Daily Archives: May 8, 2021

Pondering my Teenage Internet Spaceship Picture Blog

As some of you may recall, I actually have two active blogs. (And a few inactive ones.)  There is this one and EVE Online Pictures, both of which have been around and active for more than a decade.

The original banner for the blog back in 2008

In fact, EVE Online Pictures will hit the 13 year mark later on this month.  For some reason I thought it was today when I set out to write this… I probably mixed up May 2008 with May 8th or something… but we’re close enough for me to carry on.  And that is kind of a long time to run.  The site pre-dates DOTLAN EVE Maps by a couple months.

That blog started as an experiment in blogging, a tale I covered at the five year anniversary, and then kind of carried on for a while. Eventually it had been around long enough that it served as a vehicle to get me into the fansite program.  But the fansite program is gone, and I did not make the cut for the new program, so now it is just a place where I post some screen shots regularly.  That has led me to wonder if it is even worth the effort.

In favor of keeping it is the fact that it isn’t all that onerous of task to post three screen shots a week, my current posting tempo.  The most difficult aspect of that is just me being picky about what gets posted and trying not to post a bunch of the same thing in a row and keeping to a general philosophy of trying to find pictures of things that are cool of things or situations that maybe not everybody has seen.

The abundance of “fleet bridging off of a titan” shots is probably telling.  I have been doing that regularly for almost 10 years now and I still think it is a spectacle worth sharing.

Then again, there are more than a few screen shots of Jita 4-4, which is probably a location more people have seen than any other in the game, so clearly that philosophy might need some tuning.

Anyway, by merely lowering my standards a bit, and given all the screen shots I have taken over the years, I could probably keep posting pictures for the rest of my natural life even if I stopped playing the game today.

The downside of carrying on is that almost nobody visits the blog.

It was never as popular as this blog.  Even at its peak in late 2012 it was barely closing in on 200 page views a day, while this site was around 2,000, back during the last gasp of blogging being popular.   The peak day logged 959 page views, thanks to CCP linking to me in regards to an image they used.  This blog, for comparison, still passes that number regularly.

The peak times ended when the Google image search change came in.  Google was the source for most of the site’s traffic, though the top posts might indicate that perhaps I wasn’t always getting people who were looking for EVE Online related item.  The top five most popular posts are:

  1. B-R5RB Infographic
  2. Space Cockroach
  3. Sansha Battle Station
  4. Asteroid Mining Station
  5. The Maze Complex

Three of those five aren’t even screen shots I took.

Then, in January 2013, Google changed their image search model so that kept cached versions of images and would simply display a larger version of the image you clicked on rather than sending you to the hosting site, and traffic fell off rather sharply.

Traffic is now low enough… down to about 20 page views a day during slow months, which is a step or two down from even the slow times I recorded at the 10 year anniversary… that a single person scrolling down through pictures… infinite scroll for the win… can influence the page view count.  I had a month a while back where, looking at the stats, somebody scrolled back through every picture.  That was the month with the most page views for the whole year.

Traffic is low.  Comments are almost non-existant unless I mistake a Stratios for an Astero (which I have done twice).  The most feedback I get is over on Tumblr, where all my images get re-posted automatically, where a couple of people will like a post and occasionally somebody will re-post one to their own thread.

Does traffic matter?

I have said, for this blog, that I would keep on as I have done even as traffic has fallen off, and have pretty much kept to that.  The peak of this blog, when it comes to traffic and comments and whatever, was back in 2013 as well.  It has been mostly downhill since then.  Meanwhile, I have posted for more than 400 days in a row… WP.com keeps me abreast of my posting streak… and my word count per post has continued to rise.  It is almost as if more words means fewer page views!

However, what I write here is mostly for me or a few select individuals.  Everybody else is invited along for the ride, but only my attendance is mandatory to keep going.

With screen shots… not so much.  There are some images over there that are meaningful… but generally, those same images get used over here as well, often in a post describing the context that makes them meaningful.  As much as I love to inject screen shots into my posts… and I do that do excess because they often bring back the emotions of the moment… it is the words around them that set the context that matter more.

And then there is WP.com itself, which has made having a picture blog more annoying over time.  I did finally find a way to post a screen shot that let you click on it and see a bigger version with an option to see the full size version.  You have to use the new block editor… I hate it for actual writing, but for posting a screen shot I can deal with it… then remember to dig down and set the image link correct… which I forget to do about half the time… and then it sort of works.  Otherwise it won’t let you view the image in a larger for, or constricts it into a frame that is a big ad for “start a blog!”  I miss the old days when you could just click on an image and see the full size raw if you wanted, because most of these screen shots really should be viewed in a larger frame that the blog allows.  But, then again, as noted above, almost nobody even shows up at the blog and somebody actually clicking on an image to view it’s full size form is so rare as to be almost a once a year occurrence.

So I have hit a point of malaise when it comes to EVE Online Pictures.  Thirteen years is a long time to do anything consistently and I am starting to feel tired of doing it.  I have, on occasion, tried to make it more than a screen shot blog, posting the latest videos from CCP or noting events or updates.  But I really do that here for the most part, so I tended to slip back rather that be redundant.

If I could go back in time and give myself some blogging advice, right after suggesting that I find a better name for this blog, and just forgetting about that pizza blog idea, I’d tell myself just to make screen shots a regular feature here rather than devoting a whole blog to the idea.  Better to consolidate in one location.

Then again, I wonder if I would have been so diligent about categorizing screen shots by ship faction and tagging them all by hull type. (The Avatar titan is the most tagged hull on the site, appearing 121 of the approximately two thousand screen shots there.)

Getting back to where I started, having meandered down the page, I have been thinking about the future of that blog.  I get tired just thinking about it right now, but I wonder if I will regret it later if I stop.  I suspect that habit will carry me forward for a while longer, along with a war that is still giving me plenty of material.  But the war will end some day, though I might be tired enough of New Eden at that point that I’ll want a break from there as well.