Introducing Mike

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce my friend Mike Jones. Mike is an old friend and webmaster with bags of experience who will be helping me keep this site and a few other web-based things such as my Nextcloud instance up and running and in order from now on.

Mike and I have been friends for more years than I care to remember. I will be be creating the content for this site mainly by using a dictation to text tool but he will do most of the uploading and site care and maintenance.

This step in keeping this site live is necessary owing to continued failing of my health.

Mike can be contacted by using the contact form below.

[contact-form-7 id=”108668″ title=”Contact form 1″]

18 Years of WordPress

A few days ago WordPress passed its 18th birthday. This truly is one to mark. I doubt 18 years ago that anyone thought that it would become what it has. The recognised leader amongst CMS systems capturing 40-41% of the market.

Of course I knew about WordPress 18 years ago but dismissed it in favour of Mambo (Later Joomla). When I first came to WordPress in 2009 for a particular task, Mambo had gone and Joomla was on its tail but cracks were starting appear. in 2011 Joomla had problems, big ones. At this point and about version 2.6 WordPress became my go to tool. Replacing Joomla. I only did one site in Joomla after 2011. I have been involved in a large number of WordPress sites since 2011. 10 years ago. This site will reach its 9th WordPress birthday in 15 days time. I will write further about that nearer the time.

We are now on version 5.72 of the WordPress software which is a far cry from 2.6! I am very grateful to the WordPress development team for the time they put in but also to the teams of plugins developers and to the WordPress community too, who are always happy to provide support in internet forums, their wisdom and sage advice which I always greatly appreciate has helped me a lot.

From a simple blogging tool to a system that can accommodate pretty much any flavour of website any would care to dream about is an impressive feat. There are only 2 or 3 cases I can come up with where I would not choose WordPress as the core tool or presentation layer.

I look forward to seeing what the next 18 years of WordPress brings and hope that WordPress builds on its current foundations and becomes even better. There is absolutely no reason why it should not.

Site Growth

I am asked quite a bit about how I grew readership of this site from its start to what it is now.

At first this site was a 1 page holding site. It had been like that for some time and would regularly garner 50 unique visitors per month in that state sometimes more mainly from people my name. Bounce rate was obviously high as there was only one page.

In 2012 the site was converted to a WordPress site and some content was added.  This gave people more to look at and the site suddenly grew to 1,000 unique visitors on average. This kept climbing. It hit 11,000 in 2017 and dropped back to about 5,000. From March 2018 this climbed back up to approximately 9,000 and this became the new baseline. This number would increase depending on two things for a while. A new issue of The Trade House Magazine or a mass of new products at The Trade Counter.

Over the time there have been many different things to look at and do, Trade Jobs, The Trade Counter, The Trade Lounge. There were over 200 static pages at one point and there are over 6,000 items of content on this site.

2020 saw a monthly average of just under 12,000. Tracking against average was tight with a low in September and a high in December.

2021 is already seeing a monthly average of around 12,750 and again tracking against average is tight.

The Excel Spreadsheet that tracks visitor details from my Analytics tool and performs very calculations is predicting a total number of visitors of 152,000 for 2021! I have a slightly higher “stretch” target of 175,000!

So how do I do it? Yes, I post links to social media. This is only part of it. I get a lot of traffic from search engines. A lot of people search for my name. People doing that visit the most content. Other people are searching for specific things. These visitors tend to only look at 2 or 4 pages. Of course, my well-publicised internet stalkers have had some input to these figures. Even though my stalkers are gone now the numbers are still high.

There is no doubt that my content writing has improved over the years and as I started this site as a blog to help me improve my content writing, it seems to have worked.  The other thing that I think has helped is that I like working with WordPress and I like keeping this site in good condition.

There is no advanced “search engine manipulation” at play in the administration of this website. No fancy Google “tricks”. I do keep an eye on what Google says about their various updates and try to keep the site in keeping with various things that they measure against such as page speed. But aside from that, there is nothing fancy going on.

What I am very pleased about and somewhat surprised about is that despite the fact that there is a lack of things to do on the site the number of visitors continues to grow. There no longer is an executive jobs board or a large shop to buy business stock from and The Trade Lounge has gone as has the travel shop. Sure “The Club” has arrived and the last ever issue of The Trade House Magazine and its supporting publications are still available. These are still very well-read.

Prior to the “linkgate” fiasco involving Facebook over 50% of my social media traffic came from Facebook. Many visitors from Facebook are now coming direct and are exploring the site more.  Other new “upstart” social networks are getting in on the act and even if I resolve “linkgate” with Facebook I can see their share of visits from social media declining.

So in answer to the question, it is just the content that is keeping the numbers high and in a growth trajectory.

Rest assured I am keeping this site going. There will be at least one item of content added every week even if it is only an update. I hope to keep these numbers high and I would love to hit the 175,000 for 2021 even if the systems are currently only predicting 152,000 ish

Fireblade reaches milestone

The Court Capital Partners hosting business Fireblade Internet are pleased to announce that they now have over 100 websites hosted on their infrastructure. These range from very small HTML based sites attracting a handful of visitors to larger sites based on industry grade Content Management Systems attracting hundred or thousands of hits. In addition we are handling a very large volume of email traffic and hosting some very large MySql databases. We are delighted to reach this milestone and look forward to working with customers old and new in the future. This is an important milestone for Fireblade and Court Capital Partners and we look forward to the future with pride.