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How I’m Trying To Make the Internet a Better Place

Or at least a little corner of it.

I’m not so up on myself that I think I can singlehandedly fix all the internet’s problems. I’m not going to take down Facebook, Twitter, or any of the other too-big-for-their-britches companies out there.

However, I do think it’s important to be a force for good whenever possible.

I’m old enough to remember when you had to dial into the internet with a screeching modem. This was back when everyone had an America Online (AOL) cd floating around their house somewhere. And if you didn’t have one, you were sure to get one in the mail at some point.

That means I’m also old enough to remember when the internet wasn’t full of ads that track you everywhere you go, up to the second information about nearly everything, and the terrible ubiquity of hate speech.

We can’t turn back the clock on the internet. I wouldn’t want to anyway. There’s still so much good stuff available to us these days. What we can do is strive to be better.

Here’s how I’m doing that…

Dandy Cat Design now runs on an open source platform

If you’ve been following me and my business for any length of time, you’ll know that this website used to be made with and hosted on Squarespace. Take a look at the Tags page to get a better idea of my involvement with that service.

I think Squarespace can still be a great place, but it’s not the place for me anymore. Aside from the issues with their 7.1 platform (read more about it in this post), I developed a great issue with the inability to export my site from their platform. As of 2020, their support article displays this message:

Screenshot of a Squarespace support article

With Dandy Cat Design being a 7.1 site, this was very troubling to me. I decided that it was time to move on to a platform that understands that I may want to export and keep my data.

I settled on creating a new home for Dandy Cat Design on Ghost. With Ghost, I can feel better knowing that my data is mine and I can export it whenever I’d like. Nothing is being kept from me. As an added bonus, my website looks great and it’s crazy fast.

No analytics services

It’s probably safe to say that Google is the reigning champion of the internet. They’re so huge that something as inherent to the internet as a search is synonymous with Google. Nobody says they’re ever going to “Bing” something.

Sorry, Microsoft.

Google and their services are everywhere. It’s crazy hard to avoid them, especially when it comes to the analytics of a website. Google Analytics is usually where people turn to when they want to gain an understanding of who’s visiting their website, how much time is spent on it, and where they’re coming from.

Unfortunately, Google collects waaay more information on your visitors than you’ll ever need. Some of that information can be so personal that websites have to include cookie notices to inform visitors that their information is being collected and stored.

That’s unnecessary nonsense.

From now on I won't be using any analytics services on my website. This seems like a strange decision to make. After all, isn'shouldn't I want to know what sort of traffic my site is getting and how my pages are performing? That's a fair point, but I never actually got much out of any analytics services. I'm more concerned with engaging people through my posts and newsletters, and not trying to increase ad clicks. It ultimately doesn't matter how many hits I get.

All that matters is providing quality content and connecting with great people like you.

Were I to use an analytics service, I'd choose Fathom. As I said, I won't be using them, but I feel it's important to celebrate services that are both well-designed and respectful of privacy.

They give you only the information about your visitors that you might actually need. This includes visits, page views, time on site, bounce rates, referrers, browsers, and device types. That’s pretty much it. Best of all, they don’t collect personal information about you or use cookies. You can read more about their respectful practices in their privacy policy.

I need your help

I’m not perfect and neither is Dandy Cat Design. I do my best to be a good citizen of the internet, but I’m not infallible and I never will be.

If you believe that I’m slipping up somewhere or not staying true to everything I’ve written on this page, then let me know. I always want to do right by the people who give me their time, information, and sometimes money.

As I’ve written in What Dandy Cat Design Is All About, I want this site to be a safe place that you can call your “online home.” I want to be deserving of your respect. I’m going to keep working to earn that.

Keep being dandy, cat.

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