Newbie Question(s) so dumb, you're afraid to even ask!

SmokeTree

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As a small-scale independent publisher, would it be worth my time and energy to learn the latest js thoroughly and any other supplementary stuff (for example, something like React/Redux)?
It really depends on what kind of sites you're building and how much control you want over them. If you are creating several small/medium sites and don't need a bunch of customization (e.g. different sidebars/footers/headers depending on page) or you just want to publish sites then move on, then you can get by with WP. If you want full control over every aspect of the site and already know your way around the HTML/CSS, then something like Hugo (https://gohugo.io/) might be a better option for you for static sites or an actual framework for Saas/Dynamic Sites such as Rails, Django, Node,js or my personal favorite, Phoenix.

A lot of folks learn WP because it's easy to get started and can take you to the 80% of what is needed to get an initial site up and running. The problem is, that sometimes things are are extremely easy to do with a static sites require you to find a plugin for WP and that's where that remaining 20% causes the headache. The end result is that many people develop a dependency on plugins and many times their sites get hacked because all it takes is a bit of bad/malicious code in a plugin to compromise a site. I do quite a bit of sysadmin work and have seen many a WP site compromised because of one tiny plugin.

As to whether you should know JS, React, etc thoroughly? The answer is, no you don't need to know any of those technologies inside and out and master them. You just need to get your feet wet and learn as you go through trial/error and a lot of Stack Overflow (https://stackoverflow.com) queries.
 
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Does Medium allow affiliate links or redirects? I want to test a viral technique in a niche, that I don't have or want a site in.
They do allow affiliate links if you disclose it. (via here, ctrl+f for "affiliate" to see the full section.)
 
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As a small-scale independent publisher, would it be worth my time and energy to learn the latest js thoroughly and any other supplementary stuff (for example, something like React/Redux)? Or is that better left to others that you can hire in on an as-needed basis (or fiddle about with yourself if you need a specific feature for a site)?
It really depends on your end goal. Do you want to produce a software product that has a rich, app-like experience for the end user? Then yes, it is possible that the latest front-end tech may be of benefit to you. However, it is very dependent on situation. Not all situations call for the latest front-end tech, and many web SaaS products can also be easily built without touching front-end frameworks like React.

I have worked on multiple nodejs-based static site generators before (react static, gatsby), and I would advise you to avoid them like the plague (unless you're already very familiar with the ecosystem). Do not touch them, do not think of them, do not read about them. The bloat and unnecessary complexity for content-based web pages is mind-boggling.

However, there is a very specific use case for learning frontend tech like React. The only valid reason to do so, is when you want to target multiple platforms at once. This means that you want to build the web, iOS and Android clients all in one go, with as much code sharing as possible, through tech like React Native. This is the ONLY time that you should consider frontend tech like React for building your entire user interface. You can learn React for tiny interactive widgets, but it should be as an afterthought, and not the primary focus.

So, to answer your question as to whether you should learn front end tech as a publisher, I would say no. The ROI is too low to justify the effort spent considering that your main money maker is in static content. Only consider it if you need to show dynamic content on your static sites through small widgets.

If you are building a site that is more like a SaaS, you want full control over every aspect of the site and already know your way around the HTML/CSS, then something like Hugo (https://gohugo.io/) might be a better option for you.
I do not agree that you should use hugo for a SaaS product. Static sites should be for static content, like the marketing pages, content posts. If dynamic content is needed, like user authentication and dashboards, stick to a reliable full-stack web framework like ruby-on-rails, django, laravel, phoenix, etc.
 

SmokeTree

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I do not agree that you should use hugo for a SaaS product
I had forgotten that I included SaaS products in my recommendation of Hugo and edited my post to reflect that. Agree that a full-stack framework would be the best choice for a SaaS/Dynamic Site for that but definitely not a good fit for WP. I normally use Phoenix these days for Web Apps and haven't looked back in a few years now.
 

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(The questions here were sparked by reading the Gutenberg thread and then realising I had no idea what some of this 'creating custom blocks' was about.)
Custom blocks are the same as partials in the static site world. If you already are using html/css than go all in on html5, css, and js using a static site generator like hugo. Combined they're way more powerful than wordpress and make much better websites.

I've used both wordpress and static site generators and I'm never going back to wordpress.
 
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Pardon my ignorance, but what's the editing experience like with these static site generators. Is there anything like Drag and Drop or is css knowledge required.
 
