Site Update: 2 Million Views & Site Future

Readers may have noticed recently that my posting schedule has become rather erratic and sometimes posts have been getting rather thin on the ground. This is because I’ve been extraordinarily busy behind the scenes, and a few things had happened, including a visit to my supervisors’ farm over one weekend, and a one-week trip to Canberra to present at the Asia-Pacific Solar Research Conference 2016 at ANU. Aside from that, I still have a number of review and analysis commitments which are in progress.

However, that being said, it’s probably a good time to keep the posts coming and acknowledge an important personal milestone.

Two Million Views Milestone

2milviews

In the early morning hours of 24th November 2016 (roughly 4am), the site reached its 2-millionth view since launching at goughlui.com on 25th January 2013. To celebrate, the site banner had been changed at that time to instead display the following:

gtzlogo-2mveOf course, this couldn’t have happened without the power of the internet, which keeps us all connected; the help of a number of search engines in helping users discover relevant information; and the readers themselves, a number of whom return on a nearly regular basis to see what sort of random post I will end up putting up next. As you would probably have guessed, I’m thankful for each and every reader who comes by and spends some time perusing the articles I put up. This really makes it worthwhile for me, especially if they leave some insightful comments behind. I can’t say that every comment has been a pleasure to read, but the vast majority are.

As I’ve mentioned many times before – the main intention was merely as a place for me to document my own tests, results and as a reference for me and my friends. As it turns out, it seems this information is useful to a lot more people than I had imagined, although its intended audience still remains the more technical people.

To put that into perspective, if I had to have a three minute conversation to answer a question from every one of these views, that would be about 11.4 years of my life spent, assuming I needed no sleep at all. It’s a good thing that servers don’t sleep …

Compared to the past, this is what it looks like:

  • 25 Jan 2013 to 3 Sept 2015 (cumulative 1M views, 951 days, 665 posts)
  • 3 Sept 2015 to 24 Nov 2016 (cumulative 2M views, +448 days, +233 posts)

As you can see, the first million views took about twice as long to accrue – 951 days, whereas the next million views only took 448 days. The number of posts had reached 898 posts, so on average, each post was viewed 2227 times.

2malexarank

According to Alexa’s estimated information, my popularity had peaked earlier in the year, and is slowly receding. Compared to the days when I was ranking 2-3 million, it’s a big change. I suppose this is probably related to the fact that I haven’t been purchasing and reviewing new and expensive gear … as a thrifty student, I really don’t like to splurge too much.

2malexademog

Alexa’s estimated demographics are also interesting. I suppose the gender breakdown is very stereotypically engineering in a nutshell, however, the education level seems interesting. It thinks the vast majority of visitors are likely to only have some college education … this might well be true. It also seems that it thinks very few people visit from school.

Future of the Site

On the whole, reaching this milestone using low-cost shared hosting was not easy. Lately, an increasing amount of downtime was had due to rogue robots and crawlers hammering the site at almost-synchronized times, along with script-kiddies scanning for vulnerabilities and generating a heap of uncacheable traffic. I don’t have much sympathy for them, and I’ve had to spend my own time to institute countermeasures to ensure the site still remains relatively available. After all, how much can you expect from your $7 a month?

Each month, site visitors consume about 400GB of traffic, which is a pretty sizeable chunk. I’m not sure that even if I had a better connection at home (it’s only 9Mbit/s download and 1Mbit/s upload ADSL2+) that I’d even bother hosting it at home due to the bandwidth requirement alone.

Because of the continuing attacks, I have had to up my CloudFlare security level to High to maintain the stability of the site. It’s particularly annoying when I’m in the middle of a post and the server’s being taken down by a script kiddie. Apologies if you’re accessing the site from a public Wi-Fi or similar connection and now have to fill in a CAPTCHA to gain access. Nonetheless, I cannot as yet justify any increase to hosting resources, as that would increase operational costs which are barely being met by ads at this stage (assuming my time is free). I will continue to defer this until I have no other technical solution.

However, there is a change in the air. What I’m about to say may disappoint some readers of the site. At the end of January 2017, I will embark on a series of long vacations both overseas and within Australia. I had promised myself during my time at university that I will take at least a year off to travel around the world and experience different cultures and locations, to practice photography and to enjoy myself. I had reasoned that it was the best time to do so, and I am at the stage of my life that if I didn’t take this chance, that I would regret it. If I had entered the workforce, or had a family, that would curtail my ability to travel – and as I have neither of these constraints, and my health is at a sufficient level, I think that it would be wrong if I didn’t take this opportunity.

This means that the site will probably change in nature. Posts are likely to become much less frequent after the end of January 2017, and any “unfinished business” is likely to remain unfinished at home for months to years. Any posts that are put up are more likely to be travel or photography related, which isn’t going to be to everybody’s taste. I expect to lose a few subscribers over this, which I have no bones about really, but I’ll still try my best to throw in the odd radio or technology post. However, in-depth reviews will not be undertaken as I won’t have the gear to do it while I’m overseas or away from home.

