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First anniversary

First anniversary

by eyn on August 30, 2006 · 10 comments · AddThis

Channel-Ai Blog 1st Anniversary
eyn’s lame attempt to create a Web 2.0-ish logo for this anniversary

If you’ve been wondering why we had so many articles published on August 25th, and a few more after that, then hopefully this entry’s title will give you a better idea! This is our own unique way to commemorate a special day, the day when Channel-Ai Community Blog published its very first article exactly one year ago (a quite poorly written review compared to what we produce nowadays), Fukuyama Masaharu’s “Tokyo”, written by my good high school buddy Jason.

It’s been an amazing year, and I had a great time working with our team members. Without these awesome folks who spent their free time writing, in my opinion, some of the best J-Pop articles and reviews you can find around the web, Channel-Ai Community Blog wouldn’t be here today. It’s tough to keep a blog going, and I’ve seen many bloggers out there that have given up blogging half-way through due to lack of response of their work. Fortunately, working as a team and the support between team members holds us together through the hard times.

I’m not too sure how popular has this blog has become, but it’s definitely much more popular than when we first started. Many times I’ve wondered if this blog has became too focused on writing quality articles and reviews, and, as a result, lost its friendly touch and ruined the chance of any personal interaction with our readers that could be achieved through more casual writings. If there’s anything more you would like to see from this blog in the future, feel free to leave your ideas and suggestions here, and we will try our best to make this blog even better.

Since this is an anniversary post, I’ve decided to review the performance of each aspect of the site throughout the year, so consider this as a “review” of this site itself. :) I guess we Channel-Ai writers just can’t get away from either biographies and reviews eh? :P

 

Layout

current layout
Channel-Ai blog's current layout

Channel-Ai was first launched with WordPress 1.5’s default theme, Kubrick. Shortly after I figured how how to install themes and such, the Connections theme was put into use, and for quite a long time, too. When I first started this blog, I was a total noob when it came to WordPress and I didn’t have much expertise in customizing the blog to suit our needs. However, a lot has changed throughout this year, and now I’m even capable of writing my own WordPress plugins. I have certainly learnt a lot while trying to improve this blog in terms of functionality and design, and I’m very grateful and proud.

The current theme, Unsleepable, was installed in mid May 2006. It’s a very nice theme with great features like bottom block and tab-style navigation. It will probably be a while before a new theme takes over the blog, since it’s really hard to find a theme that impresses me. Maybe someday I’ll be capable and creative enough to code my own layout for this blog.

 

Multimedia

We’ve used various different web services to provide multimedia content on this site in the past, namely ImageShack, YouTube, and Flickr. However, recently we’ve gradually begun to host all media off our own server, simply because these services aren’t all that reliable. ImageShack might pull your images anytime (although it’s unlikely, but still). YouTube pretty much deleted our account due to copyright issues, and you never know, Flickr might do the same sort of thing someday. The quality of YouTube video also kind of sucks, so we’re switching to self hosted QuickTime movies, which are way better in quality and way faster than YouTube streaming. We have also begun offering iPod formatted videos for a few of the PVs we have embedded in our articles. Overall, YouTube just plain sucks, and although Flickr’s good, it’s not really scalable and organizing images using its web interface is a pain compared to organizing files and folders using FTP.

Filebrowser in action!
Filebrowser (modded) screenshot

So, our new image management solution is Lussumo Filebrowser. For those of you who are using WordPress and are not satisfied with WordPress’s default upload feature (like me), you might want to check out Filebrowser, a lightweight yet useful PHP application that we’re currently using to organize our images in separate folders.

A few WordPress plugins have also been used to make multimedia embedding as painless as possible. Currently we’re using QuickTime Embed, a plugin that I have written myself, and Audio Player, a popular plugin for embedding mp3s into your blog posts. I’ve also recently coded the Channel-Ai radio, which features all the songs covered in our blog so far. Each song has a link to their respective blog articles. Hopefully some of you will find this useful, and perhaps use it as an alternative way to “browse” our blog. :)

 

Popularity

A picture says a thousand words, so I think I’ll let the site visitor graph generated by StatCounter tell you the story of this blog’s growth throughout the year. Take note that those few early “spikes” represent my own personal visits during the early days when I was fixing some stuff in the blog. Without turning on the blocking cookies, all my own visits are logged, so forget about those if you want to get the general trend picture. :P

Channel-Ai Blog traffic graph
Channel-Ai Blog traffic from September 2, 2005 till August 28, 2006.

Amazingly, our rapid influx of new article posts for the anniversary celebration seems to have triggered a recent spike in the visitor count. So thanks to everyone who has visited our blog and those who are our frequent readers.

