It is always such a pleasure to write these annual blog posts, especially when there are so many things to share! I still can’t believe that it’s already been three years since I launched this website. Time flies fast! As always, here I will sum up what’s been new during the third year of Matexperience, as well as provide a little sneak peek into what the future holds for us.
Recap of the last 12 months
Start Here page
If you haven’t noticed yet, I’ve added a Start Here page that should introduce newcomers to the website. Make sure to check it out — even if you are not here for the first time you still may find something new! Button that leads to the Start Here page is displayed prominently at the top of the homepage. There, you can learn more about different sections of the website and how to navigate them, find out ways to follow Matexperience and stay tuned for updates.
A recent, but very requested addition is Matexperience Newsletter. It is a free, easy and familiar way to get notified about new content as soon as it is published (plus many more exclusive bonuses coming up soon!). More details in the previous blog post.
Google News is a news aggregator service developed by Google. It presents a continuous flow of links to articles organized from thousands of publishers and magazines. Matexperience became available on Google News as a publisher, so you can follow us there along with your favorite topics and publications.
Write your story
Earlier this year, I opened submissions for personal stories about yerba mate. I really encourage you to learn more about it if you haven’t already, and consider writing your story to be published on Matexperience!
First story has already been published, and I highly recommend you to read it. Matexperience reader Alan shared how his driving school business allowed him to learn about other cultures, and how he got introduced to yerba mate through one family that were his students.
New categories of content
Over the course of the last year I’ve added more categories of content, in addition to reviews. My goal is to cover everything related to yerba mate, so more educational and inspirational content was bound to happen sooner rather than later.
I already wrote about personal stories, which is a very interesting category and a great chance for anyone to get published. Also, there is not a lot of news in English from the yerba mate industry, so I started to cover them in the News section. Published at the end of 2020, Holiday Gift Ideas Guide was a great help for people and will become an annual thing. And of course we should not forget that mate is still very much new outside of South America, so it was important to start answering common questions and sharing knowledge with each other in the Education section.
What to expect in the next year
I have a huge backlog of content ideas, and I constantly re-prioritise it based on comments, DMs and emails that I receive from you! Your voice matters, so make sure to let me know what you want me to cover first, or if you have anything to share yourself.
I am currently drinking a lot of yerbas that are great in tereré, so you can expect more tereré reviews in the next few months. I also see more and more interesting brands emerge all around the world that are focusing on premium yerba mate and blends, so I will also start to cover more of those brands outside of the typical South American mass-market.
New commenting system
I voiced my concerns with Disqus a long time ago, due to its shady monetization and privacy issues, slow loading times and lack of any significant customization options to make it fit the look and feel of Matexperience. Still, I believe that feedback and communication with readers is very important, plus it is probably the most common and popular third-party commenting system that has nice moderation options, so for starters it was a compromise solution.
However, for the past few months I was working on a custom-made commenting system that would tick all the needed boxes — it fits the style of the website, it is 100% static with zero third-party scripts, and completely private for visitors as there is no data to be collected and used in a bad way. The main idea is to encourage people to comment under the articles by eliminating all the unnecessary stuff that always gets in the way — registrations, passwords, shady scripts — and make comments a part of the content, a continuation of the topic in question.
The new commenting system is still a little bit down the road, but in the meantime I would really appreciate your comments, and don’t worry — all the existing and future comments on Disqus will be migrated!
In the vein of upcoming changes to the commenting system, I also plan to do a lot of the privacy-focused optimizations under the hood. Right now, this website uses services that are collecting personal data from visitors, so, in order to be GDPR-compliant, EU and UK visitors are seeing cookie-consent banners that let them decide whether they allow these services to collect their data for analytics, comments and ads.
I care about my privacy and my data when browsing different websites, and I believe that the privacy of my readers should be respected no matter where they are from, so in the next months I will be eliminating all of the services and functionality that collects personal information. Recently I already disabled personalization in AdSense, so it is not tracking your activities on the web anymore. The next steps will include the aforementioned new commenting system and new privacy-focused analytics tool to replace Google Analytics, which will make cookie-consent banners redundant!
That will be a wrap up for now — stay safe, drink mate and join us in this neverending and exciting journey of discovering the magic of mate and exploring the vast world of yerba. Hopefully you are looking forward to the fourth year of Matexperience as much as I am!