This does not mean that the site will disappear. You should never fear about this, because I will keep it up and online as best as I can for as long as I can. I’ll still be checking in, and keeping it up, although it’s probably not as easy if I’m in a place without reliable internet. This has been one of my life’s biggest pieces of work, and I’m not going to let it disappear without a fight.

For my loyal readers, I thank you for sticking around for so long, and I hope you will stick around until the end of January 2017 at the least, as there’s a few rather big pieces of work which I will be delivering just before I leave. I’m working around the clock, up till departure date, to try and deliver the analysis and insights which you all have come to expect from me. After then, I’ll understand if you unsubscribe, as you don’t want to hear about a holiday you’re not actually on.

About lui_gough

I'm a bit of a nut for electronics, computing, photography, radio, satellite and other technical hobbies. Click for more about me!
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8 Responses to Site Update: 2 Million Views & Site Future

  1. Congratulations on 2 Million! This blog has been continuously enjoyable to me. I check at least daily for updates. I’ll look forward to your vacation photography. As a non-Australian it’s quite nice to vicariously appreciate the various places you photograph. You’ve always typically added an additional subtext in your commentary that extends what there is to appreciate by way of backstory, context, or details that a foreigner might not be aware of.

    Do you have, or have you ever considered, setting up a Bitcoin wallet? I’d love to throw some coin your way to help cover a month of hosting.

    • lui_gough says:

      Thanks for the positive comment and glad to hear you’re enjoying the randomness! In regards to Bitcoin, I haven’t actually done so and this is partly due to the potential tax implications it would have especially as governments around the world get a bit squirmy over whether the whole thing is “currency” or not. It might also arouse some level of suspicion … so I’d rather not at this stage. However, that being said, I’m kind of happy to be thrifty – keeping myself from upgrading hosting tiers is kind of like a “technical challenge”. Why pay more than you have to? 🙂

      – Gough

  2. Gerry says:

    Congratulations for reaching your personal milestone!

    > […] an increasing amount of downtime […]. I’ve had to spend my own time to institute countermeasures to ensure the site still remains relatively available.

    I think you did a great job as I never experienced any downtime or slow connections when visiting your site (on a near daily basis).

    • lui_gough says:

      I suppose timing is everything :). Hint: Don’t visit around 0500UTC, as all the crawlers come and simultaneously hammer the site into submission almost on a daily basis.

      – Gough

  3. sparcie says:

    Congratulations on the milestone! 2 million is a lot of views, it’s a testament to the quality of your writing. I look forward to the photographic posts, I enjoy them as much (or more) than the more technical posts. It allows me to see parts of the world I wouldn’t otherwise see.

    Traveling now whilst you’re responsibility free (relatively) is a good idea. Having work and kids really limits the amount of time you have. I have both (work and kids), and it’s nice and all, but it’s hard to find time to see a movie let alone travel. Heck I’m still catching up on reading your posts!

    – Sparcie

  4. Tim S says:

    Congrats and thanks for a useful tech site and something to keep the mind working. I initially found your site looking for information on DVB-T, so it has been quite helpful in that regard with your codec and bandwidth breakdowns.
    The level of geekiness, in measuring a squeak on the bus is fascinating! 😉

  5. Jack says:

    Dear Lui,

    Happy voyage round the globe.
    Hope to meet you one day in Europe on your trip.

    BTW
    Your blog’s subscription via WordPress is heavy and really complicated
    [Personalized Link Removed]

    Too many options, settings are not clear to handle to newcomers.
    You can easily double your traffic and number of visitors via Twitter and Facebook.
    Twitter is lighter, Facebook is heavy but multimedia content rich.

    You are free to post geolocated tweets while on-the-go.

    Wishing you all the best and prosperity in private and business life.

    Jack

    • lui_gough says:

      Dear Jack,

      I am aware of that and there is a little story behind all of it. Initially, when I set up the site, I had no expectation of subscribers, so I didn’t offer the feature. Some people wanted it, so eventually I put a box in the sidebar to register an e-mail address to subscribe, but then this was abused by some spam-bots to spam random e-mail accounts with subscribe notifications, so I removed it again. As a result, the only way to subscribe is to leave a comment and then select your subscription preferences or go via WordPress, if you already have an account with them. I really didn’t intend to offer this, but it seems that Jetpack Comments has it as part of the “deal”.

      Instead, I recommend others to perhaps try the RSS feed as a way of subscribing to the site, or follow my personal Twitter account @lui_gough which I mostly use to publicise posts. I find it best just to publish content and let people find it organically through either related posts or by direct searching. Having a big audience was not one of my goals – in fact, with large audiences comes more problems, e.g. how to handle the ever-increasing number of views with a “limited” cheap shared hosting account?

      Anyhow, if I should ever visit Europe, I’ll let everyone know. At this stage, I’m primarily in Asia. While geolocated postings (e.g. Facebook Check-ins, Tweets) are cool to some, I try to avoid these because of privacy concerns. Instead, I carry my Garmin eTrex 10 hiking GPS to record my daily travels for my own reference, and process/post later when I have the time, as often when you’re “in the moment”, you don’t have the time to think and post something more profound than “I was here!”

      – Gough

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