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Many thanks for the replies and advice. I'll leave the React bookmarks in their folder until needed then!

Not quite sure on the concept of static site generators if I'm already coding my own small/medium static sites? Is it because you can use plug-ins for an SSG like you can with WP?
 

SmokeTree

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Not quite sure on the concept of static site generators if I'm already coding my own small/medium static sites? Is it because you can use plug-ins for an SSG like you can with WP?
It's mainly because of code reuse. Instead of having to code the header, sidebar, footer, etc on every page, you can just code it once as a "partial" and insert it into your layouts. Every time your site is generated it will include the bits of code where you want them. If you've ever had to code a static site without the help of some sort of SSG framework, you'll know how much "fun" it is to have to update, say, the footer on every single page of your site if something changes, like the copyright date. I'd recommend reading up on Hugo, Jekyll, etc and spend a couple of hours going through the "getting started" stuff as it's a lot easier to understand once you've seen what it can do firsthand. Here's the one for Hugo (https://gohugo.io/getting-started).
 
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It's mainly because of code reuse. Instead of having to code the header, sidebar, footer, etc on every page, you can just code it once as a "partial" and insert it into your layouts. Every time your site is generated it will include the bits of code where you want them. If you've ever had to code a static site without the help of some sort of SSG framework, you'll know how much "fun" it is to have to update, say, the footer on every single page of your site if something changes, like the copyright date. I'd recommend reading up on Hugo, Jekyll, etc and spend a couple of hours going through the "getting started" stuff as it's a lot easier to understand once you've seen what it can do firsthand. Here's the one for Hugo (https://gohugo.io/getting-started).
I kind of wondered if that was what it was, but I currently use php includes to do that (so, for example, an ad or affiliate block, a footer, a header and different menus would all be done with includes).
 
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Pardon my ignorance, but what's the editing experience like with these static site generators. Is there anything like Drag and Drop or is css knowledge required.
Are you referring to content editing or site customization? Content editing depends on how you store your data. Site customization will require html/css knowledge, as well as the underlying programming language used for the templates.

I normally use Phoenix these days for Web Apps and haven't looked back in a few years now.
Nice to see another elixir dev out in the wild, I've been using phoenix too for my saas backend, the dev productivity is like no other framework that I've used. I opted for a react frontend though, since I'm also targeting mobile.

Not quite sure on the concept of static site generators if I'm already coding my own small/medium static sites?
The key benefit of static sites is the elimination of the hosting server/database. Your site will be more secure, without any possibility of data breaches, without any downtime regardless of traffic size. This means that you will sleep easier at night, knowing that your money makers are always up.
Sure,you trade some complexity in terms of setting up and customizing the site and storing your data, but you gain more customization features, less vendor lock in, less dependencies, and a huge improvement in security. There are plenty of free static hosting options (gitlab, github, netlify), and the big 3 cloud services all provide file hosting for pennies per GB stored. Yep, PER GB. Meaning your costs plummet to near zero.
 

Calamari

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I kind of wondered if that was what it was, but I currently use php includes to do that (so, for example, an ad or affiliate block, a footer, a header and different menus would all be done with includes).
I'm sure that's a fine way to work. I'd stick with that and improve your skills with html, css, and js.
 
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I don't think I'm allowed to post a comment that is only saying "thank you", so I'll take my chance now. Thanks @Ryuzaki for your help with my Adsense question. I have not had the time to test all your recommendations yet, but will hopefully find time to do it today. Thanks a lot!

I have another newbie question: I've found a domain that is to be free soon. It has over 2k links to it. The link profile is very strong. However, the site is an old blog portal. So all the links are to sub-domains like:
charles.domain.com
Fitnessgod.domain.com

And so on.

My idea is that I will just make a 404 that redirects to homepage. But what do you guys think? Does this make the domain worthless, since the links are coming to sub-domains? What's your thoughts?

Cheers!
 
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Damn, I can't edit my post above.

I bought another domain and now thinking of buying the above domain and 301 it to my new domain.

That would mean that all of the subdomains (emma.domain.com, fitnessgod.domain.com etc.) would also go via this 301. Could this be seen as 100's of different domains being 301'd to my new domain?

I'm cool with 301'ing like this. But since this domain has several subdomains, I wonder if this could potentially be a problem? What do you guys think?
 
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Why does my images with white backgrounds get grey "spots" or shadows when they're scaled down in size?
 

