Some web traffic data for my part-time video game blog

When I first started making websites, I went looking for web traffic data for other people’s websites in an attempt to set a sort of realistic goal post. I wanted to know: what sort of traffic is realistic for a site that’s just starting out? How will I know if the site is successful or popular? Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of information available. So, for those that come after me, here’s what my video game site, GameBlaster64, has looked like traffic-wise since day one (January 20, 2011).

Traffic for gameblaster64
Click/tap for larger image

My site is not entirely popular, but it’s not barren, either. I post sporadically, maybe once every week on average. The content quality is good, though: all of the posts are original articles, not found anywhere else on the web. I’m always on-topic and share my posts on Facebook, Twitter, G+, and Stumbleupon. I don’t pay for traffic. All of this is organic.

Looking at the data, I find it interesting that although I have hundreds of articles, the ones about popular or trendy topics are right at the top of the popularity chart. Though it’s only one data point, my site’s traffic data seems to support the notion that following trends returns greater interest than long-tail but focused content, i.e., writing things about Minecraft is more popular than covering older/indie/non-mainstream titles or news, even if the latter is much more numerous in post count.

I do run ads from Google AdSense and make some money from Amazon affiliate links, but it’s not enough to quit my day job. Not even close. Still, it pays for our Minecraft server, which is professionally hosted in NYC by the amazing people at Nuclear Fallout. And, I get enjoyment from the creative outlet, covering the industry I love.

Get your blog out there! 3 Sites To Help You Increase Traffic To Your Blog

If you’ve just started your own blog or even if you’ve had one for a while but are always on the lookout to incrase your readers then take a few minutes to read this post. Included below are 3 sites that will help build readership  by making your blog more visible and more accessible by people reading (and other bloggers quoting) on the internet.


#1. Technorati

Technorati is one of the original and definietly one of the most respected blog catalogs available on the web. By adding your blog to their listings, Technorati will routinely “ping” your blog to look for new posts. Then, it’ll take those posts and make them available to all of its readers giving full credit to you and your blog.  Already there are over 112 million blogs in Technorati’s index!

Technorati also offers a few neat features including the ability for people to become “fans” of your blog as well as a ranking system called “Authority.” The Authority of your blog is determined by how many individual blogs (not just many posts on the same blog) link to yours. The idea is that the most popular blogs will be the ones that most people link to or quote from. Technorati also offers Top 100 blog lists and other ways to see how well you stack up to other bloggers.


#2. Blog Catalog

Blog Catalog is exactly what it says: An online directory of blogs. While that doesn’t sound terribly exciting off the top this site is definitely worth a look. They are quite large, with over 18 billion messages in their message forum and countless blogs listed and updated daily, there is a ton of stuff happening at Blog Catalog.

An interesting feature available on Blog Catalog is the widget you are able to place on your own blog that links your Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and YouTube (among others) accounts and place the updates you do on those sites directly on your blog. For an example of this, take a look to the right side of this blog where you’ll see a red square titled “Latest Updates.”

There are other widgets available too, including one that shows you other Blog Catalog users who have recently read your blog. This service really helps to promote the social aspect of blogging.


#3. Zimbio

Zimbio is a relative newcomer to the blog indexing lineup. An interesting feature that sets Zimbio apart from the other services are “Wikizenes”, which are a sort of dynamic magazine that include articles from similar blogs. There are thousands of Wikizenes available to read on the site and you are more than welcome to create your own for everyone else to read as well.

As an example, someone has created a Wikizene on Gordon Ramsay.


And Finally…

Last but not least, don’t forget to submit your blog (and your blog posts) to my social search engine and social bookmarking service: Jack of All Links. (I shut Jack of All Links down in 2011.)

I hope this helps you in your quest to promote your blog. I know that it’s helped me immensely with this blog as now all 3 of these services are pinging my blog daily. I’d appreciate any feedback you have, including additional services that are similar to these. If I receive enough I may post a follow-up. Thanks!

Add Jack of All Links to Social Bookmarking Reloaded

Please note that this post is out-of-date and no longer applies. I shut Jack of All Links down in 2011.

If you use the WordPress plugin Social Bookmarking Reloaded then you can benefit from the addition of the Jack of All Links social search engine icon on your pages. For the uninitiated, check out the previous article I wrote about the service. Otherwise, follow these instructions to add Jack of All Links support to Social Bookmarking Reloaded:


1. Update your sites.xml file.

Add these lines to the bottom of your “sites.xml” file just before the </social_sites> tag. The file “sites.xml” is located in the “./wp-content/plugins/social-bookmarking-reloaded” directory.

