Ghacks in 2017, and a look back

It is the last day of the year, a good time to look ahead at what is in store for Ghacks in the year 2017, and to look back at the last year.

I'd like to begin with the last year, but before I do, I'd like to thank each and every one of you for making this site what it is.

I was overwhelmed by the support I got when I wrote about this site potentially dying in 2015. I cannot thank each and everyone enough for their support.

I'd like to update you on that. First, things are better right now as Google seems to have made some tweaks that for once benefited this site. I also did make some choices in regards to advertisement here on this site that helped improve revenue generation.

While that is very positive, things may and probably will turn to the worse eventually again. My drive to make this site independent from search engine traffic continues because of that.

The ad-blocking situation has not gotten any better, as more than 46% of visitors of this site block ads currently. My take away from this is that I have to concentrate my efforts on other means of revenue, as this will probably only get worse with any passing year.

For now, you can support Ghacks with a PayPal or Bitcoin donation, or by becoming a supporter on Patreon. I'd like to explore other options, especially since I'm not that fond of how Patreon is handling things (and they get a cut as well). If you have any suggestions in this regard, let me know.

Ghacks in 2017

The financial outlook is quite good. Again, this may change any moment, but assuming that it does not, this site will do well in 2017 and won't just disappear from the Internet.

I have a couple of plans for 2017 which I would like to discuss with you. Also, I would like to hear your opinion on how things are, and what you would like for the site in the coming year.

New Theme

Yes, that reads almost like a joke right now. We have been working for a long time on the theme, and if things don't get complicated, it will be rolled out in January 2017. It is a modern remake of the classic theme of this site, optimized for speed by cutting most third-party connections, images, and other code that is not required. So, no third-party fonts, emojis and stuff like that.

Once it is up, I have to monitor the site's metrics to make sure the theme change did not affect them.  If that is not the case, it will be the new theme for the site from that point going forward.

Article Updates

ghacks articles

17295 articles are currently published on Ghacks Technology News. I try my best to keep important ones up to date, but this is quite difficult as Ghacks is not backed by a multi-million or even billion Dollar company that has dozens of staffers for that.

I want to update articles, and will do so continuously throughout the year. You may have noticed the new "recent updates" section in the sidebar already. This will feature important updates only.

I'm looking for help with improving older articles on the site. You have two options for that. First, you can contact me about any article you came upon that you think needs an update. Ideally, you'd let me know why you think it needs an update (e.g. new version out with new functionality, broken links, software is commercial now, no longer needed..)

I put it on the list, and it will be updated eventually.

Second, you could update articles yourself, and mail me the updated version. This would be of tremendous help, especially if you are proficient when it comes to a topic. Many of you are probably more proficient than I'm, so getting your input on topics would be invaluable.

HTTPS

ghacks https

The main reason why HTTPS is not the default on Ghacks right now is because of advertisement. Or more precisely, because of a single advertiser who has yet to support HTTPS fully. A test revealed that advertising revenue from ads by that company dropped by 50% after switching to HTTPS.

For now, both HTTP and HTTPS are available. I removed the enforcement of HTTP recently. You should be able to browse the site via HTTPS by changing the protocol in the address bar, or by using a browser extension like HTTPS Everywhere.

I'm waiting for this advertiser to support HTTPS fully, and will make it the default afterwards. If the advertiser happens to wait too long with that, I'll enable HTTPS anyway as companies like Google and Mozilla will make life difficult for non-HTTP sites in 2017.

Suggestions

I'm always open for suggestions. If you have ideas for this site, let me know. I plan to write more Linux articles in 2017 for one.

I'm also always interested in your articles. If you like to write articles, and their quality is good, I would be more than happy to publish them here on this site. Obviously, they had to fit with the content but that is the only restriction.

I'm especially interested in someone taking over the Linux section. Jack wrote more than a thousand articles in the past, but they have not been updated for years. It would be great if those articles would be updated if necessary.

