Tag Archives: website

Site Statistics 2008

For those, e.g. current and potential advertisers, interested in how this site performed in 2008, here are Google Analytics reports you can download. Note that visits/page views are somewhat underreported from October, more sharply so from mid-November, when I moved some of my most popular pages to WordPress and forgot to add the Google Analytics Read More…

For those, e.g. current and potential advertisers, interested in how this site performed in 2008, here are Google Analytics reports you can download. Note that visits/page views are somewhat underreported from October, more sharply so from mid-November, when I moved some of my most popular pages to WordPress and forgot to add the Google Analytics code to the new pages! My Google AdSense report, which does not rely on that piece of tracking code (I’ve had ads on my WordPress site all year) shows 717,736 total page impressions for 2008, whereas Google Analytics shows 700,111 page views.

The code is now in, so visitor stats from about December 23rd are accurate.

Dashboard Overview

Top-100-Pages

Keywords

A Whole New Me

I’m a cartoon! I’m not quite sure where I got the idea (although, admittedly, a number of bloggers are doing it). Since the unifying theme of this site is me, it makes sense to use myself as a logo. But I rarely like photos of myself, and a cartoon portrait seemed like more fun anyway. Read More…

I’m a cartoon! I’m not quite sure where I got the idea (although, admittedly, a number of bloggers are doing it). Since the unifying theme of this site is me, it makes sense to use myself as a logo. But I rarely like photos of myself, and a cartoon portrait seemed like more fun anyway.

The artist is Mike Segawa, whose work I noticed on a (Not Safe For Work) Buffy fan site years ago – he had done some wonderful pictures of Buffy characters and scenes, and I wanted to track him down to find out if he had any more. Eventually I found an email address and dropped him a note, but got no reply – for two years. I guess he had kept my email, because when he finally did get a site up (mikesegawa.com) he wrote to let me know about it.

By then I had come up with the idea of a cartoon portrait for my site, so I wrote back immediately – but again got no reply. I kept Mike’s site in my bookmarks and visited now and then to see what was new (lots of yummy artwork besides – yay! – more Buffy). A few months ago he mentioned on his home page that the email address had been wrong, and offered a new one. I wrote to that, and finally we were in touch.

It took a little longer to get the project done, but here we are at last. It’s more portrait than cartoon – the family double chin is clearly in evidence – but, hey, that’s the real me. And the lean-back air of ironic amusement, with the skeptical Gromit eyebrows, seems appropriate for my site. What do you think?

Google AdNonSense

Everybody’s putting Google ads on their sites these days – and writing about it – so I’m hardly original. But seeing some of how it works, and wondering about the rest, has made me take sharper notice of ads on other sites. Google analyzes the text of each page its ads are placed on, so Read More…

Everybody’s putting Google ads on their sites these days – and writing about it – so I’m hardly original. But seeing some of how it works, and wondering about the rest, has made me take sharper notice of ads on other sites.

Google analyzes the text of each page its ads are placed on, so as to place ads suited to those pages. I know that my site is tricky; each of my articles tends to bounce around several different topics, and the search engines were already confused – people arrive at my site via the unlikeliest searches. For example, my page about bras is consistently among the most-visited on my site. People arrive there via many different search terms, but most probably weren’t looking for a discourse on the difficulty of fitting bras and a rant about visible bra straps. Google has sensibly placed there ads for sites where you can actually buy bras, so perhaps in the end some of these people find what they’re looking for (and I get money when they click through – yay!).

Some of the other Google placements are odd. The Google algorithm doesn’t seem to be good at distinguishing words used in different ways or contexts. An article about the Supreme Court’s ruling on the words “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance had two Google ads at the bottom. One was for a Christian history site titled “Fighting for ‘Under God'” , which links to an inarguably appropriate site. But the ad listed above that in the Google box was for an offer on Pledge, a brand of furniture polish.

My article on the education of Muslim students in Italy initially came up with three links for Scientology and one for some other religious thinker. Ugh. I do not care to have my site support Scientology, a money-making scheme disguised as a religion by its inventor (who was a science-fiction author – shouldn’t that tell us something?).

Fortunately, Google allows me to filter out URLs I don’t like, so my site will not display ads linking to those sites. It appears, however, that keeping the Scientologists off my pages will be a daily task – they use many different domain names, I’ve axed five or six already. I’m filtering other things as well; apparently all sorts of loonies pay for their sites to come up when the word “Muslim” is searched. Interestingly, one of the links was to a Muslim dating service (I didn’t filter out that one).

My article on The Great Global Conspiracy predictably turns up ads for the Zapruder film, two political sites, and “American Civil Religion – Search our Database of 101,000 Essays for American Civil Religion”. This latter links to essays.com, a site selling essays and term papers, whose disclaimer disingenuously says: “The papers contained within our web site are for research purposes only! You may not turn in our papers as your own work! You must cite our website as your source! Turning in a paper from our web site as your own is plagerism and is illegal!”

