2020... What an interesting year it has been.
A lot has happened this year, for both the world, as well as for Luro.io. The primary aspect of it is the global pandemic that has changed everyday life as we know it.
However, this post is about how 2020 went for Luro.io and what I have planned for Luro.io in 2021.
Get ready for a wall of text!
When I initially created Luro.io, I wanted to avoid putting advertisements on the blog. However, after a few months, the cost to run the website was far outweighing what I was bringing in through affiliate links and direct donations.
So, I decided, against my personal opinion of advertisements, to put banner ads on Luro.io. I instantly regretted it. Not only did it not bring in a decent income, it made Luro.io look cluttered. I was not too fond of it, and within a week, I removed all banner ads from Luro.io and set my foot down on making sure it stays advertisement-free.
Since then, Luro.io has been advertisement-free and will continue to stay that way.
When I started Luro.io, I initially used Google Analytics to track visitors. Using Google Analytics on Luro.io injected multiple trackers, and it just made me feel uneasy.
In my personal life, online-privacy is rather important to me. I avoid using Google products when I can, I use ad-blockers and tracking-blockers on all of my browsers, and I try to use privacy-focused products and services.
Essentially, using Google Analytics on my website was going against my morals of online-privacy, so I started to look for alternatives. This was when I came across Fathom Analytics. Fathom Analytics is a privacy-focused website analytic service that respects website visitors' privacy.
It is cookie-free, and it only tracks the necessary information for the website owner. Fathom lets me see the total number of site views and unique views on each page of Luro.io, browser used, what type of device (Desktop, Mobile, etc.), and what country the view is coming from.
It is limited compared to Google Analytics, but I have the peace of mind knowing that I am not giving your information to one of the worst tech giants in the world when it comes to your privacy.
Throughout 2020, Luro.io has had multiple designs. I believe the total number was three, but I could be wrong!
When it comes to website designs, I can be rather... difficult.
That is how Luro.io ended up with multiple designs. However, each design change pushed me towards the goal of what I want Luro.io to be.
An article-focused, no-nonsense Gaming Journalism blog free of visual clutter.
I wanted a minimalistic design that would offer speed and a decent user experience.
I decided to limit the number of images shown on the homepage and tag pages. This limited number of images helps increase the load speed of Luro.io while also saving on bandwidth usage for my readers.
The design also focuses more on the text of an article. On the article's page, you have the article itself, the included images, a little "support us" footer, the author, and some recommended reads. Nothing will ever fill in the sides of the page. I was shooting for a clean and clutter-free design, and I believe that I have achieved that.
You can expect the overall design to stay, with minor changes in the future to help better your user experience.
Initially, when I created Luro.io, I wanted it to have comments. However, after having comments on the blog for close to a year, I decided to remove them.
Comments were rarely bringing anything valuable to the articles I was writing for Luro.io. Many just used the comment section to complain or spam, without bringing anything constructive to the conversation.
With the low amount of readers for Luro.io, I ultimately decided to remove comments. This will be something I look back at in the future, but comments will stay removed for the time being. If you are interested in discussing Cloud Gaming, you can join our Telegram conversation groups by visiting the Join the Discussion page.
Luro.io is growing. Since I added Fathom Analytics to the site on September 15th, from then until now, Luro.io has had over 10,000 unique viewers and over 15,100 total site views.
In a three and a half month period, that is about 2,800 unique views and 4,300 site views per month. And the best part is that Luro.io is still growing!
If you are interested in seeing the traffic analytics for Luro.io, we have made the dashboard public for all to see. Feel free to view our public analytics dashboard if you are interested!
32 Followers on Twitter
Twitter is the social media platform we use. In 2020, we went from 0 to 32 followers. It may not seem like a large number to some, but the fact that people are willing to follow and check out the news we write about is just astonishing!
To all those that followed us on Twitter this year, you are awesome :).
If you are interested in following Luro.io on Twitter, you can head over to our Twitter Page.
I am going to be honest. Luro.io is not making money. The lack of income will not change my decision of keeping it advertisement-free. The lack of income will not prevent me from running Luro.io.
Here are some numbers to show how much Luro.io cost this year to maintain and how much it made.
Cost to run
Hosting Costs: $345.17
Email Costs: $226.53
Software Costs: $77.01
Hosting costs include everything used to make the Luro.io run. This includes VPS Hosting fees, Analytics service fees, CDN fees, Domain fees, etc.
Amazon Affiliates: $6.88
Luro.io Subscriptions: $0.00
Skimlinks Affiliates: $0.00
Brave Creator's BAT tokens: 0.71 BAT ($0.15)
Just some numbers for you if you are interested.
2021 and Beyond
With only a few days left in 2021, it is time to start thinking about what I plan to do in 2021.
If you are one of my followers on Twitter or have seen a recent Tweet of mine, you may know that my primary goal for 2021 is to make Luro.io completely tracker free and remove all non-essential cookies.
Removing Cookies and Trackers
By default, Luro.io only has two third-party functional cookies on load. These are the cookies placed into your browser on behalf of Stripe, the payment gateway system we use for our membership subscriptions, for fraud detection.
Other than the Stripe cookies, another cookie will be saved to your browser when you agree to our Cookie Banner. This cookie tells our website that you have already read the banner, and it will not display the banner on your next visit. Lastly, the main cookie that Luro.io has is the members' cookie. If you sign up for our subscription service to help support us, a membership cookie will be added to your session to remember your login each time you visit Luro.io.
Outside of the cookies that our website uses, we have third-party, non-essential cookies that are byproducts of embedding content on our site. This embedded content embeds trackers and cookies into your browser when you navigate to an article that has them. The embedded content is usually YouTube or Twitter.
This is not ideal, and ultimately, it is invasive, and I am a little mad at myself for allowing it in the first place...
That is why, for 2021, I will be going through each article on Luro.io and removing all embeds. The upside to this is that third-party trackers and cookies will be removed from Luro.io. The downside is that it may affect the user experience when viewing videos on our website.
To help remedy this, I am working on making sure User Experience is affected most minimally. I am also looking into self-hosting videos. However, this will likely have to wait until Luro.io becomes more popular or Luro.io starts bringing in a little more income.
When I first started Luro.io, I did a few benchmarking videos for the Cloud Gaming platform, Shadow. Unfortunately, due to more responsibilities in my daily life, I no longer had the time to benchmark games.
My goal is to change this in 2021 and start doing benchmark videos again. However, I want to do even better. I will be looking into benchmarking and comparing all cloud gaming platforms, including all three Shadow Tiers, Google Stadia, NVIDIA GeForce Now, Microsoft's Project xCloud, and more.
Stay tuned :).
More focus on Cloud Gaming News
Luro.io is a Cloud Gaming News blog. That will never change. However, Cloud Gaming includes PC gaming as well. With Luro.io not being my full-time job, I can sometimes run out of time in the day to write articles and research news.
I am hoping to change this in 2021. I will be focusing more on making sure Cloud Gaming news is always up to date and write essential PC Gaming news that pertains to Cloud Gaming. You may start noticing a trend in the type of articles that I write.
Of course, the more time I have to write for Luro.io, the more types of articles you will begin to see!
One thing I have always wanted to do since the beginning of Luro.io is giveaways. Giveaways are an excellent way for me to engage my readers while also increasing interest in Luro.io. You can expect to start seeing giveaways here and there, so keep an eye out on Luro.io and our Twitter account :).
There are a bunch of things that I would like to do in 2021. But, I do not want to over-promise! If time permits, you can expect to see some cool things for Luro.io in 2021.
I love running Luro.io. It has been an exciting journey so far. It is now nearing the year and a half mark since I started Luro.io, and I look forward to the many years to come!
If you like Luro.io and want to support it, you can always share articles on social media, with your friends and family, and anyone else you can think of!
Thank you for reading Luro.io, and I am looking forward to 2021 and what news I will be writing about in the Cloud Gaming world :).
Time to sign off for the day.