Anyway, if you have suggestions, I would love to hear them.

I wish you a great 2017.

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Ghacks in 2017, and a look back
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It is the last day of the year, a good time to look ahead at what is in store for Ghacks in the year 2017, and to look back at the last year.
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Responses to Ghacks in 2017, and a look back

  1. Nik December 31, 2016 at 7:52 am #

    Why not move to a framework like Genesis?

    • Martin Brinkmann December 31, 2016 at 7:55 am #

      These frameworks are usually not lightweight enough, or require lots of modifications to make them lightweight.

  2. Anonymous December 31, 2016 at 8:17 am #

    About "how things are" all is perfect for me, please don't change anything. Using HostsMan I can't whitelist Ghacks specifically, sorry for that. I wish you a great 2017 too.

  3. Robert G. December 31, 2016 at 9:50 am #

    Sorry Martin, you're right, I now disable my ad-blocking with Cyberfox, I'm honest I was unaware.

    Long life to Ghacks.net and thanks for the news.

  4. Sören Hentzschel December 31, 2016 at 11:23 am #

    > HTTPS

    Finally!

    > I'm always open for suggestions. If you have ideas for this site, let me know. I plan to write more Linux articles in 2017 for one.

    I would love to see a few macOS articles :P The market share of macOS is much higher than of Linux on desktop systems, so it seems more relevant to me. ;)

    • Parker Lewis December 31, 2016 at 11:48 am #

      It's also about Ghacks audience. It's very skewed towards semi-tech literate people as evidenced by the amount of visitors blocking ads, way above average.

      So I would think there's a lot more Linux users than Linux's market share would predict. Especially seeing how everyone in comments seems to hate Microsoft and nobody ever seems to talk about Mac as an alternative, only Linux.

      That said, starting to talk about Mac progressively could bring a new audience, and if/as the number grows, it could make sense to decide to focus further resources on Mac.

      My suggestion would be to focus more on mobile products though. Security and privacy are a mess in this domain and there's room to educate users and become a reference website. People are also more likely to try out random apps on mobile than on desktop, and I noticed many Ghacks articles are about testing and presenting a new program.

      From what I can see, successful articles these days are those that focus on browsers and on Windows, and mostly when it's about market insight or privacy&security. Seems like we have an audience concerned about the tools they use, how to use them better, and if there are tools better suited. Also people who like to have their choices reinforced by the information presented.

      That's just the vibe I get from spending a few months around, i.e. mere hypothesis to be tested against metrics.

      • Parker Lewis December 31, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

        About mobile focus, it depends on how many visitors have a smartphone or tablet. Very privacy-centric users should be less likely to have one or use it fully, and there seems to be a decent population of privacy-centric users on Ghacks.

        As for users liking to have their choices reinforced by the information presented, I think it's incorrect. It's more like they like to have their choice acknowledged rather than reinforced. I think this audience is actively looking for information that either comforts their choice or suggests a more appropriate tool for their own specific needs. (Or that teaches new things about what they use, etc.)

      • Sören Hentzschel January 1, 2017 at 8:20 am #

        > It's also about Ghacks audience

        That's why I suggested articles about macOS topics. Ghacks is a tech site. And macOS is particularly widespread among techy people, so it's a part of the audience. ;)

    • Martin Brinkmann December 31, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

      I never owned a Mac, and I don't think I will in the near future. So, unless I find someone else interesting in writing about Macs, not going to happen ;)

      • Sören Hentzschel January 1, 2017 at 8:25 am #

        I understand that. The idea behind my comment was: if someone else wrote more than thousand articles about Linux someone else can write about another and more widespread operating system. It has much more users and that means a) a bigger target audience (especially because a lot of techy people tends to use macOS) and b) there are more people who can write about macOS because there are more people using this operating system. ;)

      • Martin Brinkmann January 1, 2017 at 11:19 am #

        Sören I'm not opposed to the idea. But, I think it is quite difficult to find someone willing for the job here on Ghacks considering that I cannot pay a lot for that.

