Just realised that the last webstats round up that I gave was actually for a year ago!
It has been a busy year for me and for the most part I have neglected this site in favour of microblogging and maintaining my more successful sites. If you don’t already may I suggest that you follow me on Twitter. You may also be interested in following either of the other accounts I run, @gamemakerblog for news about YoYo Games’ Game Maker software, games and media releases and @cassioburypark for information about a park back home in Watford.
Yesterday Will Critchlow from SEO company Distilled came to the University of Birmingham to talk about the work the company does for clients including several Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller businesses. It really got me thinking about my future as I have known for some time now that I do not want to become a programmer and I am very interested in creating web content. As several people I know have also been applying for (and some getting) work placements at large companies or in one case have received a job offer having not done particularly well towards the end of their time at school I really need to work something out. I think the majority of people on my course are probably in the same situation as me – perhaps I should start thinking about applying for some summer placements? I also know Will is not morally against against my sell-out links at the top of the blog homepage even if it not something he would use for his clients!
Google Analytics tells me that visits to GameMaker Blog are up 120.80% from last year. There have been over 13,000 uniques visitors in the past month and I accidentally launched a successful direct ad sales income stream for the site after a reader approached me to ask if it was possible to purchase a slot. Total CPM rates remain low though. When we next get a break in direct sales I think I will return AdSense to the site and attempt to raise CTRs by modifying its positioning. I think it is a tricky balance to maintain though as I don’t want to overwhelm readers with ads so that they will either leave or block them. The great thing about the direct sales is that I wrote my own php/mySQL system to serve and track them which means that they show for most people even if they have adblock. I dropped ProjectWonderful as I wasn’t doing too well with them even though I had several targeted direct purchases through them. Put it this way: In 2 years of PW I earned as much as I now do from 2 months direct sales in one slot.
Growth in the related affiliation/banner service has slowed and in fact the number of banners served has declined from an earlier peak. There are now only about half a million impressions a month (about 50% of the peak). This is one project I often tell myself I will rewrite with new features but have never got around to doing. I may try to seek a partner to run the service or commission someone to write a better script. Over the past six months I did add a few anti-fraud measures myself but it really needs a rewrite from scratch.
A related surprise has been the success of my domain GameMaker8.com. The single page website imports the GMB RSS feed for posts in the “Game Maker 8” category yet gets 80% of the uniques of the fully developed and time consuming GMB. I can probably use this to my advantage by developing a mini site or links to relevant posts such as my interview with and review of Jerry Lee Ford’s Getting Started with Game Maker which contain my Amazon associate links. A sidepoint on this is that the site attracts an audience from around the world so whatever I do I will be loosing out on revenue from somewhere as I only have Associates accounts on .com (for the US) and .co.uk.
Local information site CassioburyPark.info is, as I’ve mentioned before, very seasonal. A WordPressified version of the site should be coming soon as the existing design does not really suit the development of further pages on the site. Only problem is I don’t want to loose my 5 Google site links as 81% of visits come from Google searches. Ad revenue per visitor is considerably higher than on any of my other sites – I presume this is because it is locally targeted although normally I just see adverts for playground equipment. I contacted Nik Allen who runs the very nice local monthly magazine My Watford News (as well as 5 similar titles in neighbouring area) to see what they charged for advertising on their very under utilised website. Answer: £50 a month for a homepage banner that is rotated alongside other purchasers. I don’t know their traffic levels but their Alexa rank is worse than Cassiobury Park’s.
Thinking of local media I had some photos I took of the snowy park published in the Christmas Day edition (yes!) of the local paper Watford Observer and I think some are still on their website. They were taken with my parents terrible digital camera early on the first morning of real snow.
Domains such as AidyBoothroyd, BrendanRodgers and BetOnSwineFlu and this blog continue to tick over with no work spent on improving or promoting the sites. Pageviews do not normally exceed a thousand a month.