Tag Archives: wordpress

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.

17 Years Old Today. The Kit that powers this site

WordPress has been powering sites that I own or sites that I have built for 11 of the past 17 years. I have built WordPress since 2009. Since 2011 I have needed a very good reason to build a website in anything but WordPress. We are talking over 200 websites. At one point I owned 40 WordPress websites! I haven’t built a site in anything else since 2013.

I remember once being in hospital and so bored that I updated 12 WordPress websites by clicking on each individual update!

The code base of WordPress has changed monumentally since I first started using it and it has developed from blogging software into a fully fledged website operating system and content management system. This website has developed since 2011 and seen updates since WordPress 2.7. Ok it was heavily rebuilt earlier this year.

This is quite a heavy site – over 10,000 individual items of content and I sometimes consider moving it to another CMS or platform but I never do. WordPress is perfect and I appreciate the regular updates and swift security patches.

After a while I have even begun to like the new Gutenberg block editor! In short I am very happy with WordPress.

In closing there is only one thing left to say. Thank You and Happy Birthday WordPress!

WordPress Turns 16

I was delighted to read on the excellent WP Tavern site that WordPress the software that runs this website has reached the age of 16. I started dipping into WordPress in 2009 and from 2011 I needed an exceptional reason to use anything else but WordPress.

At one point I had over 40 WordPress sites running on my servers gaining close to 100,000 visits a month. Today I am down to two sites. One for development and testing and one in live, you are reading the live one now.

This site has grown and evolved with WordPress and now contains over 5,000 individual items of content. I would not want to run this site on any other platform.

I have been delighted to work with WordPress for the past 10 years and I really cannot thank the developers who contribute to this excellent software enough. With one exception. The Gutenberg editor. You see I simply do not like it. I do believe that this is a retrograde step for WordPress. Give me the classic editor any day of the week.

On a brighter note, here’s to another 16 years and more of WordPress!

Amber Rudd Has Resigned

I was most delighted to read a few short moments ago on the BBC News app on my iPad. I am thankful for the newsflash alarm that sounded a klaxon to announce this glorious news. However there is something wrong with this announcement. I will deal with this at the end.

I always said that I thought that Theresa May was high on drugs when she appointed Amber Rudd to Home Secretary.

Then there is her idiotic attempt to hamstring one of the finest website management tools and all those who use it. See here.

Her latest idiotic exploits have now forced her resignation and for that I am very happy indeed.

So what was wrong with this announcement?

Well it has come so close to bed time that I did not have enough timeto arrange a champagne supper to celebrate!

15 Years is a long time in Websites!

News has just reached me that on 25th of January 2018 my Content Management System weapon of choice and the software that is the mighty powerhouse behind this website, WordPress, celebrated its 15th birthday!

15 years is an awful long time in technology terms, things come and go and evolve and it is to WordPress’ credit that it has matured and developed and survived for 15 years.

I have used WordPress as my go to weapon of choice for building websites since early 2011. My previous weapons of choice were Joomla and before that Mambo. Joomla fell out of favour with me in 2011 after some updating issues and has only been used for 2 projects since. Having a quick look through the logs and registers just before writing his blog I calculated that I have built 70 sites using WordPress. Some are very simple 2-4  page websites and some much more complicated websites such as this one that get thousands of visits a month. In fact my record for developing a very, very simple WordPress site is 25 minutes!

I have moaned about the plugin ecosystem and the fact that some plugins require a hefty payment before they can do anything useful before. I won’t bother this time. To be fair all CMS tools are afflicted by this. I do want to praise some plugin developers for the  admirable work they have done to extend the WordPress platform. There are of plugins that I am thankful for and indeed I am thankful to their developers for the effort they put in not only to develop the plugin but to keep it up to date as well. Lastly on this point I appreciate how easy it is to maintain WordPress.

I have played around and worked  with a large number of CMS tools in both my technical career and business career and I dread to think what “weapons” I would be using if WordPress had not replaced Joomla after the issues I had with them in 2011.

So to round this blog off. I just want to say “Happy Birthday WordPress!”

The WP tavern article is here.

Now Come On Amber Love…

The Amber Rudd I am referring to is of course the UK Home Secretary.

At the weekend she said that terrorism was been spread by Whatsapp Messenger amongst other popular messaging apps. Quite a few of these I can accept but to bring WordPress into it is starting to get silly in my opinion. Now I have never held Amber Rudd in any form of regard and to be fair I am very unlikely ever to do so. However this is where things start to verge on the stupid. This article from the Telegraph newspaper says more and a WPTavern article lists some of Automattic’s responses in relation to WordPress.

You see WordPress has two strands to it. WordPress.com is a great free blogging platform. The telegraph does miss out certain security points  on WordPress.com though. Some WordPress.com blogs are a bit iffy in my eyes and others are welcome to form their own opinions of an individuals content. Now we get on to the second part of WordPress which is the self hosted side. About 75,000,000 sites including this one are powered by WordPress. 50% of these use WordPress.com so the rest are self hosted. The burning question is where Amber Rudd will eventually draw the line. By going after WordPress.com will she attack site operators who lawfully use WordPress.org as part of what in my opinion would be a very bad choice of “bravado”. I personally cannot see her stopping at WordPress.com.

It is that this point where things go deeper and the range extends farther. You see there are so many CMS tools out there. Will Amber go after site operators, who use Joomla, Concrete 5, Drupal et al? I suspect she will be hot on the heels of the likes of Mrsite and Wix. If she chooses to use WordPress.com to have a swipe at open source site operators using the likes of WordPress, Drupal and Joomla et al, where will she stop?

This brings me neatly on to my next point, what will be the impact for those of us lovingly tending to our sites and minding our own very legitimate businesses. Updates to core? Plugin updates? Red tape? No website owner or operator obviously knows yet, but this potentially has an impact to so many from the smallest business upwards (I  doubt my plumber knows or even cares that his website uses WordPress!) to some very large online businesses. I only have 8 websites at the moment I used to have over 60! I can still see some trouble and issues looming and with that potentially comes a workload I neither need nor want. I suspect others will feel the same.

Simply no one knows what will happen yet but I reckon it will end up being one massive headache.

So come on Amber, love, have a sense of proportion. Going after Whatsapp, Facebook et al on terrorism grounds is one thing but leaving a gate of fear uncertainty and doubt potentially wide open to so many legitimate website owners and operators is totally another. You are the Home Secretary and because of that one of the most senior politicians in the UK and by that very virtue wield an awful lot of power. Some of the things you have done since taking office do not give me a warm and fluffy feeling and your appointment to your current position was shocking to me to say the least. I therefore urge that you wield your power with sense and sensibility in the respect of so many honest and hardworking site owners and operators that your WordPress swipe could potentially affect.