  5. Guest703 December 31, 2016 at 11:24 am #

    Moving more resources to local rather than relying on 3rd party resources is a good move, I, like probably many others, have uMatrix enabled, and I don't turn uMatrix off for a site unless it breaks the site in some way - since ghacks doesn't break with it enabled, I've not bothered disabling it.

    Unfortunately I can't support ads, no matter how good the cause, but I've likely supported ghacks already by purchasing a deal through one of your affiliates on an article you've linked. It is good to see you have multiple means of income for this site, it means that if one mean of income drops suddenly, you have others to fall back on.

  6. Tom Hawack December 31, 2016 at 11:25 am #

    "How things are" not too bad! Ghacks has its well established identity due to the quality of its articles -- clear, up-to-date, dynamic and free of demagogy : journalism as it can be -- served by "For he's a jolly good fellow..." : Martin Brinkman.

    Several sites link to articles published on ghacks.net and, how to say? I feel rather happy when telling myself "Well, I know that fine place". Ghacks is a reference, be it among professionals but also amid the less savvy because complicated matters can be accessible to all when explained with words they understand. This dual face of the site is I believe a major reason of its success.

    2017 will bring its lot of innovation. A new theme? Fine, even if the topology is IMO far less important then the content, even if has its importance, especially for newcomers (First the lady's silhouette or the sites outlook, then her personality or the site's content, right?!). Ghacks has brains and is sexy already, no problem!

    I like Ghacks as it is, to say things simply. I appreciate its independence, its transparency when it comes to dealing with financial realities, I cannot make exceptions for ads be it here as elsewhere because my anti-ad configuration goes far beyond 'uBlock Origin' which I use here with Firefox, so it is likely that among PayPal donations (I'd rather say "participation") one of 'em is Tom's :)

    Not much more to say at this time unless I start a new chapter. No? OK!

    I'll say it frankly because I feel it deep down in my heart : Be 2017 a happy and successful year for all of us, for Martin, for Ghacks. We've shared so much up to now, I've learned a lot and this will carry on.

    ********** H A P P Y N E W Y E A R 2 0 1 7 ********** :)

  7. Sören Hentzschel December 31, 2016 at 11:41 am #

    By the way, there is something wrong with your canonical urls. On the http version the canonical urls starts with http, on the https version the canonical urls starts with https. It has to be always http or always https, otherwise you have duplicate content. Different protocols = different sites, that's why it's important do set the canonical url correct. Otherwise you will get a penalty in Google & co. and that means a lost of revenue (because of the possible lost of traffic from search engines).

    • Martin Brinkmann December 31, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

      Thanks Sören. Have set the canonical to http for now. Will change that when I make the switch.

  8. rswrc December 31, 2016 at 11:42 am #

    1. I have disabled uBlock here but i still see no ads.
    2. What i really would like to see is a Dark Theme for the site. Reading white sites in the night is pain.

    • Tony December 31, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

      Congrats Martin!

      Yes, a simple toggle for a dark theme would be most welcome.

    • Robert G. December 31, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

      I added https://www.ghacks.net/ in Whitelist, it works for me.

    • Ron December 31, 2016 at 3:49 pm #

      NoScript will block ads also, if you use it.

  9. Yeah December 31, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

    You should write columns for various tech publications and start your own Youtube channel. Maybe you could start a how-to tutorial series and a consumer tech product review series. You have the talent and skill to make a bigger name for yourself. Such series could have the advertisements in the form of your advocacy embedded within the articles themselves provided you believe in the products and services and make ethical disclosures. You should become the expert that companies seek out to have you review and publicize their products. Maybe you can even get to the point where you appear on television or radio. The more well known you become, the better your potential to be sought after and paid.

