Regular visitors will probably know about the fiasco that occurred over a year ago with the site that caused me to change ISP. It cost me a lot of credibility and quite a few regulars to the site. Readership plummeted to just a few hard core regulars who mainly frequented the forum. If it wasn’t for those people I probably would have just let the site turn into an archive. So Thank you all.
It was always going to be a problem to keep the main site updated by myself. It needed input from others because my knowledge is limited to just what I know. Even now people keep posting items on the forum that should be posted on the main site and, if necessary, discussed on the forums. I’m going to go through everything and transfer what I can to the main site once I get settled.
Anyway, just had a big chunk of leave followed by a family emergency which meant I had an unexpected and forced bit of spare time over the last few weeks so one of the areas I looked at was my site with a view to upgrading it and checking for issues. What a surprise that was.
I’ve brought the site up to the latest versions of everything. All Ok and working fine. Backups complete and files updated on the file site with more to go over the next few weeks. All email forwards set up and user requests satisfied. If you sent me a request for any email forwards or other changes and have not had a reply then please let me know. I have no outstanding requests at this time.
Checking the site for issues was where I got the big surprise. The site statistics were totally unexpected. The number of visitors now exceeds what I had back when I was at my peak. The difference now is that nobody seems to comment. The posts being read are all the beginner series and the informational posts which is what you would expect for people who are just interested in browsing for information. In January I was down to less than 1,000 visitors, it grew month on month until June/July where it dropped to slightly above January levels then a big spike in August followed by a quieter September and now it is up at just over 5,800 visitors per month. Slightly above the August spike of 5,300. You can’t tell exactly because I don’t record the information but the totals show that on average each visitor visits 4 times a month and reads 10 pages a month.
The stats for the forum are impossible to read due to the way the forum works. There are so many page requests that page stats are meaningless. What we do know is that there are 360 registered users of which 40 registered users have been on the site this last month. However, stats show there are 10 guests browsing the forums for every active user. Again, they seem to be browsing the older informational type threads and ignoring the news type threads that have been posted lately. There has been a slow trickle of people joining with few of them posting once they have gained access. I can only assume, and you know what they say about assumptions, that as the only difference between being a guest and a member is they can post threads and gain access to the Private Messaging system that they join to message someone they have noticed on the forum. There are no secret member only areas or special privileges. You join and all you gain is access to post and message other members. Yet most joiners this year have not posted at all on the forums.
The files site has also been used extensively with Gigabytes of files having been downloaded since it started. Most of those after May this year where 200 users downloaded about 1Gb of files. Since then it has slowly increased to where about 250 users used the site in December and downloaded 2.6 Gb of files.
So all in all the only apparent issue is the lack of good feedback from either commenters or posters. Considering from the look of their browsing are only just getting started prepping is that unexpected? When I started I did a lot of data gathering before I actively got involved in any sort of dialog. Why would people be less paranoid and cautious now especially as nowadays what they are doing is not looked on kindly by the state at all.
So the sites appears to be doing what I wanted. Providing information to people who are starting out in prepping and allowing people to connect up if they want to.
So I need to do a few things this year.
1) Get people to post their articles in the main site where it will be indexed correctly rather than the forum where it gets lost quickly.
2) Revisit the forum areas and see if we need any new topics.
3) Get more fresh articles for the main site.
4) Sort out and upload more files from my archives to the file site.
5) Find someone to sort out specific areas in the file site. In most areas I’ve just put them under a banner such as Medical as I don’t know the file details on what each does.
6) Revisit the checklists and update them. They are in need of a revamp.