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The Life of Blogsites - Growth progress update on VisibleChinese.com and OneInchPunch.net

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Saturday, 22 March, 2008

Content My two websites OneInchPunch.net and VisibleChinese.com are both 15 months and 7 months old respectively, and are the first two personally-run sites that I've created specifically for East-Asian culture.

Their ages aren't significant milestones, but I thought it would be useful to just reflect on a few things that I've come to realise through running these sites over these periods.

As a pair, keeping them updated has been comfortably possible, enjoyable even. I also try and keep this site (MarkWu.info) and VisualStreak.com up-to-date as well, but the main thing is that when I want to focus on East-Asian culture I can do it in two ways, through OneInchPunch and VisibleChinese.

They're both different in that OneInchPunch is meant to be a bit more open I.e. to all East-Asian cultures, and across different subject areas, as well as just being a "link" blog, whereas VisibleChinese is much more focused on UK Chinese Culture, and aims to provide quality profiles of people listed on the site. Because of these differences, they both have opposite demands on maintenance.

OneInchPunch is meant to be updated everyday, to cover as much "inspirational" links as possible, whereas VisibleChinese will need more time to create each profile entry and so will be updated as and when these profiles are available.

These demands aren't too high as OneInchPunch's diversity (all East-Asian cultures) and the fact that I decided to posts "link" entries make it alot quicker and easier to keep the site updated everyday. When I come across a newsworthy post, it might only take a few minutes to post it onto OneInchPunch.

By contrast, potential candidates and therefore new entries for VisibleChinese are far fewer naturally, since this is reliant on one person per entry, and it takes time to discover these people (word of mouth etc). Updating therefore is considerably more leisurely than the constant daily updates required for OneInchPunch.

The important zen moment for me is that the balance of these two demands, work to give me the feeling that they're equally maintained and that I'm "in control"!

Anyway, I see both these websites as long-term, ongoing projects and after their first few months, here's whats been happening behind the scenes.

OneInchPunch.net

Constant updating seems to be giving OneInchPunch a good, steady growth of traffic, probably due to the frequency and consistency of these updates. I decided early on to adopt this strategy as I'd read about the traffic success of blogs that were started a long net time ago and that posted new entries frequently. The fact that they've been around so long, almost like 'compound interest', attributed to their growth.

I therefore hoped that traffic would simply grow organically over time, and I wasn't wrong. Compared to other sites out there, particularly blogs with lengthier, uniquely written content, the traffic growth of OneInchPunch is quite modest, but the figures are as follows.

January 2007 :
229 average visits per day
5281 total visits

January 2008 :
6,493 average visits per day
201,313 total visits

I'm quite happy with the growth, particularly as I haven't employed any specialist tactics for bumping up the traffic. However, I am having to consider upgrading the hosting at the moment, as the current webspace seems to have exceeded its maximum limit for simultaneous, concurrent users.

I also now get the feeling that OneInchPunch as a kind of 'brand', has been adopted quite amicably by the East-Asian-culture-friendly net community - the one thing I didn't predict is the good feedback that I've been receiving. Positive email notes here and there, which are far more satisfying than they sound!

For the site's development, I had always planned to keep redesigning it, and adding more functionality, eventually creating a much more useful community-based website. In reality, it simply hasn't received enough attention beyond the daily updates. But I'm happy to keep it ticking along, hopefully with traffic continuing to rise (exponentially) so that if and when they hit "catastrophic levels"(!), I'll have a reason - and budget, to commit serious time to it.

VisibleChinese.com

By contrast, the traffic levels of VisibleChinese are growing much slower over the months - not surprising, since there are alot less entries. Potential visitors would also fall into a much smaller, much more defined target group - those who are specifically interested in finding out more about people or a person that has contributed to the UK's Chinese Culture.

However, the measure of this website's success inherently falls into a different category to OneInchPunch. With high traffic levels on OneInchPunch, I've been able to convert hits into revenue by applying all kinds of advertising schemes, most notably Google's Adsense.

But advertising doesn't sit as easily in VisibleChinese. As well as making the design a little less predictable, it implies that the site is a little more commercial than I'd like it to be.

The important thing with VisibleChinese, is the quality of the traffic. As its not a commercial site, the equivalent of quality traffic is not visitors who are converted from browser to buyer, but rather visitors who want to find out about and who want to seek out the kind of people listed to procure their services.

There are currently only 52 profiles, but already this week, I've had two enquiries from professional organisations, wanting to contact some of the people profiled.

The aim of the site - to promote UK Chinese Culture - is conveniently open and for now, its perfect this way.

For both websites, age is and will definitely be an advantage, and so it also plays into my schedule to keep things ticking along until opportunities come knocking.

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