Estimated reading time: 8 minute(s)

Because I had one final October article to publish on Halloween, our October month in review comes with the first day of November. October marked the most successful month for The New Leaf Journal in terms of drawing visitors, surpassing September. Below, I will review the month that was in new site developments and content at The New Leaf Journal. I will then preview some things that you should look forward to for The New Leaf Journal in November.

A somewhat blurry picture of a squirrel on a pipe taken in Cobble Hill Brooklyn and purposed for the October 2020 New Leaf Journal month in review.
I took this picture with my KODAK Digital Still Camera. Sadly, in my rush to catch the squirrel before it left its spot, I did not get my camera to focus correctly. Missed it by that much. Valiantly edited by Victor V. Gurbo.

New Leaf Journal Site Developments in October 2020

While I did not accomplish every task that I described in the September month in review post, I checked off the most important tasks while adding a few additional things to The New Leaf Journal universe.

Removing Third Party Trackers

I managed to remove the Pinterest tracking script that had been haunting the homepage of our site since late September. With that, our website appears to be free of third-party trackers except for a couple of older posts with embedded Facebook in Vimeo videos.As I will discuss in our looking forward section, we are working on new solutions for handling embeds. In October, I implemented privacy-friendly and aesthetic OpenStreetMap embeds in two articles.

Local Asset Hosting

We began hosting Google Fonts locally. This was something I had been looking to do for a long while. You can read about this change in my article on the subject. In an additional change that I did not cover in an article, we began hosting author profile pictures locally instead of drawing them from an external source.

The New Leaf Journal Enters the Fediverse

I noted in September that we were looking to create a page for The New Leaf Journal on the MeWe social network. Because Victor has been quite busy this month, we were not able to finish setting up everything for the MeWe page. In the meantime, however, I added two alternative social media sites to The New Leaf Journal’s growing online profile.

First, I added a Mastodon page for The New Leaf Journal. Mastodon has the look and feel of Twitter, but is part of the decentralized “Fediverse.” Despite Mastodon’s appealing user-interface, I do not think that it will prove to be especially useful for The New Leaf Journal, but I will update it with new content a few times each week. If you are interested in trying this Twitter alternative yourself, you can sign up with this link and automatically follow my New Leaf Journal account upon joining the network.

Second, I added a Pixelfed page for The New Leaf Journal. Pixelfed has the look and feel of Instagram and, like Mastodon, is part of the decentralized Fediverse. I am substantially more impressed with Pixelfed than Mastodon – aside from its hidden upload limits – and have found some good content on site (other than our own, of course). We have received a few visits from Pixelfed already. If you are interested in following us, seeing some interesting photography, and uploading your own photo content on a niche and privacy friendly website, you can sign up for an account at pixelfed.social.

Progress in Search Engines

While we still have a long way to go, I can report that we are finally starting to see some consistent traffic from search engine referrals. You can learn a little bit more about our search engine indexing strategy in my article on using the Yandex webmaster portal.

Best New Leaf Journal Content from October 2020

Below, I will cover some of our best content from October.

I. Halloween Content

I acquired a new physical camera and a new camera application for my phone just as Halloween was approaching. Since the stars aligned, I published several articles on Halloween decorations seen around brownstone Brooklyn.

The series began with an inflatable happy Halloween ghost seen in Brooklyn Heights, wherein I compared it favorably to distasteful Halloween decorations seen in the area that would not be amenable to publication on a family website. I followed this content up with articles on a pumpkin in a mask (our second most-read article published in October), a Halloween spider family, economical Halloween scarecrows, and yet another Halloween ghost. Each article contains some additional thoughts on the merits of different kinds of Halloween decorations.

If there are any stop sign fans in our audience, one might find my expose on two downed stop signs in Brooklyn Heights to be a sort of Halloween tale.

Finally, for those of you who still have a Halloween itch, you can read my review of “Bad End,” a horror video game in the form of a visual novel that is available for PC, Android, and iOS devices.

II. Our Most Popular October-Published Article

While my May article on the last stand of the last Byzantine Emperor, Constantine XI, claimed the top article spot in October, our most viewed article published in October is my piece on setting up SoloKeys with my laptop, which runs Linux Peppermint OS. This article owes its standing to achieving minor success on Twitter after it was shared by the official SoloKeys account.

III. The Winds of New Beginnings: Pokémon Gold and Silver at 20

I celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the release of Pokémon Gold and Silver with an in-depth article on the thematic significance of the slogan for the game’s opening town in the context of children playing it after having played the original adventure. The next day, I published a piece explaining how the slogan had a small influence on the slogan for The New Leaf Journal.

