On the 30th April, 2008, I made the decision to start blogging. My first ever entry Blogging Goes Live - Great Firewall of China gives some background on why I took to the blogosphere, but predominately it was to keep a running kind of diary of our times in Singapore and to keep our families and friends back home (in Australia and China) updated on what's been happening in our lives.
My self-commitment was to try and write one blog entry each and every day (and aside from a few minor hiccups, have in most part managed to achieve this goal). The difficulty here is to find something to write about on 'slow' family and local news days. As time has gone by, I decided to amuse myself and my ever-growing population of readers and subscribers by adding articles that I found interesting (regardless of the direction this might take my blog) to complement the local stuff. Now six months down the track, the Aussie Pete blog has just grown out of all proportions to what I could ever have expected - all just by spending half an hour each night to update the blog.
Sometime in May, I subscribed to the 'Site Meter' website analysis data, to keep track of how much traffic was hitting the blog, from where in the world this traffic derived and from which referrers. As a result of this data tracking, I can proudly say that I have arrived at what I consider to be a key milestone in the life of Aussie Pete blog - November will see well above 10,000 unique visitors hitting the home page and various articles:
May, 2008 - 93 Unique Visitors (not a full month of measurement)
Jun, 2008 - 2,425 Unique Visitors
Jul, 2008 - 2,844 Unique Visitors
Aug, 2008 - 4,356 Unique Visitors
Sep, 2008 - 6,681 Unique Visitors
Oct, 2008 - 9,006 Unique Visitors
Nov, 2008 - Already exceeding 9,000 by the 23rd and forecasting at least 12,000 or more
(NB: This does not include the hundreds of daily readers subscribed through rss feeds - I am also keeping track of your growth as well)
Also in late September, the blog was ranked by the Google Page ranking algorithm for the first time, and came in at a very healthy 'first-time' Page Rank of '3'. As most webmasters will be aware, the most significant contributing factor to page rank is back-links (website that link to pages within my blog - the higher the page rank of the page linking in, the more 'juice' is contributed to the blog site). According to 'future' page rank tools, it is forecast that Aussie Pete blog will achieve a page rank of '4' in the next round of updates by Google.
This leads me to the referring sites - around 27% of the 10K+ visits per month are arriving via search engines (google, yahoo, ask and live search predominately - among others). This can be attributed mostly to the increasing page rank of the site. Other referrals (of which are too numerous to mention here), are direct bookmarks, forums linking in (to which I thank the webmasters sincerely for allowing my avatars to post links for - often heated - discussion and traffic), other bloggers, websites, news services, blog aggregators, etc etc etc - I will try and give some credit with returned links in a future article... if I miss someone's site, it will not be intentional, please drop me an email and let me know that you have linked in to me.
Some key visitor statistics (these are only representative, as they are 'snapshots' in time over just a couple of hundred visitors):
As anyone that runs a website will tell you, trying to make money from affiliate advertising will not allow anyone to retire early, or to become "instant millionaires". So although I have links to various banner and affililates (eg. adbrite / amazon), it's really only just as a bit of fun - I think I'll be lucky this year to just cover the cost of the domains and hosting.
Having said that, as the blog has been increasing in traffic, so has the exposure to various marketing firms and PR agencies that see blogs as one of the highest returns on investment when it comes to 'viral' type marketing - it is a way to get at what they call the 'digital natives' (internet users that did not ever know life before digital medium, mobile phones, the internet). Global organizations such as Alexa and even the good old search engines offer information up to the firms to target bloggers to promote products, events, travel, accommodation (and just about anything else).
As a result of this and the contact made to me from various firms, there will from time to time in the future, be articles written and published on Aussie Pete that will be sort of in the form of 'blogvertorials' and will critique various products, events and others... this will generate both a little bit of extra cash (note the word "little") as well as give me the opportunity to partake in some nifty new media and products - remember, this is my half hour a day hobby... I have a real job that demands huge amounts of time and travel.
THE MAKEOVER - for all loyal readers, you will notice a major change in the way the blogsite looks... this is a sort of 'reward' to the blog for the good work and traffic it's been generating. Please feel free to offer any feedback - good or bad.