TonyJiang.com: One Year on the Net

The coming August marks the one year anniversary of tonyjiang.com and my first year on paid hosting. In celebration to this joyous occasion, I decided to write an article documenting my website experience in the past year. Important events include the big move from my old server to the current one, and the accompanying effects. There were some ups and some downs, but overall my sites seem to have survived and they have not fallen into the bottom of the internet pit (they are already there). If you are interested in what went on with all the tonyjiang.com websites, read on to find out the juicy details.

The story starts in the July of 2006, because that’s when I decided to move my websites from the free server I was using to a paid server. The free web hosting has served me well for more than a year, but its reliability and uptime was getting worse and worse. There was a huge nearly-month-long downtime that finally drove me away. The second reason that prompted me to leave is because I couldn’t use my own domain with the free host, so if by the odd chance that my websites got really popular (yeah right…), a move will with a change in address will be devastating to my traffic, so I might as well move back then in order to plan for the future.

At that time I didn’t have any real job, but there were many inexpensive web hosting packages around that even my meager Google ad earnings would easily pay for. Due to my websites’ low traffic and small size, data transfer and disk space weren’t really big issues. The only thing I needed in terms of features is PHP and MySQL, and obviously domain name service, all of which are included in even rudimentary of paid hosting packages. In the end, I picked a package that had everything I wanted plus a free domain name so I didn’t have to bother registering one separately. Now I was ready for my big move.

Moving the website was pretty straight forward. All I had to do is upload all my files to the new server. It did take me a few minutes to get my main website up and running due to database configuration issues, but otherwise the move came without any major hiccups. The hard part about moving was bringing the traffic to my new address. The best way to redirect traffic was probably via a 301 permanently moved header. Unfortunately, my old web host did not allow .htaccess files and many of my websites are HTML only, so the only thing I could do was use Meta redirects. As predicted, my traffic fell steadily for next few months. The traffic for my core websites (TJ Online, crabbing guide, and smash guide) fell from a peak of 600+ page loads and 200+ visitors per day to about 100 or so page loads and 50 visitors per day. There wasn’t much I could do about it since it takes the major search engines quite a while to find my new address, and it takes even longer for my sites to get their rankings back. Obviously, my internet Adsense earnings took a hit as well. For several months I couldn’t break 30 bucks. I was also very busy with my academic life, so most of my websites didn’t get any new content until vacation time.

After a half year slump in traffic, things are finally looking up. My traffic is slowly returning. Although it has not recovered to my previous peak levels, traffic has steadily improved in the past few months. I also had my first 50+ dollar month in a long time. Now that summer is here, the traffic to my websites, especially the crabbing guide, is bound to pick up. So currently things are looking bright from a performance standpoint.

Other than the big move, there are also some major changes to some of my websites. I managed to put a new website, the travel log, on the web, and despite my busy schedule, I completely overhauled the badminton portal and crabbing guide in the past year. My websites also passed reached some important milestones in the past year. The core websites had their 100000th unique visitor, and my Adsense earnings FINALLY passed the millennium mark (after more than a year, jeez). The redesigned badminton portal is also the first PHP website that I coded myself, and the crabbing guide celebrated its fifth year on the web.

Despite the long slump and poor ad performance in the past year, there is a lot to celebrate about. I have already signed up for another year at my current web host, and I look forward to writing more articles, designing new layouts, and running my websites in the future. It’s time to break out the digital (non-existent) champagne and celebrate tonyjiang.com’s first year on the worldwide web. Thank you for visiting.

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