This topic is inspired by @Algorithm’s questions about the QS website.
The QS website was originally created in 2010 using hand-coded php, and then moved to Wordpress in 2013. About six years ago we updated it because we wanted to provide access to the Show&Tell archive. The goal was to have it be an easily-maintained community resource.
Our search engine for the site never functioned well, and the pipeline for taking the videos from Vimeo and metadata from our local Filemaker database is fiddly. It’s also more costly than it needs to be, amounting to about $200/month for all the expenses together. Although there is no revenue associated with the site, I pay for maintaining anyway because of its archival value.
My own technical web development skills are minimal by current standards, though I’ve been part of countless web projects editorially and I’m familiar with some of the danger zones and failure modes. My experience makes me cautious about doing too much without a good reason. So I’ve been okay to just let this run on the way it is, letting people find the value they can.
Nonetheless, Michael’s questions prompted me to start this thread. I’m very glad to collect suggestions and see if there is an efficient way to make improvements so that the site is more useful.
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This might be thought heresy but I have only visited the web site twice. First time to find this forum and the second time about 10 seconds ago. According to my forum profile I have been here for the best part of a year.
Forum members - 5886 users
Probably 90-95% of users visit the forum 1 time, for a short time and the second time they do not appear authorized.
0 days visited , < 1m read time, 0 topics viewed, 0 posts read, 0 likes given, 0 likes received, 0 topics created, 0 posts created. https://forum.quantifiedself.com/u/
The easiest (and cheapest) way to host landing pages and blogs (and I think the show & tell archive could fit under that category) is to use a static site generator. Content is typically written in Markdown text files, and the site can be hosted e.g. on GitHub (which also makes managing contributions easier).
Static site is not the easiest way.
It has many drawbacks.
Probably, competitors also bother you too much.
Similarweb_com does not present data for websites with < 5K estimated visits for the last month. Only data verified by Google Analytics will be displayed.
Website ranking helps evaluate the value of a business.
Over the last three months, zenobase_com’s global ranking has decreased from 2,775,843 to 4,310,618.
Total Visits < 5K.
Perhaps everyone needs to rise to a new level of ideas and technologies.
A lot has already become obsolete for > 10 years
It is advisable to check the site analytics for a long time.
the landing popular pages,
little visited pages of the site,
not at all visited pages.
Conduct sorting pages.
Try not to delete the unsuitable pages, but only hide from search robots.
Google Guide for Assessors.
I used to do such an analysis for other sites, but guest access to analytics is required.
I can quickly assess the situation for free, but a detailed analysis takes a lot of time.
I did sites and blogs for WordPress.
On the website QS, approximately, more than 300 broken external links.
These links are best deleted.
To raise the site’s attendance, it is necessary to regularly publish new high - quality articles.
It is advisable to make at least 2-3 new publications per month.
And quickly make 5-10 links to them from other sites, social networks, blogs.
Articles fall into the top 10 only after a few months 3-4, sometimes after 2 years.
I have experience in writing SEO articles, but not in english.
The technical task for the article are usually agreed.
There are very few overview and analytical articles on demand and market on the website QS.
“So I’ve been okay to just let this run on the way it is, letting people find the value they can.”
“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
"Alice Through the Looking-Glass "
A real example
31 days 2357 visitors 5761 views
24 hours 66 visitors 154 views
OK, this critical commentary is very useful to me. I sincerely thank you. The fact that you are thinking about it carefully inspires me to be less lazy. I would like to be able to collaborate with you to improve the site but I want to assess my own capabilities realistically. I’ll do this and reply.
In my experience.
Typical causes of a slow reaction to quick changes in search algorithms and competitors’ actions.
The site is not the main source of organization’s income and serves as advertising and image of the organization more.
A quick management reaction occurs only to a sudden and strong drop in sales from the site.
Slow constant deteriorations occur for a long time imperceptibly.
Lack of long -term written plans for the development of the site. There are only short -term plans
Strong overload of the site administrator in other work and slow change of the site.
Analysis of the reasons for the deterioration of the site’s positions takes a lot of time.
Slow coordination by the team of the necessary changes on the site.
The lack of financial and human reserves for quickly correcting the crisis with the site.
The lag is constantly increasing over the years and become critical.
About the forum.
The forum is convenient, friendly and comfortable. The active core of the forum is 20-30 participants.
External Internet - links from the forum are well indexed in the search.
The forum materials are little shareing in social networks and blogs.
The forum topics are quickly indexed and fall into the search, but there are little search queries or a rating of pages in the TOP more than 50.
This limits the attraction of new users.
Most external links lead to the main page of the site and few links to other pages of the site.
Not found in Google external links to popular topics with views on the forum of more than 10,000.
Does not show links through Redirect.
I think the forum may have the greatest potential longevity as a central repository for QS community knowledge, and it is also the cheapest and also the easiest to maintain. @Dan_Dascalescu does the more technical admin but I think only rarely has to take any action. (The most expensive part of it is just maintaining a mailing list manager to handle the account management, notification elements.)
This could be the best resource on which to concentrate our “visibility” efforts to grow engagement. There is also perhaps the best community reward, which is that more participants means more questions likely to be answered.
Thank you Michael for this alarm. I understand it. Let me reply publicly and maybe this will lure others into the problem. Some solidarity would be helpful to add to ours.
I find your advice credible and I believe it will help. The problem is that I only understand about half of it, due to my own inexperience with the tools you use and severe constraints on my own time that prevents me from diving in deeply.
If you had the appropriate permissions, would you be able to execute on some of these ideas? If not, are there other readers of the forum who would like to help?
If so, I’ll create a private group for us to coordinate.
Permissions for guest access to Google Analytics, Google Search Console, forum statistics would help significantly.
Without this access, the possibility of analysis is less and the cost of time more than 10 times.
Such guest access will more accurately understand the situation and choose solutions.
You can quickly install the recommended plugins of WordPress yourself.
To analyze the site, checking the site’s positions in the search and selection of keywords, I use the paid Topvisor service (https://topvisor.com).
I still have a small financial reserve.
The money will end soon. It will probably be very difficult to replenish his balance.
I can provide access for trial and training.
Probably, registration in another service will be needed.
Manually do such an analysis for too long.
I study the possibilities of monetizing this site and ways to bring the site to self -sufficiency and profitability.
Now the attendance of the site is too small. Tentatively, site attendance is needed from 1000 unique visitors per day.
A helpier for whom English is a native, would be useful.
I will have to limit my time here. I have not retired yet.
I was the founder and director of the NGO for about 5 years until 2000 and I understand how many problems you have.
This site is a valuable resource for those who use it, but trying to monetize it risks alienating the existing community without generating sufficient traction elsewhere.
Another way to make this site more sustainable long-term is to reduce the costs (money and time) to run it. Specifically, are the costs low enough that this site would survive if Gary’s potassium experiment goes wrong?
I kinda like the site as it is. There is a friendly, community vibe that emanates from the interactions here.
Also, what is the point of monetizing or expanding the site? If its attracting more users and fresh view points, couldn’t we do that by encouraging the current community to mention and share links to the site on other forums, blogs, and social media? Maybe give this forum one approved tag that we can all use to direct people back here?