Hello, hello, everyone! I’m here with a couple big announcements about Mage in a Barrel today! I’m really excited about some of the changes I’ve been making around the blog and what it means for the future, so let’s dive right in!
Of course, it only seems right to kick off big news like this with some help from the site’s two long-time mascots, Maka Albarn and Chitoge Kirisaki.
Most Importantly, Thank You!
The honest, honest truth is that I wouldn’t have considered making any of these changes if I had not had the immense blessing of having a dedicated base of readers who read my stuff, talk to me in the comments, and otherwise make this whole project incredibly rewarding for me. I know blog stats are just numbers, but when I look at them and see 150,000 site views in 2014, over 20,000 views a month, and over 1000 total comments, I’m just blown away. I mean, really. All I’m doing is writing short essays on Japanese animation a few days a week and thousands of people come to read my stuff.
Like, how the heck does that happen? I struggle to wrap my mind around it. I really do. Is this what it’s like to be popular? I’ve never been popular before; I don’t know.
But, anyways, the point is that I am eternally grateful to everyone who reads and comments on my posts. There was a point during the last year where I started to feel like Mage in a Barrel had become something more than just a passion project or a way for me to catalogue my thoughts about a medium I love. Without me really even noticing, because it had happened so gradually, I began to feel that this blog was something I wanted to give to other people.
If you’ve talked to me much before or read the About page, you’ll know that I am a practicing Catholic and that my faith informs the way I think, interact with, and write about anime. It’s just part of the way I think and write. I can’t get rid of it. And, of course, that aspect of my life manifests itself in different ways on here, but the overriding and unifying fact of this anime blog project is that this isn’t something I want to or feel the need to separate from my faith. I don’t have to be a Catholic (whoalsowatchesjapanesecartoons). I can be a Catholic aniblogger, and writing about anime can be a way I reach out to other human beings and lift them up. This doesn’t mean I’m suddenly going to start turning every post on Mage in a Barrel into a sermon on Catholic theology as evident in anime. I don’t want to do that. I don’t think I need to do that.
Once again, the point here is that I’m thankful that I have the chance to do what I do here on Mage in a Barrel. This is an almost shockingly fulfilling project that I’ve been privileged to run for almost an entire year (February 10th will be my one year anniversary). For me, Mage in a Barrel is an extension of my faith in that here, on this little site, I get to direct people’s attention to the things I find beautiful, hopeful, and encouraging. Like I said earlier, this isn’t a pulpit for me to convert you all. It’s just a way to share good things with other people. To you readers, it may not matter that this blog about Japanese animation involves itself in my life as part of my faith. You might just be here for the cute moegirl pictures. That’s totally cool by me! I just think it’s for me necessary to acknowledge the role you play in making Mage in a Barrel such a special experience for me.
Now, on to the news! As you may or may not have already noticed, you are now viewing all of my content on mageinabarrel.com. Yes, that’s right, I spent actual money on this crazy project to preserve its place in internet posterity forever (or until the next time I have to pay for the domain name). While I considered moving to a self-hosted site, I just didn’t think the cost:reward ration was good enough to cover the monetary costs of paying for host and dealing with all the headaches I’ve heard come with site migration and ads and everything else.
Still, I want Mage in a Barrel to stick around for a while and, in the future, that may mean that I want to self-host. Having this custom domain now registered will ease that process should I choose to go that route later on. As far as the site goes, you won’t see any changes in content or appearance (except for one thing, which I’ll address in a bit). This is just a step towards making Mage in a Barrel a more permanent presence on the web.
Which brings me to another point. In just a few short months, I will be graduating from university with my undergraduate degree and (hopefully, please pray/cross your fingers/whatever for me) starting full-time employment in the working world. And I want, in whatever way this means, Mage in a Barrel to be a part of my adult life. Maybe it’s because I just won’t let go of a project and a medium that reminds me of childhood. Maybe it’s because I think it might look good on my resume (lol) someday. Whatever the case may be, it’s currently my intention to keep writing about anime for the foreseeable future. Even if I get a job where I write all day, I still want to do this. And, you know, now that I’ve shelled out the cash for a year’s worth of mageinabarrel.com, I guess I feel obligated to do so…
Updated About Section
This one isn’t so much of a big announcement as it is me just alerting you all to a change in a long-standing page. The About page for the blog has been bugging me for a long time as a semi-incoherent, rambling mess, and I’ve finally taken the time to clean it up, organize it, and make sure it really shows off what Mage in a Barrel is all about. I hope you’ll check it out!
This final announcement is the one I’m most nervous about making. Along with stoking my ego and ruining my SEO rankings, having a custom domain has opened up the possibility for me to monetize Mage in a Barrel with WordPress’ WordAds program. Unlike something along the lines of Google AdSense or Project Wonderful, which I’ve heard aren’t really worthwhile for smaller blogs, WordAds might actually give me the chance to accumulate a modest amount of money. Now, this isn’t really going to be a profitable venture for me, it’ll be more of a way for me to pay for the costs of running the blog. Beyond the custom domain, there are some behind the scenes updates and changes I want to make on Mage in a Barrel to both make it a better experience for my readers and more flexible to use for me. If WordAds turns out to be profitable enough for me to purchase more updates for the blog, that’s where I intend to use the money.
But it just seems weird to me to be making money off of a hobby. And what I fear is that monetizing the blog would change the way I think I think about the blog. If the “need” to write and write to make more money starts to take over, I think I’d abandon the experiment. And, more superficially, if the ads ruin the aesthetics of the site, I’ll drop them, too.
As of now, I haven’t fully committed to using WordAds, but I just wanted to alert you all that it might be coming. I’m also looking into the Amazon and RightStuf affiliate programs, but those would be far less intrusive and require more time to set up.
Well, this turned into a longer post than I had expected. To everyone who read to the end (or just skimmed the headings—I totally understand getting bored of my sickeningly sweet and totally self-indulgent thank you section), thanks a bunch. As I’ve said, this blog means a lot to me, and it means a lot to me that people come and read it.
If you have any feedback regarding post content, want to know something, or are just totally opposed to ads on the site, let me know in the comments below!