A Blogging Experiment

I am generally interested in how things work or why things happen the way they do.

On my list of things to mentally explore is how this blog got to where it is today.  Not that it is hugely popular, but I get my share of page views and unique visitors plus enough links to the site to get a Google page rank of 5.  A modest achievement on the web, but decent relative to the amount of effort involved.

And when I look back on how things evolved, there was a good deal of luck involved.  Things could have gone different.  How much different is tough question.  How do I measure it?

I could start writing another blog with a similar format under a different name.  That would require unique content, an order likely too big for me to fill.  Double my output?  Not going to happen.  I have enough alts to know how too many projects drag them all down together.

Or I supposed I could start over on a new site under a new name.  Killing off this site in the name of science isn’t exactly what I wanted though.

I considered just reposting everything I post here at another site, under another name, with no reciprocal linkage.  I still might do that.  It sounds interesting.  On the other hand other sites have done that to me already and I am not sure it was the path to success for them.

What I ended up doing was creating a different sort of blog.  While not a parallel experience, I thought another point of view might give me some insight into the fresh blog experience.

And thus EVE Online Pictures was born one year ago.  I figured the whole picture thing worked so well for Karen at Journeys with Jaye and her ventures in Vanguard, so why not give it a try?

So I pulled yet another old handle out of the bin and got to work.

I rolled up the new site on WordPress.com with a different template, put up a bunch of EVE Online related links in the side bar including RSS feeds from a few EVE focused news sources and  began posting pictures.

No was writing was involved.  Or not much.  Some times I cannot help myself.  But no walls of text in any case.  After a bit I settled down to posting two or three pictures a week.  Once in a while I did something a little different, like a Christmas Card post, or a meme response,  or a week-long tribute to EVE Online classic graphics, which went away with Apocrypha.

I did not push much for publicity.  I put the site on the blogroll here and linked to it three or four times over course of the year.  Mostly I just posted pictures and watched what happened.

And what did happen?

Well, I have some measurements and observations.

Comparing first years, the new site received about 15% as much traffic as this one.  That was not unexpected.  There was no early VirginWorlds recognition moment like there was here, nothing to give the site a substantial push in the right direction.  Luck wasn’t there for me.

Still, the site starting building traffic over time and has garnered a fair share of links and blogroll placings.  If I look at the traffic after a year, the site is about where this site was three months into its existence.  Daily traffic is about 5% of what it is at TAGN now.

Most traffic comes from sites that link to EVE Online Pictures.  Google, which has been exceedingly kind in directing traffic here has not been quite so generous with the new site.  Even my plan to corner the search engine usage of the phrase “click to enlarge” seems to have been thwarted by Viagra spammers.

Comments are pretty rare.  I picture the site being like a gallery where the visitors speak in hushed tones, if at all.

All of which is interesting, but I probably could have predicted it to a certain extent.

And now what?

I think I am going to leave things as they are.  Putting up two or three pictures a week from EVE Online isn’t a burden.  I take screenshots constantly in game.  I am a space tourist.  I end up spending about an hour going through recent shots to queue up 5-8 pictures for the blog.

I am not going to change my handle over there.  Anybody who missed this post (or saw it and said TL;dr) won’t know it is me posting to both blogs.  And I will see how things go.  Maybe I’ll get a few more comments!

And despite posting all those pictures from EVE Online, I have never managed to get around to sending one in for Zapatero’s EON EVE Postcard contests.  Silly me.

12 thoughts on “A Blogging Experiment

  1. CrazyKinux

    Interesting experiment indeed. Have you thought about the theme or screenshot format as one of the reason the site didn’t pick-up as much traffic as you expected?

    Your screenshots being a bit small, the visual impact might not have been what you would have expected.

    Just my 2 cents. Glad you’ll continue to forge ahead and put them screenies for our pleasure.



  2. syncaine

    You could always declare a Friday Blog War between the two sites. Just post some crazy EVE shot, and make a post here calling it out as carebear, then have your second site fight back (but only through pictures). Instant traffic and mega blog profits!


  3. Cj Didge

    Well i never, i’ve been following both sites for a while and had no idea you did both, Eve online pictures started a bug with me were im always takeing shots of random stuff. Not sure how i got there, i think it was through the eve tribune, or a similar site, but not through this one. :P


  4. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @KK – If you only look at the thumbnail via RSS, it does not get counted. If you actually open the screen shot to full size it does.

    @CK – Are you saying the thumbnails are too small or the pictures themselves? I kept the thumbnails a moderate size so the page would not take too long to load, something I have heard people complain about on other sites.

    @Syncaine – Well, for the first year I wanted to see how traffic evolved if I just behaved like a normal person. Now, in year 2 I can photoshop ships attacking the Darkfall logo and claim to be Edward Harvey Zitron.

    @CJ – The funny thing is that, from my perspective I was always worried that somebody would note that I would post a tale of EVE here and then on the same day post a picture of the very ship of which I spoke. A pretty small and unlikely worry, I’m sure.


  5. crazykinux

    I’d probably double their width from 300 to 600px and would have only 3 screenshots load at a time, instead of your current 7 screenshots.

    This way they have a bigger visual impact and you’re not impacting the size and loading time of your blog.


  6. HarbingerZero

    Well this solves the mystery of how I ended up on the blogroll over there! Its a creative idea both in its conception and execution. I’ve particularly enjoyed the titles of the pictures.


  7. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @HZ – I am actually going to claim “inevitable discovery” for you being on that blog roll. I have the “EVE Online” category RSS feed listed on the side bar and I watch that for new EVE blogs. Of course, I am also the one who suggested that you use that tag, so I guess I made that discovery inevitable.

    Glad you like the site!


  8. We Fly Spitfires

    Very interesting article! I find the whole SEO/Internet Marketing thing quite fascinating – check out Shoe Money’s blog for interest – even though I absolutely suck at it :)

    I’m guessing the reasons for it’s poorer penetration is because Eve has a smaller audience than a general MMORPG blog, images don’t contribute so much to SEO as articles do and also you didn’t actively promote it (to point out the obvious!).

    I wonder how the stats will look now after this article?


  9. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    But of course, this article was the next stage of the experiment. After a year, what happens if I claim the blog here in a post, but otherwise let things move along as before?

    The day of this post lead to a “best day ever” for page views, more than doubling the past record. But will it lead to a permanent boost in readership? I suspect that a picture blog about EVE probably has a pretty well defined regular audience, and some of it was already subscribed to the site.


  10. misc

    I think your “X Factor” for TAGN is your personable story-telling writing style… something that’s obviously not part of your picture blog.

    I think that alone explains the difference in traffic.


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