Interesting things on this blog in the past year

I thought I’d write a post describing some interesting things that happened in the blog last year. All of these except the first one were totally unexpected and I have dwelled long hours thinking about them. Whenever I talk to someone I know about OneMint, one of these stories come up, so I thought I’d share it with readers.

I hope you enjoy these little stories too.

1. Naming my carnival: OneMint – Economy and Your Finances Carnival – Regular readers know that every other Sunday there is a carnival on this site. You will see that this is called: Economy and Your Finances Carnival. However, that’s not the name it started off with.

In the beginning, I prefixed the carnival with “OneMint”, and there is a little story behind that. When I started off my blog, and searched for “onemint” on Google, it would return results and say: “Did you mean OneMind?”

That really annoyed me.

I had planned to start a new carnival with the hopes that some bloggers would link back to it. I knew a little about search engine optimization (SEO), and it seemed to me that if people link back to the carnival with “OneMint” in the title – Google would at least stop asking people if they meant “onemind”, when they typed “onemint” in their search bar. I have no idea whether Google really works like this, but I am happy to report that if you search for “onemint” on Google, it no longer thinks you made a typo.

2. Chinese Visitors: According to me, this is by far the strangest thing that happened here. I use Google Analytics to measure traffic on this site, and one day I noticed a relatively large flow of traffic from China. Normally, there are a few visitors from China, but this day, the number was huge. When I looked at it in a bit more detail, I saw that a Chinese website had translated my post on Google China – G.Cn, and put it up on their website. All that traffic was from that link. Now that is something I could have never dreamed of, and much to my surprise, even after the initial flow of traffic, some visitors stuck around, and I can still see Chinese visitors. Thank you very much!

3. Helpful Readers: This site gets a moderate number of comments, and one great thing I noticed about them is that questions get answered. If you look at the posts that have a reasonable number of comments (like this, this or this) – you will see that readers answer a lot of questions. I feel really great to think that we have a helpful reader community in here. Thank you!

4. OneMint Got Hacked: Sometime last year, the site got hacked. The weird thing about the hack was that it injected spammy Viagra links on the site, which were not visible to readers. Those links were only visible to search engines, and that screwed me up pretty badly. I used to see Prescription drug ads on the site and I got suspicious but didn’t know enough to investigate properly. Finally, one day the OneMint feed got corrupted, and people who were subscribed to OneMint’s feed on Google Reader were seeing nothing but spammy links. It took quite a lot of effort and brilliance of my good friend – Robin to help me get out of that mess. Big thank you to Patrick who wrote me an email telling me about the problem and Kim who helped trouble shoot the problem. Thank you guys!

I hope you liked these little stories, I hope we have more interesting and positive experiences in 2010, and stay away from spam for good.

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