Let’s just say that I won’t be doing any more business with dreamhost. Â And I can’t recommend that anyone else do business with them either. Â Without getting into the details they are responsible for tomorrowland.com being down for almost two weeks, and never showed any concern about it, or a real reason why it was shut down, which has lead me to finally move away from them and shared hosting to a dedicated server at another company. Â Of course this brings new technical challenges, like maintaining a whole server, but it should be fun and educational and I expect that now we’ll be good for a while.
October 20, 2008 – now
Five days shy of a year ago I reinvented my blog, decided to extend myself some grace, just try to have fun with it, and focused the site on all the technology that’s in my life and makes our lives more fun. Â Back then I made a commitment to myself to update my blog every day. Â Except for weekends, holidays, and the occasional day here and there I did a good job keeping it up for quite a long while.
But for the most part blog posts were written very late at night. Â And daily blogging wears on a person, especially when you see various levels of success (and failure) in terms of traffic, and basically no revenue from ads. Â So over time my updates slowed and eventually came to a stop.
And let’s talk about ad revenue for a moment. Â Because in my opinion Google AdSense is a scam for honest site owners. Â (By honest I mean following the contract and not clicking on your own ads and not trading daily clicks with fellow bloggers.) Â In the past year, from October 22, 2008 through October 15, 2009, Google AdSense shows that I gave them 103,994 page impressions. Â Not too shabby. Â In that year I had 225 clicks and earned $83.28. Â However, because Google won’t cut a check unless you reach $100, I’ve not seen any of that green.
I also have other ads on my site. Â I have an amazon ad that I made myself which links to Amazon using my associates code. Â That ad has probably been there fore about 6 months, was clicked on about 5 times, and never resulted in a purchase, meaning no revenue. Â I also had an ad for dreamhost, which also never resulted in any revenue.
This has led me to the idea that I might as well remove all the ads and just do it for the love. Â The fact is that I’ve only ever had the goal of using the ads to cover the cost of the site. Â And of course the cost just shot up 5 fold because of the server change.
I won’t be shy with the rest of the numbers… On an average day (before the takedown of ’09) I got about 400 unique visitors (as reported by Google Analytics), which I feel is a decent following. Â In terms of web traffic and server usage this is a very small site. Â To put it in bandwidth terms, last moth I used about 75 GB of bandwidth. Â Again, a very modest number. Â I now have a whole server mostly dedicated to serving this site.
Grace, Success and Failure
Grace came from the fact that I had been getting hung up on the possibility of making mistakes and it was causing a serious block. Â So I decided to give myself the freedom to make mistakes, misspell words, have bad grammar, etc. Â And luckily when I started no one was reading anyway, so who cared if I made mistakes. Â The freedom is why I can write this entry off the cuff. Â Because if I had to plan it out and write it properly it would never get done. Â Grace to move forward and not care what people think.
Success and Failure is often self-judged by page views. Â And once a random post gets a ton of hits overnight, that becomes the new standard by which all other posts are judged.Â What is weird is that the posts that I expected to get picked up by engadget or gizmodo and do well usually didn’t. Â It wasn’t something that I could control. Â And some of the posts that I put the most effort and love into also didn’t get a lot of hits.
The biggest hit is my review of the Sony Webbie HD camera, which as of today has been hit over 42,000 times. Â And of course my dell mini 9 leopard install was also a hit at over 12,000 views (plus about 20,000 on youtube). Â Oh and my favorite is a post where all I did was ASK if anyone has opinions on Plex vs Boxee vs XBMC. Â That post has hit over 4,000 times and has high results in google. Â And actually that one has made me want to focus more on the discussion of home media players, which I still plan to do.
Some of my ‘failures’ (ok, let’s call them disappointments) would be the Cat Genie review, which I worked hard on, and the paint on screen stuff – wow I worked REALLY hard on those posts. Â But another disappointment was the first Podcast. Â Without the 42,000 hits on the webbie camera post, these other numbers would have seemed respectable to me. But in comparison they’re poor and disappointing. Â Perspective? Â This post will get read about 10 or 20 times, and most people wont read this far. Â So blogging has to be done for yourself and if people read it fine, and if they don’t fine.
The most recent change came in June when I posted what was supposed to be the first of many video podcasts. Â I worked extremely hard on the video, had to put myself out there by being on screen, and then worked on customizing my own video player module. Â I still have many plans for video and hope that they’ll be the future of this site. Â But it will take me accepting the mentality that I had a year ago with writing and apply it to the videos. Â I can be a perfectionist when it comes to video because it’s my field. Â So we’ll see where that leads me over the next year.