State of the website - 2016

February 14, 2016 by SEO  

Inspired by President Obama's state of the union speech, I decided to get in on the action and write about something equally (if not more) important - the state of my website.

Boys (and girls)... To put it bluntly, this place is busy turning into a ghost town, profits are down and I might have to slaughter your pets for meat and sell your mother into prostitution (again).

Observe the following chart:

Unique Visitors (Overview)
Quite a bleak picture, if this was MTN profits Mteto Nyati would immediately blame WhatsApp and knock off for the day.

Lets take a closer look at the 2010 to 2012 period:

Unique Visitors 2010-2012 (Monthly)

During 2010 to 2011 we see nice and steady growth, with each month being better than the same month the year before. Towards the end of 2011 we see a massive surge followed by a huge decline around March 2012.

Lets have a look at the latest period:

Unique Visitors 2013-2016 (Monthly)

Now this is where things are really starting to look a bit unhealthy, in contrast to the 2010 to 2011 period, between 2014-2016 every month received less visitors than the same month the year before. The first month of 2016 also followed this downward spiral (prompting me to do something about it).

Only during July 2014, we're seeing a slight improvement to the same period in 2013.

Why is this happening?

The first obvious question to ask is, how much did the website change structurally during the 2012 period? Meaning how easy is it for a bot (e.g. googlebot) to index content on my website (vs before the change)?

A quick visit to the internet archive using the wayback machine gives us the answer.


CSTruter 2010

2010 - Second Quarter

CSTruter 2010 Second Quater

In 2010 I changed the structure (look and feel) of the website during the second quarter of the year, while keeping the URL structure the same. I only changed the look and feel of the website again at the end of 2014, when I migrated to Bootstrap 3.0 as seen below.

2014 - December

CSTruter 2014 December

Therefore it is fairly safe to assume that the decline experienced during 2012 is not structural related.

I am however slightly concerned about the period following the December 2014 revamp of the website, but it is possibly not related to the decline in visitors.

Another obvious question one should ask is, how much new content did I add to the website during this time? An inactive website will most probably experience a drop in visitors?

New Content Added

Well shit...

There is clearly a strong correlation between the decline of visitors and new content being added to the website.  To echo a post I wrote back in January 2007, content is king and that is the crux of the problem here.

Nonetheless I am still concerned about the period following December 2014, the content I added in that time (which is a great deal more than the whole of 2012-2014 combined) had no effect, in fact January 2016 started out as one of the lowest months in many years.

Personally I also feel that the content I added in 2015 is the best content on this website to date. But that said, how relevant is the topics that I discussed in my latest posts really?

Observe the following chart painfully extracted from Google Trends (their CSV export is practically useless at the moment)

Google Trends Extract

In my latest posts I focussed a lot on TypeScript and AngularJS, which seems to be a lot less "trendy" than all the other "topics" I used to write about. Also when I look at my most visited posts via my now resurrected Google Analytics account, it confirms this trend in my micro statistical environment.

Where to from here?

The most important thing I learned from all of this is that it is important to keep my website active and alive with new content (no brainer), content is still king. With regards to trends, I am not going to stop writing about topics like TypeScript and AngularJS etc, since I do believe they are important technologies.

But I need to continue writing about the topics that initially brought people to this website, while finding new topics to write about, seeing that the interest in my older topics seem to be in decline as well (as pointed out by the trends chart).

From a SEO perspective, I need to stay up to date with happenings, e.g. the use of Canonical tags, the growing importance of Mobile devices (responsive design), just to name a few.

At the end of the day, I don't really care about how many visitors I receive, I am more concerned about keeping my skills relevant and up to date in an ever changing industry.

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