Shared Bits 5-Year Anniversary

Updated on 2024-04-09


01 – Overview

Five years ago I began my blogging journey. The average life of a blog isn’t very long, so I’ve reached an admirable milestone. Blogging has kept me busy, given me something productive to do, and has been a very rewarding experience.

Unique visitor count was on a nice upward trajectory the first few months, but then fell over the summer. Hopefully the unique visitor count will pick back up again. Average unique visitor count for the year was 1,119.

I’ve now published a total of 68 posts, including this post.

I didn’t create many new posts this year for a number of reasons. One reason was that I spent time doing major updates to a few existing posts. I’m actually still working on a major update to an existing post that I began last year. The other reasons will be covered below.

02 – First Attempt to Create a LLC – Fail

One of the main purposes of starting my blog was to hopefully be able to generate some revenue for my efforts. However, I would need to form a business to satisfy local, state, and federal statutes. I decided to form a limited liability company (LLC).

My wife and I finally received our income tax refund on 09/20/2022. I began the process of setting up a LLC on 09/25/2022 through ZenBusiness. The price to setup a LLC ended up costing more than I initially planned. I paid $199 to have ZenBusiness act as my registered agent and $100 for a filing fee with my state. When I looked up the price to start an LLC on the ZenBusiness site earlier in the year in 2022, the site quoted a price of $149. $299 versus $149 is quite a difference.

I then read the email receipt I received and discovered that I was charged $199 for a Pro Plan and that the $199 registration agent was pending. Therefore, I was looking at a total cost of $498 to form a LLC. I couldn’t afford that, so I sent an email requesting that the Pro Plan be cancelled.

I decided to check the Better Business Bureau site to see what kind of rating and complaints ZenBusiness had. On 09/25/2022, ZenBusiness had a B rating with the Better Business Bureau and quite a number of complaints over the last 3 years. Great, I gave my credit card info to a shady company.

On 09/26/2022, I decided to research what the filing fee was in my state for setting up a LLC. The filing fee was the same that ZenBusiness charged me. I also spent some time performing additional research on setting up a LLC in my state and discovered there were other hoops to jump through that weren’t mentioned on the ZenBusiness site. At that point, I began losing interest in setting up a LLC.

I received a response on 09/26/2022 to my email request to cancel the Pro Plan. I was told that all plans come with a business formation cost; basically you didn’t have the option of removing the business formation cost. There were different tiers, but I wasn’t interested in any of them.

I sent an email requesting that my order be cancelled, but I remembered reading about the need to call to cancel your account. Therefore, I decided to place a call to ZenBusiness. Based on what I read on the Better Business Bureau site, I expected an exercise in futility. To my surprise and relief, the customer service representative I spoke with processed the refund without issue.

03 – Second Attempt to Create a LLC – Success

After thinking things over and doing more research on 09/30/2022, I decided to continue pursuing starting a LLC for the immediate purpose of generating ad revenue for my blog. Both my state and local government sites have well documented details on starting a business. I documented the state requirements for starting a LLC, as well as the local requirements for starting a home business.

My total out-of-pocket costs would be $200 to start a LLC, with an annual $50 fee to maintain my LLC status with the state. I would potentially owe federal self-employment taxes if my ad revenue exceeds $400 and I would also owe an annual local business tax if my LLC generates over $10,000 in revenue, which I don’t envision ever happening. However, I did discover that I would have to pay a local personal property tax for all assets used for business purposes.

On 10/12/2022. my LLC became official. I submitted the paperwork to my state to establish my LLC on 10/07/2022, so the turnaround was very quick.

On 10/14/2022, I received an EIN (employer identification number) from the IRS for my LLC.

On 01/03/2023, I received a permit to operate a home-based business from my county. I thought it was a bit ridiculous to have to go through the process to obtain a permit to run a blog from my home, as well as pay a $100 administrative fee, but I was told I was required to obtain the permit.

On 02/11/2023, I received a business license from my county. The business license took the longest to obtain; approximately 6 weeks.

Now that I had everything I needed to start my LLC, I decided to open up a bank account for my LLC on 02/15/2023.

04 – Spreadsheets to Databases

I finally made time to learn enough about LibreOffice Base to begin converting some of my spreadsheets to databases. Some of the spreadsheets were becoming very tedious to maintain because of the amount of data they contained. One of those spreadsheets contained my blog analytics. I still need to convert a few more of my spreadsheets to database format.

I know just enough about LibreOffice base to create functional databases. I still need to learn about queries and reports though. I also eventually hope to learn how to transfer some of my LibreOffice Base files to an Android database app on my smartphone.

05 – Washing Machine Died

In December 2022, our washing machine died, necessitating the need to wash clothes by hand until our new washer arrived. We didn’t receive the washing machine until January 2023.

I washed underwear, T-shirts, sheets, and pillowcases by hand. I had to buy a drying rack to dry the clothing, sheets, and pillowcases enough before placing them in the dryer. It was a lot of work washing clothing, sheets, and pillowcases by hand and not something I ever want to have to do again.