IV. Victor V. Gurbo Makes a Video Game

In his October article, Victor introduced his RPG Maker MV video game design project – Jingzi Jingzi. In that article, he jokingly (I hope) accused me of running The New Leaf Journal like a dictator. I responded with a story from our high school newspaper days showing who the real tyrant is. One week later, I published an update on Victor’s game project after testing a new demo. While we hoped to have a demo ready at the end of October, we are pushing that back in order for Victor to have time to make some revisions and for us to set up a distribution plan. Having played the most recent demo, however, I can assure you that Jingzi Jingzi is coming along nicely.

Animal Crossing fans may enjoy Victor’s ingeniously single-minded strategy guide for making money in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which he composed in response to a humorous post in our Guestbook.

V. Vocabulary Adventures

For our second article of the month, I went where The New Leaf Journal had never gone before: fashion. In my post examining autumn dress trends from 1850, I took the time to carefully define every potentially unfamiliar term from the Harper’s Magazine expose from 170 years ago. In addition to the pictures and definitions, this was the longest article published at The New Leaf Journal behind an article on Benjamin Harrison from July.

Exactly three weeks after the autumn dress fashion update, I published an article examining the unusual word “whyever” after encountering it in the classic visual novel, chapter 7 of Higurashi When They Cry. While some may ask why I would do such a thing, I asked whyever would I not?

VI. On the Nature of Heroism

With little in the way of introduction, I began a new series here at The New Leaf Journal with “Justin & Justina 〜 The Dangers of Heroism.” The article consisted of a fictional dialogue between two fictional friends after one friend was injured while pondering one of his own heroic deeds. Justin & Justina will be a continuing series at The New Leaf Journal, so if you enjoy the first article, you can look forward to more in the weeks ahead.

Not content to rest with writing about the heroic deeds of others, I discussed my own heroic rescuing of a fallen trash can. In that content, I explain why it is not only important to do good deeds, but also to tell every single person you know about how amazing you are.

VII. See More

Lest this turns into a list of every article we published in October, I will note that we published several other articles that I hope are worth your while. You can see our full list of October content in our monthly archive.

Looking Forward to November 2020

While we did not complete all the goals I had established for October in the September review post, I made some important site improvements. Below, I will list my site goals for November.

Maintain Article Publication Tempo

In October, I generally stuck to my goal of publishing five articles per week. Having a couple of days off gave me time to make some general site improvements that I did not have time for in September. Since this strategy worked well in October, I will look to maintain it for November.

Progress on the Jingzi Jingzi Project

Victor and I will work on offering more information about Victor’s original video game design project, Jingzi Jingzi. In addition to updates, we will provide information on how readers will be able to download a copy of the first demo version of Jingzi Jungzi when it is ready for release. You can expect to find our first new update in early-to-mid-November.

Create MeWe Page

I have promised that we would create a MeWe profile for The New Leaf Journal for a while now. Although I did not complete the process in October, I did complete my own profile and undertake research on how best to use the platform. We look forward to introducing our MeWe page in the first half of November when I will explain what the platform may offer some users as an alternative to Facebook.

Create Social Media Hub Page

After we introduce our MeWe page, I will create a new hub page for all of our social media profiles and make it available from the site header. From there, visitors will be able to survey our social media presence and follow us on any platforms where they have accounts.

Choose a New Video Platform for Handling Embeds

I will work with Victor to choose a new solution for embedding video content here at The New Leaf Journal. Once that is ready, I will provide information about it on site.

Revive the Newsletter

After I had a formatting issue in one edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal, I put the newsletter on ice until I could figure out a way to ensure that it would be formatted correctly. While I put that task on hold in October to clear time for higher priority tasks, I look forward to bringing the newsletter back for the second or third Sunday of November. In so doing, I will update our newsletter home page with new information about the delivery schedule.

Update the About The New Leaf Journal Page

I will update the About page for The New Leaf Journal to ensure that it is up to date.

Add Specific Related Article Links to Older Content

I will sift through our older content and add specific cross-links to help readers better navigate our site. In so doing, I may implement “last updates” dates on our older articles along with guidelines on how we handle content updates.

Possible Addition: Site Logo

One of the longest in-progress projects at The New Leaf Journal is the creation of a site logo. The logo is perhaps a more likely December project, but we may work on finishing it early if we have enough time after completing other tasks.

Possible Addition: Cookie Assessment and Policy Page

At some point, I will work on creating a full legal page for The New Leaf Journal. As part of that process, I will assess the cookies we have on site. Similarly to the Pinterest tracker issue, both of these steps will require research. While they will more likely than not be left for December, I may be able to complete them assuming higher priority November tasks go smoothly.

Parting Shots

Thank you, as always, for following The New Leaf Journal. September and October were, in succession, our most successful months yet. By continuing to publish new content and provide useful internal links to older content, we hope to gradually attract new visitors. If you enjoy our content, we encourage you to offer your thoughts in our still-lightly-used Guestbook, bookmark our site, consider our newsletters, and tell your friends and family about your favorite articles.

Above all, we hope to publish content that is worth your while in what promises to be an eventful November 2020.