Site Update…

Seen as its the start of a new month I thought I’d post a follow up to my post on the site overhaul. It hasn’t actually been a month yet, but the tracking statistics are based on calendar months. The short story is that visitor numbers are up, with 446 visitors recorded since the Piwik instance went live (13th Jan) until the end of the month. This beats all my previous records and is only for part of a month. My old GA figures were putting me at around 300 visits per month, though this had slipped recently. So, either there is a large difference in the way the two systems measure visitors or my push to actually put up some content is working! The fact that roughly half my visits are coming from search engines and are coming to newer posts on the site supports my theory that the push is working.

Having said that I’ve slacked off a bit recently (this is only my second post this week). This is mainly because I’ve been putting a lot of work into SwallowCatcher, managing to get a release out earlier this week. Hopefully, in the coming weeks I’ll be able to balance both projects.

In terms of the other action points I had for the site:

  • Google Ads are still here. This is primarily because AdBard have not approved my account yet. I’ve even queried this via their support address and had no response, so I don’t know what’s going on there.
  • Flattr is here! And its actually making me some money, with a total of three flattrs last month. Please, if you like my stuff consider flattring me, it’ll help pay for the site and encourage me to produce more content and software.
  • I have a new theme! Although its just an off the shelf one for now, I haven’t modified it.
  • More pages: well, I’ve posted the project section and a project page for SwallowCatcher. There’s still more I want to do and I haven’t got around to doing a proper profile page or online CV yet.
  • More content: well that speaks for itself. The last month has been a time of unprecedented blogging activity for me. I’m really quite enjoying it and its made its way into my mental todo list for each week, which is a good sign.

That’s just about all there is to it. For those that are interested in SwallowCatcher, since I released on Tuesday I’ve been working fixing some of the issues identified in the release notes and those that people have reported to me. I’ve also been using it day to day to download my podcasts and fixing any issues I encounter. In fact, tonight was the first time I’ve opened my laptop in the last two days. The laptop’s primary use for the last few months has been downloading podcasts when I’m at uni. Now SwallowCatcher is just about filling that niche! I’ll hopefully post an officially updated version sometime over the weekend, with the announcement again going out here.

Giving this site an overhaul…

Things are changing…

I’m currently in the process of giving this site an overhaul, with the intention of increasing the number of visitors I get. I’m also going to experiment with various ways to try and support the site (with the eventual aim of making the site self sufficient). So far I’ve changed a couple of things:

  • I’ve added a proper image gallery thanks to the NextGEN Gallery plugin. This isn’t really intended to increase visitor numbers but gives me an easier way to share my photos, without surrendering them to Facebook! You can view my public gallery now, but I still need to upload more photos.
  • I’ve switched away from Google Analytics, to a self hosted Piwik instance. This lets me take control of my tracking data and for visitors to my site it means that your usage data stays between you and me, without Google butting in! I’m also going to add the opt-out button to the side bar for anyone who really doesn’t want to share their data. So far I’m really pleased with Piwik, hopefully I’ll review it when its been running for a bit longer.

Here’s what’s in the pipeline:

  • Removing Google Ads: basically they’re not making me any money and I’m increasingly objecting to the tracking/profiling they do. I’m going to replace them with AdBard, but I’m still waiting for my account to be approved.
  • I also want to experiment with Flattr: which as well as hopefully making me some money, will allow me to give something back to other people producing content I like.
  • A new site theme: probably a modified version of an already available theme. I want something clean and I want to be able to personalise it easily. Suggestions will be gratefully received! (via the comments on this post).
  • More pages: I really need a better about page and I also want to do a digital CV. I’m also thinking about project pages for the coding projects I’m working on.
  • More content: obviously, the secret to getting more visitors lies in having more quality content. I happen to think my content is of good quality and some of it scores pretty highly in related google searches. I just need more of it! This comes down to having the time to blog and stuff to blog about. I’m trying to set aside more time for blogging and think of more topics to blog about. Be prepared to see a wider range of content hopefully appearing soon.

I’m approaching this, as I initially approached blogging, as an experiment. I don’t know how far I’ll get, but I’ll report on my progress as I go. If anyone has anything they want to share or their own experiences from promoting their own site, please feel free to comment.