Ethical questions aside, would you want to turn in a paper from a site which can’t even spell “plagiarism” correctly?

Redesigning My Website with Dreamweaver

(Note: This refers to an older version of the site, before I moved it to WordPress.) I’ve recently upgraded my software skills. I’ve been learning to useDreamWeaver (a vast, complex, and very powerful website creation software) with the help of lynda.com, recommended to me by a friend. Lynda provides software training in the form of online videos; Read More…

(Note: This refers to an older version of the site, before I moved it to WordPress.)

I’ve recently upgraded my software skills. I’ve been learning to useDreamWeaver (a vast, complex, and very powerful website creation software) with the help of lynda.com, recommended to me by a friend. Lynda provides software training in the form of online videos; for $25 a month, you can go through any of their courses, in whole or in part, at your own pace. I would not normally have had the patience to sit through hours of watching someone explain software, but it was just right for my semi-brain-dead state at the time, and I learned enough to completely overhaul my own site.

I had been using a very old version of Microsoft FrontPage. It used to do everything I needed, but the site has grown far beyond anything I had originally imagined, and I couldn’t make design changes without doing them manually on every single page – and there are over 200 pages now. I was also embarrassed to realize that the underlying technology of my site (plain, old-fashioned HTML) was woefully out of date – not a good showcase for my supposed web-building skills.

So I have redone the site completely, using DreamWeaver’s template and library features and CSS (cascading style sheets) to create and manage a complex design. Next time I feel like completely overhauling it, I may go all-CSS, the still-more-modern way do websites.

I bought more server space, so that I don’t have to take things out in order to put new things in. I have so much room now that I have posted all the completed (or nearly) chapters of my fantasy novel, “Ivaldi”; you can download them here. I will also, over time, add many more photos to the site.

Although the main purpose of the site is vanity publishing, I also use it as a laboratory for online marketing, as discussed earlier. And it wouldn’t be terrible to actually earn something on it, in return for all the effort I put in.

Traffic to my site is decent, considering my marketing budget of zero; it’s been rising steadily, and currently stands at about 250 visitors per day. In that previous article, I discussed how this was achieved. It’s an ongoing process; I drop by some online groups most days, partly to keep traffic flowing to my site, but, on some, more because I’ve made friends there and enjoy the company. And my presence has netted me at least one client – see my newest baby, Tartarugatours.com.

Commonly-accepted wisdom is that it’s impossible to make money from sites that are primarily about the words written on them; even if you’re the New York Times, you can have droves of visitors as long as you’re giving it all away, but the minute you ask for money, most of your audience vanishes. So what’s a starving webmaster to do? No one is paying for my writing (not on the web, anyway), and I don’t have anything to sell except my skills.

Could I get people to buy things linked from my site, so that I get a cut? I’ve been trying that for a while, with the Amazon links that you find all over the site. I’m trying to be honorable about it – I don’t recommend anything that I haven’t actually read or seen myself, and I don’t provide general “buy from Amazon” ads. Perhaps because of these limits, I’ve netted a grand total of $18.67 from Amazon.com thus far, and a big fat zero from Amazon.co.uk (wassamatta – don’t you Brits read anymore? <grin>).

So now I’m experimenting with the classic source of Internet revenue: paid advertising. I’m trying out Google AdSense. The deal is that I add some code from them (Javascript) to whichever of my web pages I desire. There are a variety of ad types and sizes to choose from, and it’s possible, as I have done, to customize the colors to match your page. Once it’s in place, the Google code scans the page, and serves up ads related to the text on the page. When anybody actually clicks on an ad link, whether they buy anything or not, I earn money.

I’ve started this experiment with some of the most-hit pages on my site. Many of you who read this newsletter originally found me because you’re interested in Italy, so you may be surprised to hear that my most popular pages are not the Italy ones, although the Italy section is the most popular area of the site (and the biggest).

The most common entry page on my site – that is, the first page that many visitors see, usually because they have been led to it by a search on Google or Yahoo – is about Buffy; I think most people are finding it as a result of searches for photos of Amber Benson and other Buffy and Angel cast members. Which is interesting, because, if you go to Google’s image search and type in “Amber Benson” or “James Marsters,” my page is far from the top of the search results. This means that people are digging a long way into their search results to get to my page. Fans are always looking for new material, I guess; at least my photos are original.

So I placed a Google ad spot on that page. The context-sensitive ads showing up here are predictable: action figures, comics, and Buffy DVDs from Amazon (I have also maintained my own Amazon link at the bottom of that page). Another popular page is the miniskirt one. This was a little harder for Google to deal with; at the moment it’s showing an ad for designer mini-kilts (expensive ones, at that).

There are some glitches. Although I’ve specified that the site language is English, ads have turned up in German and Italian – the latter logically enough, on my restaurants page, which contains many Italian words and names. Can’t quite figure out where the German came from.

So we’ll see how it goes. I may never earn much money on this, either, but it’s something new to play with and learn about.