March 31 marks the end of the month (or so the knuckle mnemonic tells us). The end of the month means that it is time for our regular month-in-review post, a tradition dating all the way back to August 2020. Below, I share links to our articles and newsletters from March 2023, our somewhat-depressing most-visited articles list (thank you, Bing), and some news and notes as we march from March toward The New Leaf Journal’s third birthday.

New Articles from March 2023

Counting this post, we published 15 regular articles in March. To be sure, it was our lest busy month in terms of the number of new articles, but in my defense, some of the new articles were very long. I designated four of our new articles as “editor’s choice” selections.

I also published sixteen short posts (leaflets and leaf buds). I list those in order below.

Finally, I published and mailed four newsletters, all of which I syndicated here at The New Leaf Journal. Below, I link to the syndicated versions of the newsletter. If you like what you read, you can subscribe to the flagship Saturday edition via email or RSS feed (see options).

Note that our newsletters cover more than just New Leaf Journal news. Each edition contains links to interesting articles around the web and other news and notes, including our weekly lists of most-viewed articles.

Most-turned leaves of March 2023

Below, I present the 24-most visited articles of March 2023, according to our privacy-friendly local analytics solution, Koko Analytics.

RankArticleAuthorPublishedFeb Rank
1Tiki paralogue trick in Fire Emblem EngageNAF2.3.20231
2The Mystery of Sōseki and Tsuki ga KireiNAF3.14.20212
3Peekier Search Engine ReviewNAF2.26.20225
4The Pokémon Special Split in Generation 2 – Statistics and AnalysisNAF1.18.20224
5Review of /e/ – An Android Alternative For Mobile PhonesNAF1.21.202117
6Installing Ubuntu Touch on a Google Nexus 7 (2013)NAF7.5.20213
7The Nice Boat 〜 A Look Back at the School Days AnimeNAF5.6.20219
8The ideal phone, e-ink and QWERTYNAF2.23.2023N/A
9Recommended F-Droid FOSS Apps For Android-Based Devices (2021)NAF11.28.20216
10How the Forget-Me-Not Flower Found Its NameNAF3.11.202116
11Familiar song in Angel Next Door animeNAF2.6.2023N/A
12A Look at ProxiTok, a TikTok FrontendNAF5.14.202221

13-24: 13 Persona 4 Golden Digital Artbook Review (Steam) (NAF: 11.13.20). 14 Playing Through Cancer in Silence: Shawn Respert’s NBA Story (NAF: 4.15.21). 15 Ghostwriter Markdown Editor Review (NAF: 10.7.21). 16 Pokémon: Pathways to Adventure (1999) Review (NAF: 4.21.22). 17 An In-Depth Look at Norton Safe Search (NAF: 10.18.22). 18 The Chinese Dragon Gang Origin Story (NAF: 10.22.22). 19 The Last Stand of Constantine XI (NAF: 5.30.20). 20 The Sega Dreamcast Controller Joystick (NAF: 6.14.22). 21 Understanding Hair Color in the Kimi ni Todoke Anime Series (NAF: 8.19.21). 22 Futaba Igarashi’s Hair Is Naturally Green? (NAF: 11.23.21). 23 Searching for the Figure Behind the Blob Dylan Tags in NYC and Florida (NAF: 10.24.21). 24 Building a Big Joe Williams-Inspired Nine String Guitar (VVG: 3.12.22).

After generally continuous progress, March was our weakest month in terms of average daily page views (again according to Koko Analytics) since October 2021. While we have continued to perform about as well in Google Search as we have at any point, our being blacklisted by Bing, still wholly without any explanation or recourse, is taking a toll on the total page views. One issue, I believe, is that our Google visits are largely one-and-done. I am working on improving the site navigation to encourage people to stick around, but it is a work in progress. As for Bing, I am continuing to research the situation but there appears to be nothing that we can do about it as our blacklisting approaches the three-month mark.

Our top seven articles performed fairly well in March and in the ballpark of what we would have come to expect for top-performing articles. Our first, third, and seventh ranked articles had their best months on record. The softness after the top seven led to some surprises. The eighth place article, my February post on the ideal smartphone, would have made the top 12 in most months, but took advantage of a weak March to post a very high eighth-place finish. While my forget-me-not flower post had a mediocre month by its standards, it posted its highest finish (10th) since April 2022 (7th). I was surprised to see my post on a hunt for the ending song of The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten crack the top 12 in its first full month. It broke through thanks to a weak month overall and a surge in views when the anime finished its run on March 25.