06 – Still No Revenue

After establishing my LLC, it was time to seek an ad provider in an attempt to generate some revenue for my blogging efforts. I spent quite a bit of time researching potential ad providers and I even tried out a few. As of the date of this post unfortunately, I’ve not succeeded at finding an ad provider that is interested in serving ads on my blog and one that I desire to do so. You can read more about my experience in this post.

07 – WordPress – Plugin Issue and Changes; Began Using CDN

On 04/22/2023 I encountered a really ugly bug in the Restricted Site Access plugin on my sandbox site while attempting to update an existing post. Editing the post in code editor format resulted in numerous, stray HTML tags getting automatically added throughout the post. After a bit of research, I settled on trying out the Force Login plugin and I deactivated the Restricted Site Access and Restricted Notifier plugins and the problem went away.

The Force Login plugin is a better option in my opinion to restrict access to a sandbox or development WordPress site. The general public just gets a login screen when they attempt to access the site and now I have one less plugin on my sandbox site.

On 04/28/2023, I decided to replace the WP Fastest Cache plugin with the FlyingPress plugin and I also decided to begin using FlyingCDN.

08 – Another Site?

In early July 2023, I came up with the idea of creating a site containing quotes that I’ve collected since 2005. I began creating draft posts in my Emacs Org Mode blog manager database. However, while researching different things for my quotes site, I came across a number of other sites dedicated to quotes. I might have some quotes that do not exist on other sites, but I have a lot of quotes that exist on other quote sites. Therefore, after about 1-1.5 weeks, I decided to not create the quotes site.

All was not lost however. I came up with ideas that led to updates to the About page on my blog while working on the About page on the quotes site. I also discovered that I needed to come up with a different image file naming method because my current image file name format did not reference the site that the images belong to. So, I’ve began prepending my image file names with the site name; e.g. shared–bits_remainder–of–image–filename.ext.

09 – Continue to Battle Health Issues

I continued to battle health issues this year, necessitating quite a bit of research and reading.

I began sitting on the couch in the living room in December 2022 to watch YouTube videos before either bathing before going to bed or before getting ready for bed. I noticed that I sunk into the cushion on the couch. I’m not sure if the cushions have always been that way or if they’re shot. I ended up putting a piece of martial art mat underneath the cushion and that seemed to help some.

Evidently, using the martial art mat underneath the couch cushion wasn’t enough because by January 2023, I began experiencing nasty pains in the lower outside of my right buttock. A couple of weeks later, I began experiencing pains in my left greater trochanter area. Evidently, sitting on surfaces that sink must be one of the causes of greater trochanteric pain syndrome (GTPS) because I had a nasty GTPS flareup in 2020 to which I attributed to possibly sitting on cushions on a sleeper sofa that sunk too low.

Also in January 2023, I experienced my third kidney stone and the second in less than 4 years.

I was awakened while sleeping with thoracic spine pain on 07/22/2023. I kind of thought this would happen due to slightly twisting my spine while sleeping on my left side in what I call the modified starfish position. I tried a number of alternative sleep options, but none of them worked. Therefore, I began sleeping on my left side and that turned out to be a mistake. GTPS pain returned in my left greater trochanter area in August 2023.

I tried another option in an attempt to alleviate pressure on my left greater trochanter area, but the option didn’t work well. I then began laying on my back, slightly angled to the left or right. So far the new sleep position is working, but I’m concerned about the possible long term implications of sleeping on my back due to my having degenerative disc disease.

On 07/24/2023, I began experiencing pain in the middle of the outside edge of my right foot when sleeping on my right side. A little bit of Internet research indicated the pain was probably peroneal tendonitis. However, I wasn’t doing any of the things that research indicated might cause the condition.

I began sleeping with socks on years ago, even during the summer, because my feet getting cold resulted in painful foot cramps. I have been wearing calf-length wool socks for almost 3 years and I began having bad cramps in my calves. I thought maybe the elastic band at the top of the socks might be the cause of the calf cramps, so I began rolling the socks down halfway. Now with the peroneal tendonitis issue, I once again thought the elastic band at the top of the socks might be the cause of the issue, although I wasn’t having an issue with my left foot. I began sleeping without socks in August 2023 and the pain in the middle outside of my right foot went away.

About a week or two later, I began experiencing peroneal tendonitis in my left foot. I discovered that crossing my feet while sitting was an additional cause of peroneal tendonitis for me.

10 – Conclusion

I look forward to another 5 years of blogging. Hopefully, I’ll be able to start generating some revenue next year. Even if I’m not able to generate some revenue for my blogging efforts, I plan to continue blogging as long as I am able to afford the hosting costs.

Leave your comments and questions in the Comment box at the bottom of the page. Thank you for visiting.

Post header image courtesy of AgulaR on Pixabay.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *