RavenGarcia.com is 1 year old today!!!
“Oh yeah, shake it budgies!!”
I thought I’d never make it. I’ve had numerous accounts with those free blogging websites over the years (LiveJournal, blogspot, etc), and after a couple of months my interest in updating them regularly seems to wane somewhat. So I have surprised even myself by keeping this going this long. And I have no plans on slowing down.
The Story So Far
I started this site in the same vein as the previous journal-type blogs I have kept over the years, but a combination of it being my own site and learning the basics of WordPress gave me a lot more freedom to do what I wanted to with it. The journal-type posts quickly evolved to incorporate the Top 10 lists, various reviews and generally anything else I thought people would be interested in reading. I was even able to post my India write-up, something that had previously been too large for some of the free sites.
Eventually I started to receive offers for paid reviews and earned a bit of money from the site. I understand these reviews don’t make for particularly entertaining reading, but I’m working on that. Within the next few weeks I will be setting up my second website which will be about eating and drinking in London (More on that below). This will be the first of 2 new websites I plan to set up this year, and my long-term plan is to gravitate the paid reviews onto those two sites and away from this one which I consider to be my personal site. I will continue to do them here for the time being though, just to cover the costs of running the site and maybe afford an extra beer now and then.
RavenGarcia.com has had over 20,000 visitors in its first year, which I’m told is not a bad figure for what was essentially not much different from the average LiveJournal during its first four months. I was told that in order to be financially successful in the world of online journalism one needs a “niche”, that is, a very specific topic which you can corner the online market in being the world’s leading authority on. A friend of mine, for example, runs a blog about specialist make-up products for people with skin allergies.
This “niche” idea really put me off as I didn’t plan on writing about just one subject, there are lots of different things that I like and therefore lots of different things to write about. So I decided not to follow that trend and decided that my niche was being different. I’ve always enjoyed writing and chasing the yankee dollar by writing constantly about one very specific, bland, unchallenging subject was not for me.
So now in my second year, I plan to push myself as a writer even more and have sought the advice of fellow writers as to ways in which I might improve myself. I’ve got nothing to lose, I get enjoyment out of it so if you visit this page and leave feeling happy, entertained, encouraged, nostalgic, (or even angered), then I’ll be satisfied that I would have at least inspired an emotion in you and just hope that it wasn’t entirely negative. And if I make a few bob out of it along the way then I’ll consider that a bonus.
The first new website will be my initial foray into the world of food criticism, particularly about eating and drinking on a budget in London and how (from my own experience) this does not necessarily mean sacrificing the quality or variety of the food on offer. There’s good stuff to be found out there at a good price, if you know where to look. So via the new site I will aim to share that wisdom with you all and may include the odd recipe or two. By the way, I’m still having trouble thinking up a name for it, anyone who can think of one that I like the sound of enough to adopt (taking the above into account) will win a night out on my dime. Real talk.
At some stage in the near future I’ll also be looking for guest writers on both RavenGarcia.com and the new website once I get it up and running. If you fancy yourself as a writer and would like to get any of your articles published on my site, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss that.
Using the magic of Google Analytics, I was able to discover some interesting information about my audience. I remember my friend Dean used to do something similar like this once a month, where he would print a list of the funniest search terms people have used to find his website. So I thought I’d do something along those lines:
Top 10 Countries from which people have visited my site:
10. Sweden (402 Visits)
9. Australia (477 Visits)
8.France (573 Visits)
7. Philippines (579 Visits)
6. Brazil (645 Visits)
5. Italy (882 Visits)
4. Canada (1225 Visits)
3. Germany (1728 Visits)
2. United Kingdom (6393 Visits)
1. United States (6588 Visits)
Top 10 Most Popular Articles (Based on Pageviews):
10. Street Food In Camden
9. Robert Plant & Band Of Joy
8. Top 10 Most Underrated Bands Ever
7. Top 20 Cover Versions Of Songs
6. Top 10 AVGN Episodes
5. Top 10 Favourite Wrestlers
3. Top 10 Hardest Final Fantasy Bosses
2. My Favourite Album Covers
1. Top 10 Movie Villains
Some funny search terms people used to find my site:
One of the cool things Google Analytics enables you to do is track what people typed in to find your site. Often this is a good way of showing any webmaster what his/her most popular pages are. But sometimes, when scrolling down the list you see some real crackers and think “People actually typed that in Google??” And perhaps, more worryingly, “How did that lead them to my site??” Each month, Dean used to post the strangest search term that led somebody to his site, one of the most memorable ones was “Shiny bumhole”. How that led them to Dean’s site I will never know. I can’t claim to have anything near as ‘exotic’ (for the want of a better word), as a shiny bumhole leading people to my site, but here’s a selection of strange phrases that people have used to find my website:
One guy typed in “What happens when you get off the plane in Sweden?” Good question. Maybe he was hoping that ABBA come and personally greet you on the runway with a rendition of “Waterloo”.
“Biggest Shit Biscuit”probably directed this person to one of my Angry Video Game Nerd reviews. I can only hope that was what he was looking for.
“Camden market food poisoning” probably refers to someone who didn’t take my advice about the Chinese food stalls there.
“james the most underrated band of historhy”. Judging by this person’s spelling, he isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. Add to that the fact that he thinks James are the most underrated band of “historhy”. I suppose he was disappointed to see that they never came anywhere near my list. In fact, James suck balls big time. Maybe I’ll tell this guy to “sit down”. hehe.
“How to be in a relationship with rigid uptight person”. Wow, I never realised anybody wanted to date my stepdad.
“60 years old naked swedish nurse pictures”. Do I even need to say anything on this one?? Sometimes this stuff just writes itself. Mind you, if you thought that one was bad, then the next one surely is the winner:
“Morgan Freeman movie naked with penis between his legs infront of mirror”. Morgan Freeman wasn’t in Silence Of The Lambs, as I recall. One visitor seemed to think he was, I hope. Unless they actually wanted to see a picture of Mr. Freeman in his birthday suit…
And rather worryingly, somebody typed in “Raven Garcia beaten to death”. Crikey… :-s
Raven Garcia Q&A
Earlier on my Facebook, as a little treat for you guys seeing as it’s my first anniversary, I posted a status inviting people to inbox me any questions they’d been dying to ask me, and promised to answer them on here. Well, below I have done just that. So here you go…
“Raven, when I met you in the Mucky Pup you made us play the last meal / last movie game (i picked ‘beaches’ and my mum’s shepherd pie). But I don’t think we ever got around to you… what would be yours??”
Haha, that was a good night!! I’ve never seen the movie “My mum’s shepherd pie”, and I don’t think I could eat a whole beach, but each to their own. No seriously, I’d probably choose “The Warriors” as my last movie and as for my last meal, it’s gotta be something I’ve never had but always wanted to try such as Korean imperial court cuisine (the one with about 40 courses) or maybe Fugu. It’s gonna be my last meal anyway so if it isn’t cooked properly it won’t matter.
“Raven when are you coming to USA??”
As soon as I get the money together dude. But in all seriousness it probably won’t be for the next few years. I’ll aim to come visit you before I turn 30. So you’ve got a long wait
“Why isn’t my TV working?”
Because I have the same TV as you, and I’m standing outside your house with my remote control and switching it off every time you switch it on
“What does your tattoo you have on your wrist mean? And do you have any peircings?”
It’s the number 14 in roman numerals (though I’m guessing you knew that). If you mean why 14 then, simply because it’s my lucky number. There are many different reasons for this, some of which I won’t go into, but I first noticed it was lucky for me when it was Thierry Henry’s old number at Arsenal and I used to write “14″ on everything. And no, I don’t have any piercings.
“What is the ultimate ambition that you have for Raven Garcia.com?”
This is a good question. It’s always been a personal thing for me, I just like to write and be creative so this site gives me a vessel with which to expend my creative energy, something that everyone should learn to do. But as far as ambition goes, I make a bit of money from the site already and it would be nice to make a whole lot more doing what I enjoy. But If I keep people entertained doing exactly that then that’s the most important reason to keep on doing it.
How tall is a piece of string?”
I think you mean “How long is a piece of string”. A piece of string is precisely two times as long as half of it’s total length.
“Are you single?”
Yes, I am.
“ In terms of advertising, whose/which adverts (in terms of brands. products, etc) would you allow and disallow to appear on your website if you were approached about that?”
Another good question. At present I don’t put adverts on here because I want this to remain my personal site (with a lot of ad software you have very limited control over which adverts appear on your site). But in the future I do plan to put ads on my other sites. As far as who and what I would / wouldn’t allow, well obviously nothing illegal, nothing to do with scientology (in fact I’d be skeptical about putting any ads of a religious nature on my site – not that I recognise the former as a religion, I do not.) As far as brands, I would always side with smaller businesses as opposed to large corporations, and nothing that I consider to be contradictory to the things that I stand for in my life. If I’m unsure or it’s a company I have not heard of, I do my research about their history, get a feel for what they’re about, and make a decision based on that. I have the ability to peer straight through the layers of bullshit and the “image” that they want you to believe.
“So…who WOULD win a fight between a seagull and a crow?”
A crow. Hands down. Seagulls are brutish, but crows are far more intelligent. A crow could easily outsmart a seagull.
“What food goes best with snus?”
I don’t tend to eat while I’m using snus as it spoils the taste of the food, unless I’m forced to eat airline food, in which case any masking of the taste is a welcome blessing. If I had to recommend something, I remember the French Laundry episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “A Cook’s Tour”, where the guy created a dish to suit Bourdain’s nicotine-and-caffeine-addled personality. It was a custard infused with coffee and tobacco. So probably that, although I hate both coffee and custard. If you were to ask which drink goes best with snus then I’d say cherry coke or lager or Guinness. Well, anything but cider really. I love both cider and snus but they really don’t go together well.
“If Zeppelin were to reform, which drummer would you like to see complete the lineup??”
Jason Bonham would be the obvious choice, and has joined them on stage on more than one occasion in the past, but if I’m honest I’d have to say Dave Grohl. As well as being one of the few living musicians that I really admire, you can tell that he genuinely has a profound respect for the Zep. He even has the same tattoo as me in homage to Mr. Page. When Jimmy joined TCV onstage a couple of years back we almost saw that lineup, if only Plant would swallow his pride for one last tour and take Mr. Grohl along with them, I’d pay anything to see that show. I’ve got a lot of respect for the guy, he’s not afraid to tip his hat to those who were around when he was still banging on pots and pans and cast an eye back to the past for inspiration rather than obsess over the future like most jumped up bands today do.
“Where did you learn to fly?”
Where did you learn to be an asshole!!
In closing I would simply like to offer my sincere thanks to everyone who has been a part of, or visited the site over the past year. I’ve already sent a message to the people on my Facebook friends list, but to all my readers out there who aren’t on my FB list as of yet, I’d like to thank you all for your comments, for your feedback, for sharing the links with all of your friends, and for your ongoing support. In particular I’d like to thank Wayne Saliba for providing the hosting for the site, if you need a webhost I’d recommend dropping him an email as I haven’t had any problems at all. I’m gonna wrap this section up now at the risk of waffling on like an over-grateful oscar winner (probably too late). This has been a great year and I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading this site as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. But let’s see if the next year can’t be even better. Until then, much love from me and keep on rocking in the free world.