There are not too many other major notes in the top 24. I did notice that no 2020 articles made our top-12, which is probably a first here at The New Leaf Journal. My Constantine XI article from 2020, which has consistently been one of our best performers, has struggled since the Bing de-indexing, suggesting that it relied more than a bit on Bing-based search front-ends. I was heartened to see my Pokémon: Pathways to Adventure book review peak at sixteenth place with a genuinely solid month (it would have made most top-24s). I thought that was a fun and unique piece and I hope that people continue to discover it.

Most-turned leaves of January-March 2023

I included information about the most-read articles over three-month periods in my 2022 year-end New Leaf Journal review. While it was an interesting list to put together, it was a pain because I had to put it together in short order. I figured that it would be best to have the information readily accessible. Below, I present our twenty-four most-read articles of the first three months of 2023 using the same criteria that I used for the single-month ranking.

  1. The Mystery of Sōseki and Tsuki ga Kirei (NAF: 3.14.21)
  2. Tiki paralogue trick in Fire Emblem Engage (NAF: 2.3.23)
  3. The Pokémon Special Split in Generation 2 – Statistics and Analysis (NAF: 1.18.22)
  4. Peekier Search Engine Review (NAF: 2.26.22)
  5. Installing Ubuntu Touch on a Google Nexus 7 (2013) (NAF: 7.5.21)
  6. Tom Cantor’s Changed Has Poor Color Scheme (NAF: 8.3.22)
  7. The Nice Boat 〜 A Look Back at the School Days Anime (NAF: 5.6.21)
  8. Biden, Lincoln, and Counting Back From the President’s Birth (NAF: 4.9.22)
  9. Recommended F-Droid FOSS Apps For Android-Based Devices (2021) (NAF: 11.28.21)
  10. Review of /e/ – An Android Alternative For Mobile Phones (NAF: 11.21.21)
  11. Understanding Hair Color in the Kimi ni Todoke Anime Series (NAF: 8.19.21)
  12. The Last Stand of Constantine XI (NAF: 5.30.20)
  13. Persona 4 Golden Digital Artbook Review (Steam) (NAF: 11.15.20)
  14. How the Forget-Me-Not Flower Found Its Name (NAF: 3.11.21)
  15. Ghostwriter Markdown Editor Review (NAF: 10.7.21)
  16. A Look at ProxiTok, a TikTok Frontend (NAF: 5.14.22)
  17. The Story of Billy Possum, President Hoover’s Pet Opossum (NAF: 11.30.21)
  18. Nintendo Power’s 1999 Yoshi in Pokémon April Fools Prank (NAF: 4.1.21)
  19. How to Find Substack RSS Feeds and Other Notes (NAF: 6.19.21)
  20. Review of the Teracube 2e Smartphone (NAF: 11.19.21)
  21. An Early Review of Pixelfed – Instagram Alternative (NAF: 11.13.20)
  22. The ideal phone, e-ink and QWERTY (NAF: 2.23.23)
  23. The Chinese Dragon Gang Origin Story (NAF: 10.22.22)
  24. Cross-posting from Mastodon to Twitter (NAF: 4.18.22)

Despite the weirdness caused by the Bing blacklisting, which began early in the quarter on January 14, our top-24 is not too surprising. Other than the two 2023 articles in second and 22nd place, 21 of the 22 articles published before 2023 were part of our top-50 most visited articles of 2022, with the one exception being the 23rd place article, an October 2022 leaflet on Japan’s Chinese Dragon Gang. The story of our first quarter has been an increase in the strength of articles about video games and anime, which took five of the top 13 spots in the ranking and two of the top three (2nd, 3rd, 7th, 11th, and 13th). My February post on Fire Emblem Engage came fairly close to over-taking the usual number one, my tsuki ga kirei article, but likely needed another week or two tacked on to the end of the quarter to achieve the feat.

Looking ahead to April 2023

April 27 is our site’s birthday, and that is always a good time to think about how to make The New Leaf Journal better. While the Bing blacklisting has been a problem, we have held up decently well despite losing a solid 20-25 percent of our usual referrals. This has taught me, a person who regularly promotes feeds and other means of controlling one’s online reading, that I need to do more to make The New Leaf Journal the type of site that people will want to save and visit regularly after finding one of our articles to use Google. How can we find more patrons (I use the word loosely since The New Leaf Journal is free like a New York City pigeon) for The Emu Café? First, I want to set up an external series hub to help people browse our article collections by topic. Second, I will work on finishing a reassessment of our tags (I am generally happy with our current category structure) to help navigation. Third, I want to find non-social media ways to expand our reach. Fourth, I have noticed a few occasions where our site is briefly down (I apologize if you have been a victim), so I will look into ensuring that our site is not only fast when it works (our Google Lighthouse marks are impressive, not to brag), but that it always works.