Browsing articles from "December, 2011"

Twenty Eleven Recap: #9 – Ninefold Increase in Visitors

Dec 22, 2011
Mark
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Nine months ago, I launched Mithril and Mages to alleviate traffic hitting my soda straw home network connection. Traffic was sparse at first but has increased month after month. The first few months had less than 20 page views a day. Now, the daily average for December is slightly under 200.

The majority of the visitors are to the utility and random generator pages. Roughly a third of them visit more than one page per visit. I’m quite happy with those numbers at the end of my inaugural calendar year. Based on the trend, 2012 should continue the upward curve.

The numbers could have been better if I had spent even a token amount of time on promoting the site. Self promotion isn’t in my nature. I let word of mouth and the search engines do the work for me.

Thanks to all 11,000 visitors over the last 9 months. Without you, I wouldn’t be energized to continue. The continuous up-tick in traffic motivates me.


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Looking Deeper: Haphazard Branding

Dec 21, 2011
Mark
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As part of the 2011 recap series, I have spent a lot of time looking at various statistics for the site. I’ve stared at graphs, charts, and tables multiple times trying to discern exactly what has been popular, when and why. Buried below the popular, hidden between the visits, something cool was lurking. Mithril and Mages has shifted from a complete unknown and became a queried resource. The name has become a brand.

As I’ve mentioned several times, the bulk of my traffic is search engine driven. I try to take a look at web stats once a week. Generally, I only look at the top-tier of pages, searches, and affiliated information. What escaped me, until now, was that people were actually searching for the site.

Search terms like ‘mithril mage’ (I need a picture of that), ‘mithril mages’, ‘mithril and mages’ , ‘mithril mages medieval’, etc. are interspersed in the results. Along with queries using the full site name and even specific utilities.

Granted, the numbers are not huge. Having the term actually be a search keyword means I did things correctly: Produced something worth visiting again and having a site moniker people remember.

Realizing it made my night.


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Twenty Eleven Recap: #10 – Fine Five Referring Sites

Dec 21, 2011
Mark
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Everyone likes page views and visitors. I especially enjoy when something I’ve generated is sufficiently useful to be worthy of a link. I would be amiss to not mention them. Thanks to everyone who added a link to what I produced, wrote, or aggregated.

goblinoidgames.com’s forums

Sure, most of the traffic was via my own posts. The utilities were deemed worthy enough to be stickied forum topics.

korpg.com

KORPG was where I previously wrote random thoughts. Kevin’s site still sends traffic my direction week after week. Thanks, Kevin.

rpgba.org

The fine folk of the RPGBA are #3 on the referral list. I joined a few weeks after launching M&M. I’m proud to be a minor member of the fine community.

uhluhtcawakens.blogspot.com

One mention resulted in my top blog post for the year. How cool is that?

odd74.proboards.com

My utilities got mentioned a couple of times. When they do, I get a spike in traffic. Excellent discussion of the Original Edition rules along with other topics.

Thanks to everyone else who mentioned my site in 2011. Without the vote of confidence, Mithril and Mages would not be what it is today.


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Twenty Eleven Recap: #11 – Top Blog Post

Dec 20, 2011
Mark
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My most popular post of the year was the review of ROTWORLD. The post ROTWORLD – Gut Reaction happened to be the first review of the system. I didn’t even consider it a proper review — just a semi-organized impression of the system after reading it quickly.

The runner up was my introduction of the Labyrinth Lord Resource List. Compared to the current list, the original post was very sparse. The current list spans 5 different pages including everything mentioned in the 4th runner up post, 60+ Labyrinth Lord Modules.


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First *2: jQuery Condensed & Kindle Owner’s Lending Library

Dec 19, 2011
Mark
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Tinkering is in my nature. After dabbling with jQuery under WordPress a bit, I wandered away impressed but also with the realization I was clueless about what it could do. Darting between tutorials only confounded my understanding. The basics were still eluding me.

So I went to Amazon to check on titles and see which texts were recommended. I flipped around quite a bit. None of the works really stuck out as superior to the next. Then I stumbled upon jQuery Condensed by Jakob Jenkov. It was available for the Kindle. Additionally, it was available for free as part of the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library.

I’d never read a programming book on the Kindle. I also had never seen a title available for checkout. Free equates to nothing to lose. I checked out the text on the kindle. Then spent the entire afternoon reading through the first half of the book during a lazy football watching Sunday afternoon.

After about 3 chapters, I realized not only was the book useful but the formatting was fine. My intent was to speed-read through a good overview of jQuery and the book covered it well. I also wanted brief examples. Massive listing of examples wasn’t going to be useful via the Kindle. They still are not but the author did a stupendous job keeping examples brief and still legible. For a few, I had to drop the font size to see the entire example.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of information and the attention to the presentation. The author’s intention for the text and attention to the detail made it readable, understandable, and more importantly — useful.

I’ve long been a fan of electronic formats. Do they work for everything? No. Would I have tried an electronic version of a programming text if it wasn’t offered for free? Probably not. After trying it, I now would. More importantly, by trying and succeeding, the author transitioned me from a potential customer into an actual customer.

Can it work for role playing games? Absolutely. For everything? Of course not. Early publishers adapting will benefit even if the rewards are not on the immediate horizon. The capabilities of the format are going to continue to increase. PDF’s were not all that capable originally.

I’m off to search out the fringe RPG publisher. Then I’m going to see if they’ll loan me a book.


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Less is More

Dec 18, 2011
Mark
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A common complaint about the original list of resources for Labyrinth Lord was it was presented as a wall of text. The list went on and on. The layout didn’t make it easy to find specific items and was difficult to just browse through.

The list was broken into individual pages with specific categories of links a while back. Doing so helped but the list of modules was still huge. To rectify the situation, I rolled out a page layout without the sidebar, which allows for significantly more screen real-estate. I then migrated the module information into a simple table with brief descriptions. Adding sorting capability improved navigation so readers could quickly drill down to elements of interest.

The initial descriptions were very terse; they did not provide enough detail. Still, inserting the original verbosity was not a good solution. Ideally, full descriptions should be available but hidden unless desired.

Enter jQuery and More/Less hidden element expansion. Getting it working was a challenge. Use inside of WordPress is slightly different than on static pages. After a while of struggling, the final solution was a trivial bit of javascript. The new format for the Labyrinth Lord Module List is a significant improvement.

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Breakage Complete

Dec 15, 2011
Mark
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The main task was to hack up the original theme to allow single column pages. WordPress 3.3 has issues with new page templates. Working around that took a while.

I also moved all the CSS and primary theme files into source control so I can tweak, revert, tweak again, and repeat. You know, so when I bork it completely, reversion is easy.


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