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MDGarcia

State of the Site 2014

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And yet another year has passed as we're now into 2015, but I wanted to close the book on 2014 with a "State of the Site" post.

 

Monthly Costs

 

Ad Astra's monthly costs expand and contract based on usage, since we're in a virtual environment, but we tend to average out at around $150-200 a month.  This pays for the main web server (Washu), which is responsible for running the archive, forums, blogs, support, and other secondary applications that we rely on to maintain/backup the site, and it pays for our mail server (Mihoshi), which runs trekfics.net and also other vanity email domains for our users.

 

We also pay $30 a month for our new ZenDesk support site.

 

Semi-Annual Costs

 

IPB costs us $75 every six months.  IPB is our forum software, which comes with full priority support as part of our payment.  We save a lot of money going through route rather than having it hosted by IPB (as we did in the past).

 

Annual Costs

 

Our domain registration runs us roughly $70 a year.  This includes adastrafanfic.com/net/org, also aafic.me (for short URLs), and trekfics.net.  We also have some ancillary domains that we pay for (boldlyreading, etc).

 

One year of service for the entire site costs us around $3,000.  Donations for 2014 totaled $267.27 (thank you for your support!)

 

I am looking for ways to reduce this overhead to try and keep costs down, but as we grow in size... we use more resources so we have to also increase capacity or else the site will under-perform. 

 

One possible avenue to reduce costs may be to cancel our support system and go with another open source or free solution.  I'm investigating possibilities right now.

 

So What Happened to the Site in 2014?

 

We went through a number of large upgrades this year:

 

Hardware:

  • Washu: Migrated to a brand new server with better resources (cpu/memory/hard drive space).
  • Mihoshi: Migrated to a brand new server with better resources (cpu/memory/hard drive space).

Software:

  • Archive: no changes.
  • Blogs: WordPress upgraded to version 4.1
  • Support: Abandoned HESK implementation, we are now running on ZenDesk SaaS.
  • Forums/Chat/Store: IPB upgraded to 3.4.7.

 

Support Annual Report:

 

We had a grand total of 67 new tickets for the year, with November being the busiest month.  The most often reported issue was "Forums (is/are) down."  The most often used category all year was Forums (go figure).   Total number of hours spent on tickets this year was 348.3 hours.

 

Analytically Fun Facts:

 

According to our analytics, Ad Astra received 56,942 visits with 18,936 unique visitors last year (29 December 2013 - 31 December 2014), and a total of 342,936 page views overall.  Here are some interesting facts:

Our biggest external referral site (non-search engine or social media) is the TrekBBS, who've sent 352 unique visitors.  A majority of our users come by way of Google and Yahoo searches: 8,958 unique visitors and 19,649 total referrals.

 

Thanks to jespah's work in our social media, we saw a marked improvement this year with Facebook and Twitter:

 

  • Wikia (STExpanded): 247 unique visitors with 11,432.
  • Facebook: 70 unique visitors with 1,256 page views.
  • Twitter: 28 unique visitors with 109 page views.

 

For reference, last year, we only saw 22 unique visitors from social media.  Obviously, if you're not using STExpanded.wikia.com, you may want to update or add your fanfic pages there, as we see a lot more traffic from Wikia.com.

 

The most popular browser used by visitors is Chrome, followed by Safari, then Firefox.  Least popular browser was the BlackBerry, followed by Opera Mini. :)

 

Questions

 

If you have any questions about the above information, or you want more information on site work done, please let me know in reply, or you can send me an email using the IPB email system (click on my profile). As always, if you have a support issue, please use the support site!

 

Happy New Year, and here's to an awesome 2015!

 

MDg

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