The redesigned Nuketown launched on November 16, 2017. In the month since then, the site’s seen a decent bump in traffic month over month, with unique page views up 32.25% (from 1,631 to 2,157) and users up 8.45% (from 1,420 to 1,540).
That said … traffic saw a big drop from the same time last year. Unique page views are down 50.18% (from 3,645 to 1,816) and users down 52.17% (from 3,220 to 1,540).
This is expected.
Updates to the site were few and far between during the redesign (roughly February 2017-November 2017) and the redesign itself shattered many of the old web addresses. I set up redirects for the most popular pages, but there were plenty of low-traffic pages that were obliterated.
Since the site launched there have been 34 new posts. A big chunk of those posts — 12 of them — were for Dicember. It was a fun little project that got me back in the habit of writing daily, with the added benefit of getting to do a little photography. There where also two RPG Blog Carnival entries (“The Library of Obsidian Bay” and “The Three-Page Manifesto, Revisited”) and four Game Day columns (“Ten Years Later”, “Let Me Tell You About My Battle Master”, “A Little Bit of Everything”, and “Savage Stargate”). There was also one new episode of the Radio Active podcast.
As part of this content creation blitz I’m working to re-engage with the larger geek community, particularly with gamers. Hanging out with bloggers and podcasters is something I greatly enjoyed back in the day; I’d like to get back to that. Of course, that’s easier to say than do given my parenting and work commitments, but it’s definitely doable.
Re-engaging with the Nuketown community itself has been harder. There have been fewer comments than I’d hoped for as most of the official Nuketown interactions have happened on Twitter. Social media traffic is way up (3,180.00% more sessions referred from social media), but that’s a nonsensical bar given the lack of content and promotion in the previous six months. Better is the performance of the @NuketownSF handle on Twitter. In the last 28 days it saw decent upticks in tweet impressions, profile visits, followers, and mentions. It helps that I’ve been tweeting a lot more from that account, with twice as many tweets as the prior 28 days.
On the advertising side, I made a number of changes to how ads are served via Google Adsense. In terms of impressions and click throughs they’re working well. Adsense ad units viewed are up 151.82% (from 2,916 to 7,343) and revenue is also up. Sure, it’s meager — revenue increased from from $2.00 to $3.84 — but it’s headed in the right direction. I’ll never get rich writing for Nuketown but breaking even would be nice.
Deferred maintenance is a major issue with Nuketown. Moving to WordPress cleared out a lot of the technical debt that the accumulated while it was powered by Drupal, but there’s still a lot of content that needs love. To that end the “Endless Dungeons”, “Geek Tree” and “Mac RPG Tools” received much needed updates with new and/or repaired links. There’s more work to be done, but this was a decent start.
On the more technical side of things, Radio Active is back in the iTunes podcast directory. I also created a sitemap.xml, which should help with Google indexing content.
I’m not expecting Nuketown to re-bound to its old traffic levels overnight, and all these updates weren’t about that. Instead they were about getting back into the habit of writing and restoring Nuketown to a semblance of its former self. In that, I’ve succeeded.
Looking ahead, I’ve got a few modest goals:
- Keep up the daily writing pace through the end of December
- Establish a once or twice-a-month release schedule for Nuketown Radio Active.
- Continue the monthly RPG Carnival and weekly Game Day columns.
- Find another project like Dicember or Prologue to experiment with.
This all seems doable over the next two months. At that point I’ll assess where we’re at and see what other course corrections I’d like to make.
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A photo of the Operation Crossroads nuclear test. Credit: United States Department of Defense