    Love your site
    Best wishes,

  10. Henk van Setten December 31, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

    What I did in the past year was recommend the Ghacks site to some of my friends whom I thought might be interested in Martin's work. Like people who told me they worried about Windows Update, or Windows 10 upgrade or privacy woes. I forwarded some of Martin's posts to them and told them to check this site frequently.

    If all Ghacks readers would try to do the same kind of thing in their own environment (it really is no effort at all) this might help to expand the Ghacks readership and popularity.

    • Martin Brinkmann December 31, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

      Thank you for your support Henk, I really appreciate your effort.

  11. Moloch December 31, 2016 at 1:55 pm #

    I have learned a lot of things since i started browsing Ghacks which i cannot thank you enough for.

    Happy New Year Martin and readers of Ghacks!

  12. Hy December 31, 2016 at 1:58 pm #

    I think ghacks is pretty damn perfect now, in every way, and I agree with the old idea: you don’t mess with a winner.

    That said, I understand the need to at least sustain the site, if not grow, innovate, try new things, etc.

    For me, the current theme is absolutely perfect. I find it so clean, clear, pleasant, and easy-on-the-eyes in every way, and I can read the articles and comments perfectly easily and free of distraction.

    The selection of article topics nearly always appeals to me, and they contain no fluff or BS but merely useful information throughout.

    Thinking about it now, the thing I appreciate most about ghacks is the perspective from which the articles are written: others have already mentioned the desire among many ghacks readers for privacy and security, and I am certainly squarely in that category. And so reflecting on this now, I realize that I trust ghacks, and that trust is worth its weight in gold to me. This is the one site I know of for sure where I can go and get information I trust. I value that. Looking over events of the past few years, I find that there is now more than ever a need for a place to go and get information that is trustworthy and which never neglects privacy and security considerations. Thank you, Martin, for this treasure of a site.

    Two small notes: I notice that if I enable the HTTPS rule for ghacks via HTTPS Everywhere sometimes pages don’t display correctly, or images are missing. This could be due to my specific configuration. But I noticed today that if I just add an “s” to the “http” in the address bar then everything was displaying correctly.

    Finally, may we please have again a mobile site for Android which displays comments? I miss that greatly.

    Thank you again, Martin, for all that you do! Happy 2017!

    • Tom Hawack December 31, 2016 at 2:34 pm #

      Concerning 'HTTPS Everywhere', the rule it includes presently for ghacks.net is called 'ghacks.net (partial)' and is disabled by default. The rule includes secured http://www.ghacks.net but also cdn.ghacks.net to secured ghacks-ghacks.netdna-ssl.com (https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere/atlas/domains/ghacks.net.html)

      I've left this rule disabled and set my own to secured *.ghacks.net and it runs fine (cdn.ghacks.net accepts https, no need for it to be called via netdna-ssl.com). Looks like EFF's rule concerning ghacks.net is not up to date.

      Unfortunately, as well as the default rule, pages are long to appear, so for the time being I'll keep on calling ghacks.net unsecured.

      • Hy December 31, 2016 at 11:33 pm #

        Hello, Tom! Happy New Year! Thanks for the info. I too noticed much longer load times when I switched ghacks to https and so I'll also wait for the time being until the changeover is complete.

      • Tom Hawack January 1, 2017 at 12:04 am #

        Happy New Year, Hy! Happy New Year to all!
        2017 is here since 4 minutes, another 56minutes for London :)

      • Martin Brinkmann January 1, 2017 at 6:27 am #

        Happy New Year Tom, and everyone else ;)

  13. Old Coot December 31, 2016 at 2:04 pm #

    Martin,
    would like to thank you for the excellent articles on how to stop espionage by Microsoft and Nvida.
    Applied to my PC 8.1 Pro and Laptop 10 Home worked a treat.
    All the best for the new year,

  14. Eedrah December 31, 2016 at 2:41 pm #

    Thanks for a great blog Martin! I've put in an exception in my ad-blocker now. I'm really looking forward to reading more Linux articles during 2017.

