The State of the Website — Feb 7, 2014

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Chris Hilbig.com State of the Website graphic

Welcome to this year’s State of the Website. For those of you who haven’t read the previous State of the Website from last year, this is my review of ChrisHilbig.com and its performance. Honestly, I do this more for myself than for the entertainment of my readership. You may like it or think this is a waste of time. I’ll be optimistic about this.

 

Let’s Start with a Little Housekeeping…

Okay, it’s been a little over a year since starting this “project” back in December of 2012. When I first conceived the idea for this, I think it was done out of desperation. I was in a pretty crappy situation both mentally and financially.  I may not be a millionaire yet, but I’m in a better place than I was a year ago. I’m currently writing an off-topic ebook, one of many books swimming around inside my head. I want to release that within the next month. Hopefully I can continue with another strong effort in the wonderful world of freelancing. I also want to make another strong effort for ChrisHilbig.com.

In 2013, WordPress, blogging, and social media has been a continual learning process. At first it seemed like I was riding by the seat of my pants just figuring stuff out. I spent, I think, over seven months believing that this site’s Facebook page was “published” only to find out that the damn thing never went live in the first place. Eventually the learning curve has smoothed out, and now I spend most of my time worrying over stupid errors. And I’m perfectly fine with that.

I’m very grateful for WordPress and the efforts from the WordPress developers. WordPress does have its many quirks, but once you get over them, this software will make life easier on you in so many ways. I think the biggest issue that I have had at this point in time is manipulate themes. I’m not much of a coder, so it’ll take some time before I can learn to produce a design that I want.

I still suck at SEO.  Most of 2013 has been spent stumbling in the dark trying to attract viewers. I wasted a ton of money on an SEO course (which involved drop-shipping for whatever reason) and Google changes the rules. Stuffed that used to matter, such as using keywords all over your post now don’t even matter. At this point in time, I don’t even care any more. And if you email me claiming you’re good enough to do SEO for me, I won’t believe you. Maybe if I stumble across a great online marketing strategy that’s not obsolete by the time I find it… Oh, well. It’s all good.

The State of the Website

Over all, I think ChrisHilbig.com has had a pretty good year. I basically started from scratch and eventually built the site has built its way up to 11,792 views in 2013. (According to WordPress.com)  My most popular post has been one of my first, A Crash Course in Inkscape. It has been so popular, the good people at Inkscape.org thought it was good enough to post a link to. I am very grateful for the traffic. The second most popular post on this website has also been one of my first, How to Make Screen Tones! – Part 1. For whatever reason, my audience loves part 1 but not part 2 so much. Strangely people also gravitate to Yes, You Too Can Draw! – Ch 7 — Measure With Your Pencil.  I honestly need to study that post to figure out what I’ve gotten right.

The top five nations visiting this website are the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Spain, and Germany. People from a total of 121 nations have frequented this website. Down the line I’d like to learn enough Spanish or some other language to post articles in another language. There is software that does translate content on the fly, but unfortunately software has as of yet to overcome the nuances  that each language brings.

WordPress.com emailed me this really nice annual report with more statistical information and a really neat layout. They used 0 Flash to create all of the special effects.

 

Social Media and Stuff

ChrisHilbig.com is represent on virtually every social media platform. Gary Vaynerchuk recommends in his book, Crush It!, to constantly work social media as much as possible. I guess this is to my discredit, but I don’t completely get social media. I’ve heard what it’s capable of, but I can’t seem to connect the dots correctly. Yet even if I did have type of free time necessary, I’d get sick of social media in a hurry. Or in up in a flame-war with some douche-bag. Social media feels like being a troll on a forum or message board. So I’m better off working on something. Like writing another article for this website.

I seem to have a love-hate relationship with Reddit. I don’t hate it as much as I often times find the website finicky. I get great traffic from it. Yet when submitting links, it can get overly picky. Sometimes it seems like it rejects submissions seemingly at random or for no legit reason. My current policy is to submit links on an occasional basis.

I would like to make more videos for YouTube. As of current, I lack what I feel are the proper tools to produce quality content. The first two videos I tried that technique where you record on the fly and hope it doesn’t suck. The last time around, I tried a ton of editing in Apple’s iMovie. But the limitations in iMovie make editing video difficult. I have tried looking for an open-source alternative. So far there isn’t one that’ll function on the Mac. I’m considering plunking down the $50 USD every month for access to Adobe AfterEffects. We’ll see.

Zemanta has been a mixed bag. I think it’s great that there’s an easy way to share links with other bloggers. Plus there are a lot of great posts out there that are getting little notice. From the perspective of a webmaster, it’s great for building up links, but not for building up traffic.

 

What About the Future?

My focus will of course be on the Yes, You Too Can Draw! and Inkscape Experiments. There’s a lot of room to grow for both of these series.  I’d like to do more reviews. I currently have a stack of books I need to read and do reviews on. Speaking of books, I have one that I need to write that’ll be related to inking. But that will be way down the road. My goal is to be close to completing it by the end of 2014. But that point, I’ll have posted a few related articles covering the same topic.

I also want to make it easier to post comments on this website. I’m considering either using the Facebook plugin or plugging in Disqus. I’m not completely enthusiastic due to all of the potential annoyances that may pop up. But at the same time, I don’t want to punish the people who want to post legit comments, making it more difficult than it needs to be.

I will also post articles on topics that inspire me. They’ll often times seem random. For example, I have plan so write an article on my experiences using gouache. I always wanted to paint with gouache and have certain expectations for the medium. I’ll let you know how my expectations matched reality.

 

Thank You!

I want to thank all of you for taking the time to visit my humble little website. If you wish to directly support this website, please click on one of my Amazon links or click on one of my Google ads every now and then. Thanks!

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