What’s This Patreon Thing All About?

What Is Patreon?

Patreon is an independent system built for content creators to get paid for the content / services they create. DearDiary.Net provides a service to the community and has chosen to use Patreon for users to show their support.

Why Choose Patreon? What Was Wrong With PayPal?

Patreon provide a flexible system which allows multiple different tiers of support for different amounts of donations. Presently DearDiary.Net only has the 1 tier and there’s no plans to change that. But, unlike PayPal which is just a payment platform, Patreon provide a whole infrastructure such as group messaging all Patrons, providing bulletin posts for Patrons as well as a robust payment engine.

The previous payment engine at DearDiary was written by us, and maintained by us. And it broke, regularly. This meant a lot of time was lost whereby valued clients couldn’t get access to their benefits because their payment wasn’t recognised. Using Patreon gets rid of all that. The system queries Patreon to see if you’ve paid. If you have, you have access. For us, it’s a question of ease of maintenance (there is none!) and for you it means you know your payment gets applied straight away and it’s easy to see when and how you paid and how long you’ve been with us. You can even download receipts.

Why Do I Have To Pay To Use DearDiary.Net?

You don’t. Patreon support for DearDiary.Net is voluntary. But, we do provide additional features to Patrons. We’ll go into that a little bit later. But for now, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane.

DearDiary.Net was written and released to the public in 1999. In the time since then and now, it has never made us any significant sums of money. Indeed, for the past 5 years or more it’s cost us money every month to provide the servers on which the system runs. If we were to add in the average hourly rate of a programmer over that time, we’d be looking at thousands in losses. Nevertheless, we keep the site running because our initial charter when we first set DearDiary.Net up was to provide chronicling of the age through the eyes of the average person – not the media!

We’ve kept that promise. Through the tough times. But it’s getting harder and harder to keep going as more and more competition comes along for your time. And less and less people want to journal properly – instead being content with the pictures of what they had for breakfast and 140 (or 280 now!) characters to describe it… Ugh. Are you really going to share all that with your grandchildren?!?

It would be so much better to share meaningful words about your day, or what’s on your mind wouldn’t it?

Anyway, we rant… The point is, it costs money to provide the service and those costs are paid for by our few, but very wonderful Patrons. To all our Patrons – we love you! We salute you, and we thank you!

OK. I Get It… But Do I Get Anything Extra For Being A Patron?

Apart from the glowing feeling of doing something good? No…

Wait, of course you do!! You get a multitude of extra things. Here’s a list. It might not be fully up to date, so you may get more…

Themes

Becoming a Patron unlocks a bunch of different WordPress themes you can use on your diary. Bear in mind that some DearDiary specific features might only be optimised for the DearDiary theme though, as we can’t support all the third party themes that are out there. Where possible we’ve tried to make sure any enhancement we make will work across themes though.

The following is a list of themes, along with links to the theme site so you can see what they could look like on your diary. The links will open in a new window.

  • Suffusion – OK, so upon inspection, this one appears to be no longer under development. At least I can’t find it any more. But it’s still available at the moment to Patrons. Unfortunately I can’t give you a link though.
  • Sugar And Spice – This is another one that hasn’t had any updates for some time – however a link is still available at https://wordpress.org/themes/sugar-and-spice/ so you can see what it might look like.

Whilst there’s only 2 additional themes available at the moment, more are planned and this list will grow as I add more. If you have a particular theme that you would like to see added to the site then please drop us a line using the Contact Us button at the top of the page.

Plugins

There’s a whole raft of additional plugins available to Patrons that enable different features for their diaries. This list is definitely not exhaustive – and new ones are added all the time as I find new and exciting things that can be added. Occasionally some are removed if they’re found to have security holes or no-one’s using them. Here’s a list with a brief description of what they do;

  • Add Link To Facebook – Easily add a link from your diary entry to your Facebook status.
  • All In One SEO Pack – Want to get found on Google? Adding this plugin provides a bunch of search engine optimization for you. Although we provide this plugin for Patron Supporters, we actually recommend Rank Math these days, it helps you to write entries that are search engine optimised. Though we don’t necessarily believe a diary entry should be written for search engines, it’s there if you want it.
  • Category Order – If you have different categories for entries within your diary, you can specify which order they appear in a menu with this plugin.
  • Easy Table Of Contents – If you’re writing a long entry it can be good to split it up with headers. Such as this page is in fact. And if you’ve split it up with headers, then this plugin will automatically generate a table of contents at the top for you. So people can jump straight to the part of your entry that want to read.
  • Enhanced Latest Tweets Widget – Enhanced Latest Tweets Widget allows you to display a certain number of tweets from a specified hashtag (and/or to limit it to a specified user).
  • Messenger Customer Chat – Connect your users from your diary directly to you on Facebook Messenger. Using this plugin people can talk directly to you!
  • Simple Lightbox – this plugin lets you have your images pop up in a ‘light box’ effect on your diary page. This means that if you have smaller pictures in your content but want people to be able to zoom in, they can do so without leaving your entry. The picture will zoom in when clicked, similar to how clicking on images in Facebook works.
  • Time Difference – Display time difference between now and a certain date/time in pages, posts and text widgets. Going on holiday in three months? This plugin will let you have a countdown to that time on your entry or sidebar. It’ll show you how long since you went on holiday too. But that might be a bit depressing!
  • Twitter Widget Pro – A widget that properly handles twitter feeds, including @username, #hashtag, and link parsing. It can even display profile images for the users. If you want a twitter feed to show up on your diary, this is the way to do it.
  • WordPress Importer – If you have a diary or blog, or any other WordPress site, you can quickly and easily import it in to you DearDiary.Net with this plugin activated.
  • WP-PostRatings – Allows your visitors to mark how much they liked (or disliked!) your post with this plugin.

That’s a snapshot of the extra plugins available to Patron’s. If there’s a plugin that enhances WordPress that you would like to see be available for Patreon Supporters, please drop us a line using the Contact Us button at the top of the page and we’ll look at adding it for you.

Extra Core Features

DearDiary.Net is a customized version of WordPress, with options that only make sense here, not on any other WordPress site. With that in mind, some of the features that are available to Patrons are specific to DearDiary too.

  • Friends Only Diary – Everyone can have friends only entries. But only Patrons can have their whole diary marked as friends only. This means you don’t need to remember to set an entry to friends only every time you write. Having said that, if you want to share some things with everyone but other things only with your DearDiary.Net friends then you’ll need a public diary. But the option is there if you’re a Patron.
  • Priority Support – When times get busy, we’ll prioritise our support queues for Patrons. Also, any enhancements to the software will be prioritised for Patrons. Some enhancements (such as additional themes or plugins to be added) only make sense for Patrons too.
  • No Ads – anywhere. The amount of ads on DearDiary.Net is relatively limited anyway. But Patrons will see none.

Suggestions / Comments?

Please feel free to Contact Us with any suggestions you might have, regarding anything. We’re looking forward to rebuilding the DearDiary.Net community so let us know what it is that would make your diary experience the best here!

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