  15. Straspey December 31, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

    Martin -

    I just want to let you know how much I appreciate all the effort and hard work you put in on a daily basis to make ghacks new, fresh and up-to-date every single day -- even on New Year's Eve.

    Over the years I've seen a number of tech sites - which were once considered as being "go-to" places for tech info and support - flounder as their owners seemed to have lost interest or gone on to other activities, while allowing their sites to go stale and allow months (or years) to pass without an update.

    It's obvious to your core group of regulars here, that for you, ghacks is a labor of love - and I for one consider the fruits of your labors to be a daily gift, for which I am grateful.

    Earlier in the year, I sent you an email regarding a workaround script I'd found for a change in the Firefox add-ons compatibility set-up. You took the time to confirm the safety of the script, reply to my email, and - most importantly - share it with everyone here.

    Your interest and enthusiasm is evident -- and I just want to say thank you, and wish you the very best for a Happy, Successful and prosperous new year.

    All best wishes -- and Happy New Year to all here at ghacks.

  16. George P. Burdell December 31, 2016 at 3:44 pm #

    This site is one of the best on the internet, not just about computer advice, but among the universe of all topics. Martin is a national treasure to his native land, and a valuable world asset.

    I'd like to disagree with those who wish Martin should take up Apple and smartphones and electric cars and video games and GPS receivers. If Martin's efforts become spread around too thin, we grateful readers will be fed thin soup instead of what Lewis Carroll calls "condensed milkiness".

    Less Windows coverage and more thought about and space for Linux makes sense though, because that transition will mirror the trajectory of what seems to me to be the main audience here. Let somebody else review Apple and smartphones, if they can do as well.

    Looking back over 2016, what I miss most here are the pungent remarks of "Pants". Personal attacks and pointless reply posts need less tolerance and more quick removal.

  17. Nebulus December 31, 2016 at 3:58 pm #

    Martin, thanks for the great blog! Keep up the good work in 2017!

    I'm sorry for the fact that I block ads, I try to make up for that using Patreon to support you. By the way, if I choose not to have an account here when I started donating, is there a way to change that now? Thanks!

  18. cdr December 31, 2016 at 4:05 pm #

    Thanks for offering the 'Deals' tab. I have made several purchases from it. The savings make much of what it offers irresistible. I hope it is as good for you as it has been for me.

  19. thinkaboutit December 31, 2016 at 4:22 pm #

    Hi Martin,

    don't know if it already has been suggested. I believe if you would put out your site in German language it would be a great success. What do we have here in Germany ? Chip, Computerbild, maybe I missed one.

    But the quality of their articles is lacking, sometimes even inferior. Seems, they have to make a clip about everything one usually could express in three sentences. Think about it, it may be a good chance for your website to make some money. Frohes neues Jahr.

    • thinkaboutit December 31, 2016 at 4:36 pm #

      Me again,
      I forgot to mention ZDNET, sorry. Still I am sure your site would be much appreciated in Kraut language. But I realize it maybe too much work for a small entrepeneur. Thank you for a great site.

  20. Yuliya December 31, 2016 at 5:23 pm #

    >New Theme
    >Yes, that reads almost like a joke right now.

    Eh, if the current theme was a problem then yes, but it works just fine. So there's no need to rush things.

    Looking forward for new articles in the new year :) Happy New Year!!

  21. Declan December 31, 2016 at 9:55 pm #

    Martin, you are the best.

    I have linked to gHacks a few times earlier this summer in my blog (www.TechViews.org) and I see that some of my subscribers have used it. That's good for us both. I have been republished by both USA Today and Techconnect, so I'm sure that gives you a wider exposure.
    Since my articles focus on Internet security, there may be some dovetails in some areas. You are certainly welcome to republish my work if it fits your mission.
    I am all for sharing information that helps us all.