Ryuzaki

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That would mean that all of the subdomains (emma.domain.com, fitnessgod.domain.com etc.) would also go via this 301. Could this be seen as 100's of different domains being 301'd to my new domain?
I'd expect every single subdomain to be treated as a separate domain in the eyes of Google. If you're concerned, I think 301'ing them to their own main domain is safer than shooting them all off to another domain. I think if you're legitimately acquiring businesses you can do as many as you want. I've seen people do a dozen or more and it's fine. But 100's is getting funky to me, not that I have any proof of such a thing. But 100's of subdomains redirecting to their own parent I think is fine. The real question is, are they all worth redirecting? Do they all have links? You only need to salvage what's worth salvaging.

Why does my images with white backgrounds get grey "spots" or shadows when they're scaled down in size?
Are these photos taken with a camera (including the background) or are you chopping the main item out and replacing the background with a pure white background? Also, what software are you using? It could be artifacts from the software. It could be that the background isn't pure white and that becomes noticeable as the gray spots congeal into tighter areas.
 
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Are these photos taken with a camera (including the background) or are you chopping the main item out and replacing the background with a pure white background? Also, what software are you using? It could be artifacts from the software. It could be that the background isn't pure white and that becomes noticeable as the gray spots congeal into tighter areas.
It's GIMP for Mac.
 
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Why does my images with white backgrounds get grey "spots" or shadows when they're scaled down in size?
When you say "scaled down in size" what do you mean? When the images are scaled down by web publishing (so, for example, a 2400x2400 image is scaled to 600x600)? Or when you are trying to edit it or export it in your software? And what image file type are we talking about, jpgs, gifs, pngs?
 
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When you say "scaled down in size" what do you mean? When the images are scaled down by web publishing (so, for example, a 2400x2400 image is scaled to 600x600)? Or when you are trying to edit it or export it in your software? And what image file type are we talking about, jpgs, gifs, pngs?
Yes, I receive a png in say 6000x3000 and scale it down to 600x300 (png or jpg, same thing happens).
 
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Yes, I receive a png in say 6000x3000 and scale it down to 600x300 (png or jpg, same thing happens).
Are the images with a true white background or with something like a white curtain, with shadows? Have you tried any other photo-editing software (like Photoshop Express or a full-scale app if you have one)?

Download this image and try to reduce it in size to 560px width:
https://www.browngirlmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/bigstock-smiling-indian-businesswoman-p-44725165.jpg
Does the same thing happen? (I have no problems when I make it smaller with Adobe Fireworks.)

In the meantime, a quick question for the Pinterest experts, as that is the next social media niche I'm going to poke my toes in...

(My niche is very popular for images and I have a large stock of potentially useful photos gathered over a number of years which I have so far only utilised to create old-school galleries on web pages.)

If you had a number of existing sites in the same large niche but with different topics and locations - along the lines of woodcarving in Thailand, embroidery in Canada, crochetwork in the UK and knitting in Eire - are you better off using a single personal account and different boards, a single business account and different boards (although I think that would have to have an overarching handicrafts website connected, for this example?) or different business accounts for the different sites?
 
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You definitely want to use business accounts on Pinterest and I would say as many business account as makes sense. Pinterest seems to be wanting to start halting anything too broad, for instance they're doing this with group boards and favouring organic search from group boards with related niches, etc rather than free-for-alls. Am I an expert? No, but I've read my fair share around the subject.
 
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What is the best method to scrape Facebook Marketplace listings?
Selenium?
 
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What is the best method to scrape Facebook Marketplace listings?
Selenium?
Yes, or puppeteer. The client is very JS heavy with a lot of bot traps and dynamically generated styling and structure.

I advise using xpath selectors for extra logic firepower
 
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Yes, or puppeteer. The client is very JS heavy with a lot of bot traps and dynamically generated styling and structure.

I advise using xpath selectors for extra logic firepower
Honestly seem like more hassle than it's worth for my strictly data reading purpose.
 
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I just Googled "Best drill machine", and basically every result is Indian. What the hell is this? If the adress doesn't end with "domain.in" then there is "India" in the article title. Really strange.

I went on google.com/ncr just to make sure there isn't a DNS problem, but the result is the same. Do you guys get the same Indian results?
 
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My guess is that the term 'drill machine' for a normal drill is typical for Indian English, and not as common in US/UK English. (Native speakers, please correct me if I'm wrong)