Time to Shake Things Up

Like most people who have a blog, I check the activity stats periodically to see what’s happening on the site. My blog runs on my installation of WordPress, and I use the statistics suite that WordPress.com offers for both sites they host as well as those that are self-hosted. The questions these stats answer are fairly typical:

  • What pages are people looking at?
  • How are people finding my site?
  • What search terms do people use to that lead them to my site?
  • From what countries are readers viewing my site?

In April I noticed a huge jump in traffic. Now, keep in mind, that a huge jump on my site means traffic went from a daily average of 40 viewers and 150 page views to around 150 viewers and 350 page views. That’s pretty exciting. When I checked what people were viewing, however, it wasn’t because of my blog posts about TechEd or what I’m doing at work. It wasn’t because of my Project 365 photos. It was almost all because of my cruise cam pages.

“What is a cruise cam?” you ask. Cruise cams are webcams that are located on cruise ships. As you might know, I’m a big fan of cruise vacations. To help ease the pain of being between sailings, I created pages that display all the web cams for a cruise line. Want to see all the ships in the Princess Cruises fleet? Go here. A fan of Cunard? Go here. You can see the rest of the pages by at the Cruise Cams link at the top of this page.

It turned out the big surge in traffic coincided with the christening of Norwegian Cruise Lines’s newest ship, Norwegian Breakaway. People were excited about Breakaway, searched online (using Bing of course) and wound up on my site. Surprisingly the traffic levels have been consistent, staying at the new higher levels. Unfortunately, the increased traffic doesn’t provide much benefit. I don’t have any ads on the pages, so there isn’t any extra revenue. I doubt the people watching the cruise cams have much interest in any of my technology posts, so that traffic isn’t increasing. There may be some overlap, but it’s minimal at best. In fact, the traffic drowns out the other activity on the site and makes it difficult to see how the rest of the site is doing.

So… Why do you care about any of this? After some conversations I had during TechEd a couple of weeks ago, I’ve decided to refocus my blog towards IT topics. That’s my goal at least. As part of that switch, I’m going to move some of the other content to new sites. Here’s what’s happening:

  • The cruise cam pages will be moving to a new site: http://cruisecams.ladewig.com (The site isn’t up yet, so keep your eyes open if you’re so inclined.)
  • My Project 365 photos are moving to a Tumblr called Ladewig 365

The Project 365 site is up and running now, so if you’ve been following along, please continue to check-in on my progress. I’m several weeks behind on uploading photos, so I’m using the new site as a way to jump start that activity. If you’re not familiar with Project 365, the goal is to take and post one photograph per day for an entire year. This year I’m focusing on items from my swag collection (on weekdays) and general life (weekends). I haven’t decided yet if I’ll actually delete the Project 365 posts that are already up. I’m leaning that way, but I need to think that over a bit more. There’s just something that seems wrong about deleting 100+ posts from the blog.

The cruise pages will be next to move. I had hoped to move them to WordPress.com, but the restrictions on what you can do makes it difficult to recreate the pages. I’ll probably setup another WordPress instance on my host for these pages.

Once that gets wrapped up, the hard part begins. Stay tuned…