’s Guide to Programming. This guide would feature topics like Why should I learn to program?, How do I start learning?, and Which language should I start with?. If any of those topics interest you, I recommend hopping on my mailing list. Everyone will receive a free copy when it’s finished.
I don't like to share about personal stuff too much, but I figured I'd share some early news of 2021.
Today, I'm whipping out some philosophy jargon to characterize some of the problems I see in the tech education community.