Ten Years on the Web
Sometime this spring is the 10th anniversary of my photographic presence on the WWW. Sometime in the first quarter of 1998, I created a very small website – one photo and an article on VC printing (which had been published in Photo Techniques back when Mike Johnston was editor). My motivation was simple – I’d just faxed a copy of the article to an email correspondent in Germany, and it cost me something like 25 bucks to send the fax. Putting the article on the web meant that when people asked for copies of the article I could just point them to the web site.
Over time, that web site grew, changed URLs several times, and ended up at www.butzi.net. It’s been through several major design revisions. It’s due for another, and overdue for new, fresh content. It’s been languishing, because most of the time and energy has been directed at this blog instead.
That’s partly because about a year ago I started thinking that I’d have more fun with a blog than I did with the fairly static website. Blogs were new, I thought. My thoughts on this solidified somewhat when Colin Jago referred to such websites as ‘legacy’ websites – websites that represented a different era in WWW history.
So, for a host of reasons, the number of updates to http://www.butzi.net dropped off to zero, and this blog became the main focus. Round about the middle of the year, I examined the statistics for both the old website and the blog, and it appeared that by the end of the year, the traffic at the old website would have dropped off substantially, and the traffic on the blog would probably hold steady. I thought of this as confirmation that I was pursuing the right path.
Earlier this week, though, I was browsing the statistics for this blog, and thought to go and check the statistics for the old website. And, to my surprise, my prediction for the old website was wrong. Traffic there hasn’t dwindled down to near zero – it’s increased steadily. It will take a little analysis to figure out what’s going on, but as a first take, it seems to be that much of the increased traffic is hitting the galleries of images. If true, that would be darn interesting.
Anyway, I think I’m changing my mind. Old, ‘legacy’ websites aren’t dead. Mine seems to be going strong, just racking up the hits without my investing much energy in it. And the blog traffic just seems to keep on growing, slowly but surely. The blog gets some number of hits that come over from the old website, and it appears that the converse is true as well.
I don’t have any firm conclusions yet. But it’s got me thinking that blogs and more static websites are really two faces of a complete web presence, and that I should go ahead and invest the effort into bringing the website up to date and in getting the blog and the website more closely and sensibly integrated. Blogs have the advantage that there’s always lots of nice, fresh content, but the disadvantage that often the content is somewhere between completely disorganized and poorly organized. For most blogs, it’s easy for the author to update the content and hard for the viewer to connect with the content except on a daily visits viewing the freshest content. The older content just seems to languish, because it’s so hard to find.
Just food for thought.