So far we have 223,407 page loads and 96,264 unique visitors. Last week, the average amount of unique visitors per day (throughout the week) was 720, while average daily page loads were about 1,830. Nothing phenomenal, but overall the figures are quite satisfying considering the fact that J-Pop blogs haven’t really bloomed on the internet yet. Many J-Pop lovers still rely on forums as their primary news source and on Wiki.ThePPN for artist information, and have consequently overlooked what the J-Pop blogosphere has to offer. :(

And here’s our FeedBurners reader graph. We have 29 subscribers on average, and 48% of them are subscribed via Firefox live bookmark.

Channel-Ai RSS feed subscriber traffic from March 11, 2006 till August 27, 2006.

Search engines have always been the largest referrer to this blog, and the most popular search query, quite surprisingly, is “1 Litre of Tears”, which explains why it is currently the most commented entry in this blog. “Ai Otsuka” and “Channel-Ai” are the 2nd and 3rd most popular search queries that bring people to Channel-Ai, respectively.

For some reason we are currently delisted when you search for “1 Litre of Tears” on Google, but on Yahoo we’re still on the top.

 

Comments

“1 Litre of Tears” remains our most commented blog article, with over 230 comments so far. It’s also our only blog entry about Japanese doramas at the moment. Everyone in our team, including Jason himself (he’s the author of that article), was very surprised by the amount of visitors and discussions this entry has attracted!

In the beginning, most comments were from our own team members as they posted feedback on each other’s entries, but as we’ve gained more regular readers and more random visitors referred by search engines, the comments have begun to flow in. This is very encouraging for our writers, since they can finally get feedback on their work. If you’ve been reading this blog but haven’t really “shown” yourself yet, please don’t hesitate to post your precious comments in those articles that interest you – because, honestly, that’s the most encouraging thing our writers can get from you readers (unless you want to donate some money, of course! :p).

Not too long ago, I added a “Subscribe to comments” feature that allows you to keep track of all follow-up comments easily. Don’t worry about getting spammed by these subscription emails – you are able to opt out at anytime by clicking on the “manage subscription” link in the email sent. And in case you’re wondering, we hate spam as much as you do, so we’ll never spam our dear readers. <3

I would also like to bring to light some underappreciated articles that have yet to attract much attention, i.e. they have zero comments so far. Maybe someone will find something interesting in these articles:

And here are some statistics for you before I end this section. We have 724 comments so far – that’s about 8.62 comments per post (we have published 84 articles), or 1.96 comments per day. Don’t be fooled by the average comment count though, most comments are actually posted in “1 Litre of Tears” review.

 

Writers

7 out of the 13 writers currently listed in the staff page (staff are listed chronologically) joined the blog team right at the beginning, while the other 6 joined some time between May and August 2006. It’s very fortunate that we have different writers covering different areas of J-Pop (and, recently, K-Pop), which you can easily see by checking the list of articles written by each writer so far. The most productive writer is Lainay, with 22 articles published to date, closely followed by Rinoa, with 19 articles. Leanne ranked 3rd, with 10 articles published. All 3 of them were among the first batch of writers recruited, so props to them for their relentless effort to produce informative and well written J-Pop articles for J-Pop lovers like you!

Here’s a short summary of our writers and the number of articles they have published to date (as of August 29):

eyn (4)
Jason (7)
Rinoa (19)
   
spellcheck (8)
Leanne (10)
Lainay (22)
Spyro (3)
Aprilis (3)
Lesca (1)
Tia-Kun (1)
Kikaru (1)
Tomba (4)
yukino (1)

Clicking on the avatar will bring you to each wacky author page. If you have any creative questions that you would like to appear on our author page, feel free to post them here and I’ll collect answers from each of the writers and update their pages accordingly!

 

Plugins

I’ve written 3 WordPress plugins throughout the summer, and all of them are made to simplify the task of managing this blog and to provide some extra functionality. Star Ratings for Reviews allow our authors to insert pretty rating stars that you’ve probably seen in all of our reviews. They also provide the overall score you can see beside each entry’s title. QuickTime Embed makes it easy to insert QuickTime movies using [qt:] tags and is completely XHTML compliant. The last plugin, MyCSS, is a plugin that’s invisible to you. It provides a handy interface for admins like me to insert custom CSS stuff that prettifies the site, such as those nifty description boxes for images, and special headings like the “Plugins” one you see above. If you’re a WordPress admin yourself, feel free to grab any of these plugins and make them work for you just like they have powered the Channel-Ai Community Blog so far!

