Site News: Mage in a Barrel Updates

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.

Soul Eater

“Thanks for stopping by!”

Nisekoi

“I-it’s not like I’m glad you visit or anything…”

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.

Hanamonogatari

Custom Domain

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…

Toradora!

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!

Potential Monetization

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.

One Week Friends

Concluding Thoughts

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!

27 thoughts on “Site News: Mage in a Barrel Updates

  1. Congratulations!

    I believe I’m not the only readers that frequent your site daily and waiting for updates. It has already become part of the daily habits.

    In general, I support the changes that you plan to make. Change is good, and constantly evolving is needed to keep up with the fast-paced (anime) world.

    Regarding to monetisation, I think it’s important to take it into consideration. Monetisation through ads is definitely one of the least harmful ways to do it. Actually it’s kinda the best for both the content creators and readers (as long as the ads aren’t offensive or intruding).

    Personally, I do not mind content creators to accumulate some wealth to maintain and improve their sites. Anyone with any sense would genuinely accept the “money for service” concept (though we aren’t actually paying anything >.>).

    If you felt like you would fell into the “hobby becomes work” hole then you could always revert back to how you have always done things. Though I doubt money could really sway a true passion.

    Thank you for your posts and may there are more to come!

    (Also, where is that starry night picture from? Does view like that really exists in Japan? The stars-stream really exist? I’ve never seen a night sky like this even though I live in Southeast-Asia.)

    Like

    • Wow, part of the daily habits? That’s a huge compliment! Thank you!

      As far as the “hobby becomes work” thing goes, I think I’ll be fine. I don’t get so much traffic that I’m going to end up with huge amounts of cash flowing in, so I doubt there will really be a ton of money available to tempt me. But, as you said, if it become a problem, I can always revert back—and I plan to do so.

      (To confirm the comments below, the starry night picture is indeed from One Week Friends/Isshuukan Friends, episode 8.)

      Like

  2. Congratulations Iblessal! Best of luck in your endeavors.

    Clarity, the starry sky is a fanciful depiction of the Milky Way (Our home galaxy). It generally takes long exposure photography to get such dramatic tones and colors, but if you are away from the city, you should be able to see it on clear nights 🙂
    Here is a photo of the Milky Way over Japan.

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      • Yes 🙂 If you are far enough away from City Lights. I was in Los Angeles the night of the Northridge Earthquake. After the shaking, I went outside to check on neighbors, and with all the city’s lights out on a clear January night, the Milky way took my breath away!

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    • Thank you! I really appreciated having you around in the comments section during the Toradora! run of posts. I’m glad to see you’ve decided to stick around after those, too! 😛

      Like

  3. It’s probably coincidence… But in Japan, what we call the Milky Way is known as the “River of Heaven”.

    I’m looking forward to sharing this barrel and floating down this river, exploring the world of anime for a long time to come.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congrats on all the traffic and the new site domain! I also hope your transition into working life is smooth and relatively stress-free. I’m also perfectly okay with ads as long as they’re not pop-ups.

    To be honest, I’ve been a little worried about whether you can keep up your pace even when you’re really busy. You’re one of the most prolific bloggers I follow, but I understand how time-consuming it is not only to write posts for your own blog but also to review stuff for other websites. If it ever gets a bit much for you, it’s okay to dial back, you know? Your blog will always be there when you get back.

    In the meantime, take care and good luck with your job applications!

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    • Thanks, Froggy! I’ve been very grateful to get to know you over these past months via your own blog, your comments here, and Twitter.

      I guess I don’t even consider myself that prolific. Except for December. December was insane. In all honest, I think this blog is more of priority for me than other websites, if only because I can do things here I can’t do elsewhere. I’ll never be able to do long, rambling theme posts or cinematographic breakdowns elsewhere (at least, not right now). But I definitely hear your advice. So far I’ve never been insanely busy so as to affect my blogging output or make blogging a stressful endeavor, but who knows where my life will go in the future!

      In any case, I don’t have any intentions to change my processes as of now—I more or less won this weekend with great productivity, hanging out with friends, and sleeping well, so if there’s a lesson to be learned, I haven’t learned it yet! I really do love what I do, so I intend to defend that as long as I can!

      Like

  5. You have my support if you need to put up ads! Hopefully anime / manga related ! Heck CR should give you a few $$. Anyway I hope you can do more reviews / thoughts and even gives anime polls

    So Good luck!

    Like

    • Unfortunately, with the ads I’m using I can’t pick categories, so I kind of just have to take what WordPress gives me. If the blog continues to grow, though, I might look at self-hosting so I can start using ads that are more related to my target audience.

      That’ll just be a little ways on in the future. ^_^

      Thanks for the support and the well-wishes! Hope to see you around!

      Like

  6. I’m joining in the well wishes as well, although a bit late. I only discover this blog recently and I like what I’m reading, so keep on doing the good work. I’ll try to comment here more often too.

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    • Thanks, Marow! (By the way, it’s really good to see you back online. :))

      WordAds does have a minimum traffic requirement, but I was approved in less than 24 hours for the program, so I guess I do have enough views! I don’t know where the cutoff is, though, so I could have been just barely over it and not known…

      I won’t see any reports on earnings for 2-3 weeks, so until then I’m kind of just crossing my fingers and hoping it works decently.

      Like

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