    Best of luck to you and gHacks in 2017 and beyond ............

    • Martin Brinkmann January 1, 2017 at 6:30 am #

      Thanks, it is Techviews right? I had to edit your URL because it contained a typo. Thanks for your wishes ;)

      • Declan January 1, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

        OOPS, sometimes my fingers move faster than my brain .... hehe

        http://www.techviews.org/

        And I occasionally have to deal with the http/https issue myself. However, 98% of the time the link connects through https.

  22. city_zen December 31, 2016 at 11:20 pm #

    Martin,
    Congratulations on another great year for GHacks. I'm happy that the financial situation is improving for the site.
    Let me add a small suggestion for the changes you're planning for the site: could you add comments for the mobile site of GHacks? I currently browse GHacks at least 50% of the time on mobile and I often miss the useful comments from fellow readers.

  23. Albert McCann January 1, 2017 at 12:45 am #

    I tried white-listing Ghacks for awhile in ABP, but many of the ads from Google were nothing more than what amounts to pros titution (dating) scams. I kept flagging them as inappropriate, but that does nothing. :-( Then there's the ones with the green 'download' buttons that are intended to look like part of whatever site they are hosted on. All in all, it isn't worth the risk of infection (or a pissed off spouse who sees the sleazy dating ads, and thinks I'm on some 'adult' site ;-) ) to allow the ads. Instead, I purchased one of your discount offers (VPN service) as a way of helping out.

  24. Pants January 1, 2017 at 1:26 am #

    Time permitting (there is never enough time, damnit), I had several ideas for articles for Martin to publish - i.e, I would write them up with the images in html format and rar em to him to post as guest articles: Thing like "How I structure and maintain my massive music library", "How to snag hi-quality hi-res artwork for albums", "How I structure, manage, update and run 350 portable software programs" and so on.

    in other words, we could contribute (eg as Martin says, a Linux expert or three would be great) by expanding the depth of topics and the quality/knowledge of said articles. We all have some area we excel in.

    Maybe Martin can whip up a public template for wordpress (eg like on the other login, Martin) for submissions, so he can just proof-read etc and publish

    • Hy January 1, 2017 at 7:38 am #

      Hello, Pants! I don’t remember the last time I saw you on here–good to hear from you. Good suggestions, too. Happy 2017 to all!

  25. Paul(us) January 1, 2017 at 1:45 am #

    First of all I want to wish you and all the people who you love a ferry healthy 2017 and that all you wishes may come threw in 2017!

    I understand Cristal clear that you are doing what you can to keep the website not only actualized but also in the air.
    I am still full of admiration about that.
    I am always putting of main ad block off on your site and hopefully all people will do that in 2017.

    Your question about any suggestion that I may have for http://www.ghacks.net is "please keep the look
    and feel of the website as simple as possible. This because I am still a strong believer in less is more!.
    Hopefully this will helped you! Thanks for a great year with so much great articles who feel like friends when
    your read them. Please keep up the good work.

  26. Owl January 1, 2017 at 6:35 am #

    Happy New Year Martin. Thanks for a great site!

  27. Daniel Winter January 1, 2017 at 4:42 pm #

    Martin, if you could add products/services that are a bit more diverse in your advertising then I could participate more often with purchases that help out Ghacks. Many of the services you advertise fall into the "Books or courses for Programmers" category. It's always the same old "Visual Studio courses". The only thing I found appealing were the odd VPN discounts which were great. Have a look at Lifehacker's advertising/discounted product partnerships, its much more diverse and appealing to non-programmers.

    • Martin Brinkmann January 2, 2017 at 6:07 am #

      Daniel, thanks for your feedback. The offerings on Ghacks Deals are fairly limited to certain niches unfortunately. I will see what I can do.

  28. Anonim January 3, 2017 at 3:55 am #

    Make site icon prettier, for example remove white square around the ball.

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