 

Conclusion

I guess that’s pretty much it. I tried to cover different aspects of this site and hopefully you got to know the Channel-Ai Community Blog a little better after reading all of this. If there’s something more you would like to know, feel free to post your question here and I’ll see if I can add more information to this post. Hopefully none of you were bored by this entry. If that’s the case, I apologize for wasting your time on this “geek” stuff. Well, I can’t help it, can I? After all, I’m the “Geekmaster”, as crowned by our blog team members. :)

In conclusion, Happy Birthday to Channel-Ai! Hopefully this blog can survive the many years to come. You know, without readers like you, we would have given up on this site quite a while ago, so thank you for supporting us! Please post your comments and feedback whenever possible after reading each each article. If you like this blog, please share it with your friends too. The more readers we have, the more motivated our writers will be. Your comments and feedback are what push us forward. <3

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About the author

eyn is the geekmaster who spend his free time maintaining this blog, programming WordPress plugins and recruiting new writers who has a passion about J-Pop. His J-Pop goddess is Ai Otsuka but he also enjoys mihimaru GT, YUI and Jay Chou's music.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

keitaro September 17, 2006 at 4:27 pm

I wish you an happy birthday “channel-ai”.

I know this blog since may 2005 and it was always a pleasure to visit it.
eyn, you know that I am fan about your work and I like the energy that you offer to propose a lot of support for Jmusic fans (and specially to Ai fans).

I am sad to don’t be able to write with a very good english because it’ll be a pleaser to propose some of my opinions.

“Longue vie à Channel-ai, et merci”

Reply

snowbird GERMANY September 2, 2006 at 1:07 am

i just found about this site recently and after reading some articles i think this blog has to be the best english speaking j-pop (k-pop and more) source for quality reviews.
keep up the good work, and happy anniversary!

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and_etude UNITED STATES September 1, 2006 at 12:44 am

Happy aniversary XD I feel noobish compared to the other members. I have to say this blog opened up my eyesight to Jpop like no other sites have done and I’m very happy about that =D

Reply

Rinoa MALTA August 31, 2006 at 2:50 am

Outstanding article. Made me quite proud of being a member from Ch-Ai blog while reading all this. In the end it was thanks to this blog that I discovered a lot of artists and learnt so much about blogs. When I look back at my early articles I can see how much they’ve become sharper, more professional and so much better. If it wasn’t for this blog team I wouldn’t have discovered how interesting blogging can be and I’m really glad that I decided to join. At some low points in my life, blogging was an outlet for me to relax and to feel at ease.

Anyhow thanks geekmaster for your help and all your work. I do hope we’ll be there to see Ch-Ai evolve so much more in the next few years. And I look forward to the next batch of articles next year!

Reply

Aprilis CANADA August 31, 2006 at 2:41 am

It’s really amazing to see how much this blog had grown and developed in the past year. Congratulation to all McBloggers, give your selves a hand! *claps* And congrats to Channel-Ai blog, for making it to the one year mark!

Reply

Anna August 30, 2006 at 4:53 pm

Congratulations guys. Can’t wait to spend another year reading your articles and reviews! :)

Reply

Celsius005 UNITED STATES August 30, 2006 at 4:44 pm

Happy anniversary, McBloggers! I feel so horrible saying that I can’t share any such moments because, well, you know–(newbie to the forum the blog) (indubitable lack of understanding x my incapability of understanding) = the ultimate noob. Anyway, I would like to say that the McBlogteam is quite the organization! It kind of reminds me of Organization XIII from the Kingdom Hearts series.. in a certain, ridiculous sense… However, that is digressional, is it not?

I suppose the blog has evolved much since last year, and I too will be looking forward to another year of development. Thank you, eyn and the blog team for your dedication to enlighten the world with wonderful articles! I’m sorry to say that “No. 15″ will not be joining the party since he’s still struggling to learn, being the noob that he is. XP :appropriatelyplacedswingmymoodlikeadude:

By the way, your Web 2.0-ish logo isn’t lame. Indeed, pwned.

Reply

Lainay UNITED STATES August 30, 2006 at 10:59 am

Awesome article! <3

Ah, I got a little teary eyed at moments. *sniff* It’s been so amazing watching the blog grow to what it is today. It’s been a great experience. Thank you, TEH GEEKMASTER, for helping us get out of our n00b status to our 633|{ status!!!11!one!11. Teh Geekmaster > all. :pwned:

Looking forward to another year of McBlogteam articles! *pose* (too bad I’ve already covered most of the old H!P groups o_p Maybe I shall branch out of H!P for the blog? .. nah!)

Reply

joey UNITED STATES August 30, 2006 at 8:39 am

you are my first stop every morning. I love the site and all the reviews are well written and through. Thank you for you hard work. You are all appreciated. Keep it up

Thank You Again
Joey

Reply

yukino UNITED STATES August 30, 2006 at 5:11 am

Thanks for this wonderful article, eyn!

Since its birth almost exactly a year ago, this blog has undergone an amazing amount of improvement, and this is reflected in the quality articles being produced almost nonstop by our members. Everyone has made a lot of progress with their writing skills (yes, you too, eyn) and I’m proud to be a member of this team :>. Long live the McBloggers!

Reply

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