 <name>Jack of All Links</name>


2. Grab the Jack of All Links mini icon.

Download this image to your Social Bookmarking Reloaded directory (“./wp-content/plugins/social-bookmarking-reloaded”).



3. Enjoy!

After you do these two simple steps, logging into your blog’s administration panel will give you the ability to select Jack of All Links as one of the icons to show in your “Bookmark to:” bottom bar on each of your posts. For an example, look at the “Bookmark to:” bar on this post!

Top 5 Firefox Extensions for Web Developers

You might be a web developer. You might need to know what HTML element is under your cursor at any given time. You might need to know the hexadecimal value of a pixel is under your cursor at any time. You might have a mile-long CSS file inherited from multiple projects and wonder: “Which styles still apply and which are no longer used?”

Fear not my fellow web developers, web designers, programmers, whateverrers! These 5 Firefox Extensions will help you chop the time spent on any web development task so you can get back to reading blogs during the day. Or work. You choose.

Without further ado, here they are:


#1 – Web Developer Extension

I don’t think I’ve ever used a web browser-based tool as much as I have this one. It’s saved me so much time and helped me solve so many problems over the past year. It does practically everything. With tools like “Resize Window” which lets you resize your window to a certain pixel width and height and “View Generated Source” which lets you see the source code used in the website AFTER Javascript runs — Instead of showing function(var 1, var 2) it will actually show the variables that went into that function e.g., function(“john”, “rockefeller”). Cool huh?

Cool features:

  1. A ruler you can use to measure the size of tables, divs, or anything else on your page.
  2. Disable stylesheets to see what your site looks like without any styles whatsoever.
  3. Display alt tags, image file sizes, image paths, and more.
  4. “Outline Block Elements” will automatically outline divs, paragraphs, spans, and other elements on your site. Very handy.
  5. “Outline Current Element” will display the element id and name for any element underneath your cursor. Unbelievably handy.

Sample Screenshots:

Outline elementsMisc functions


#2 – ColorZilla

I’m sure we’ve all seen a cool color on a page, whether it’s an image or cell background, and said “Oh man I love that color. I could eat it. I wonder what the hex value is so I can use it on my site. Or in case I get hungry.” Well, you could always take a screenshot, load up The Gimp, use the Color Picker tool to determine the hex color value, but who needs to do that when you’ve got ColorZilla installed?

ColorZilla will display the hex color and RGB value of any color under your cursor. Very, very handy.


#3 –SearchStatus

This handy little extension will show you the Google PageRank of whatever site you are on as well as the less-important-but-for-some-reason-still-used Alexa Ranking.

PageRank Plugin


#4 – Dust-Me Selectors

This handy little Firefox Extension will tell you which CSS styles are not found on your pages. It works per domain, so surf all of the pages of your site and a comprehensive collection of unused styles will be shown which you can then promptly delete from your stylesheet, thereby increasing the performance of your site.

Very very, cool.


#5 – Firebug

No Web Developer’s tool-belt would be complete without the illustrious Firebug. The list of features here is incredibly long, but so is the list of Web Developers who have saved hours of work using it. Their own website explains it better than I would but you’ve got to ask yourself one question: What kind of web developer are you if you aren’t already using this??

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list and found some of the links useful. If you’ve got something to say about these tools or even have a list of handy tools you use that might think others would find useful, please post a comment with a few links. Thanks!

Google PageRank and SEO Tools

If you’ve got a website and you want more traffic you need to read this:

The premise is simple: Google’s search results are based off of a ranking system known as PageRank. The score for your website will be between 0 and 10, with 10 being the highest you can achieve. The higher your PageRank, the higher the chances of being at the top of search results when customers look for you.

In order to achieve a high PageRank, it is important to have, among other things, as many high-profile (or high ranking) sites link to yours as you can. When high ranking sites link to yours, a bit of their PageRank gets rubbed off onto your site. It’s similar to a high ranking official recommending you for a job.

Conversely, you can also achieve a high PageRank through the number of sites that are linked to yours. I used to run a free forum hosting company called NetBoardz. On the footer of every post, on every page, there was a link to NetBoardz. Over time, my PageRank grew for that page to 3/10 with no high profile pages linking to it at all. It was the sheer volume of pages with a link to my main site that did it.

A handy tool you can use to check your PageRank is the SearchStatus Firefox extension located here. At the bottom right of your Firefox or Mozilla window it will show you the PageRank of every site you visit. For an example, view the image below:

SearchStatus PageRank Image

There are many ways to track and improve your ranking in the search engines, many of which will be dealt with at a later time. Hopefully this gives you some insight as to how Google search results work and leads you in the right direction for improving your PageRank!