BrickPlayer.com

BrickPlayer 100 Days Old

May 1st, 2008

In the past week BrickPlayer surpassed 100 days online!  It’s been fun, and I’ve learned a lot.  So far I’ve resisted the tempation to write posts about running a website, because I want this blog to be about LEGO building.  However, for today I’m making an exception and I will write about being a new webmaster, so if this non-Brick stuff interests you, then read on…

  

Hosting & Blog Software 

First, I’ll share a few details about the web hosting and software I am using.  I have a shared hosting plan with GoDaddy.com and also registered this domain (BrickPlayer.com) with them.  One thing I was surprised about was how cheap shared web hosting is.  My first year of hosting, domain registration and a few other extras was just under $50!  My plan comes with enough storage space, bandwidth and capability that I doubt this blog will ever outgrow it.

After spending a couple hours reading blog software reviews, I decided to use WordPress and I’ve been very happy with it.  There are hundreds of thousands of installations of WordPress worldwide.  Because of its popularity, support, themes and plug-ins are readily available.  I’ve installed several plug-ins and also created the theme for my blog.  WordPress is open source and is written in PHP, so it is very easy to modify and extend.

  

Traffic Building

As a new webmaster I was anxious to get people to come visit my website.  My hosting plan came with some free Google AdWords credit, which was pretty good at bringing people here.  However, since I am not earning any money from this website, I wasn’t going to pay for advertising.  Once my free credit was exhausted that was the end of that source of traffic.  I have posted messages on several LEGO related websites like BrickLink and EuroBricks to bring targeted traffic here.  In addition, I asked for links from other LEGO websites and have gotten a few from sites like Brother’s Brick.

Another good source of traffic has been social bookmarking websites like StumbleUpon and Digg, which is why you seen icons for several of these type of sites below each post.  Most visitors from these sites only stay for one page and move along, but I’ve probably picked up a few regular readers this way.  If you read a post here and like it please consider tagging it with your a social bookmark site if you use them.

Lately I’ve been getting most of my traffic from search engines.  Just today I noticed the Page Rank of my homepage is 3, and Page Rank for a couple of my more popular articles is 4.  This is a pretty high Page Rank for a LEGO website, especially one so young.  Page Rank helps a website show up earlier in search results, which is probably why I’ve been getting a steady flow of search engine traffic.

Some details on the traffic since late January: 225,000 hits; 40,000 page views; 8,000 distinct hosts (different people).  These numbers have exceeded all expectations I had, so it’s been exciting to see the volume of traffic.

  

Advertising

You’ve probably noticed I have a lot of ads on BrickPlayer.  There are two main types of ads here.  The first is Google Adwords, which are the text links and banner ads on the lower right side and very bottom of the pages.  This is pay-per-click advertising, which means a small amount of revenue is earned each time someone clicks an advertisement.

The second type of advertising is affiliate banner advertising, which is what the LEGO Shop at Home and all of the online shopping banner ads are.  With these ads revenue is only generated when someone clicks through to the merchant website and then makes a purchase.

It’s truly amazing how few people click on website advertising (at least mine).  So far these advertising campaigns combined haven’t broken $20!  Anyway, I decided a while ago that any advertising money I do generate I will use to buy bricks for programs I do with kids.  So, if you want to help me out with this, use the affiliate banners to visit sites you make purchases at.  In general, it seems you would need at least 10x the traffic of this website before advertising would really be worth it.

  

Thank You!

There are other aspects of running this blog that I could talk about, but like I said before, it’s really about the bricks here.  However, if you have any specific questions feel free to ask.

One last thing I’d like to say is ‘Thanks’ for helping BrickPlayer get off to a very solid start.  So far I’ve really enjoyed writing these posts and meeting some new LEGO fans. I hope you’ll visit often!

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