Communications Director’s Report: February, 2015

For the month ending January 31, 2015

Web site report:

Statistics

2014 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Unique Visitors 280 524 529 538 498 754 822 777 1,159
Number of Visits 444 925 864 898 816 1,099 1,355 1,207 1,897
Pages Served Out 3,026 3,632 2,543 2,796 6,846 3,977 3,833 3,499 7,227
Hits 5,745 5,483 4,463 4,601 9,367 6,262 5,894 6,491 10,280
Bandwidth (MB) Used 130.88 111.66 101.56 120.64 171.39 194.09 273.56 242.92 241.89
2015 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Unique Visitors 1,184
Number of Visits 2,059
Pages Served Out 11,573
Hits 15,579
Bandwidth (MB) Used 300.38

Growth (month over month)

2014 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Unique Visitors * 87% 1% 2% -7% 51% 9% -5% 49%
Number of Visits * 108% -7% 4% -9% 35% 23% -11% 57%
Pages Served Out * 20% -29% 10% 145% -42% -4% 9% 107%
Hits * -5% -19% 3% 104% -33% -6% 10% 58%
Bandwidth (MB) Used * -15% -9% 19% 42% 13% 41% -11% 0%
2015 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Unique Visitors 2%
Number of Visits 9%
Pages Served Out 60%
Hits 34%
Bandwidth (MB) Used 24%
  • There has been a definite increase in activity in January.
  • Comparing the number of unique visitors with the numbers that track activity in other ways, it appears that the same group of persons is using the web site more intensively. As opposed to seeing just an increase in surfers who visit once and are gone.
  • The statistics look healthy, that is without any of the distortions that would suggest the web site is being abused by black hats.
  • The calendar continues to be the most popular page on the web site. It was looked at more than 1,800 times.
  • The reprint of Macha Nightmare’s 1999 essay on Chants and Enchantments was again the most popular page after the calendar. (This page was moved in February from the :studies namespace to the :resources:other namespace, as part of an improvement library management.)

Our presence on Google and Yahoo has become much stronger. To some extent this change reflects the merger of Microsoft’s Bing with Yahoo: Bing users became Yahoo users, except for a number of them who changed to Google.

We are also seeing more activity from witchvox. We are now seeing visitors who come from http://eastrose.org (Eastrose Fellowship in Gresham), http://www.uusalem.org (Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem), http://heartofwillamettepagans.org, and a handful of miscellaneous social media pages.

In short, we are becoming better known on the web.

Changes Done, and Work In Progress

There has been continued work in reorganizing the library facilities, that are now all under the :resources namespace, and cleaning up some potential problems of a similar nature while the web site is still small enough that this is not a major undertaking.

There is some seriously bad news with regard to mailing lists. I reported in January that our web hosting service, Bluehost, offered mailing list capabilities that would fit Lyceum’s needs. This was the Mailman package. Two things happened in early February that changed that:

  1. In an apparent attempt to cut down on the tremendous amount of abuse of the Internet that happens through their portals, Yahoo has changed what they will accept as valid emails from mailing lists. Mailman was designed around a validation process that Yahoo no longer recognizes and emails sent out through the lists to persons with a Yahoo address began bouncing. There might be a fix for this, but there is another problem.
  2. At about the same time, Bluehost stopped offering Mailman to its users. It looks like it is continuing to provide support to businesses that already have established Mailman mailing lists. But the option to start a new Mailman list is no longer present.
  3. A third confounding fact is that on Thursday, 2/26/15, the FCC has determined that Internet access is a public utility. Most of the news reports on this have focused on the effects it will have on the “last mile” problem and wireless services. But the FCC will also now take on the problems of spam, phishing, and malware being sent through USA portals, and how this will affect mailing lists is not yet known.

None of this, as yet, affects the existing mailing list accounts Lyceum has through Yahoo. But I have shut down the attempt to set up our own accounts for now. This is still the plan, since Yahoo’s mailing list service is now clearly unstable and also because having our own mailing lists under Bluehost would make several useful things possible that we cannot currently do. I am going to try to stay on top of the news, and I hope to have some kind of alternative to the Yahoo groups ready before the new FCC regulations come into play. As literally millions of pieces of spam and crapware are sent through Yahoo’s portals every year, it is very likely that they will be heavily impacted by new FCC regulations.

Video tutorials and future growth of the web site. I am attempting to develop some short videos on the basics of wiki-work: starting with just how to easily find stuff and explore the web site, and moving on to how to add content, set up individual areas, and so on. These will be 5 to 10 minute videos, similar to the ones that are about how to crochet, or how to do computer animation, or how to service a 1948 Indian motorcycle carburetor. The target date for the first video is Beltane. Once I know what I am doing, I expect the others will take less time to get from start to finish.

Other developments. We have a presence on Google+ as Lyceum Oftrees. I don’t want this publicized far and wide, since the burden of managing it could be more than I want to bear. But we will use it for its YouTube functions, we are using it for the Lyceum calendar, and I am open to talking about any other uses.

Summary

The number of new users of the Lyceum web site appears to be levelling off. This is not a bad thing; our mission is to serve the community of neopagans and seekers, not to expand it or proselytize in any way.

The amount of use the site is seeing is showing healthy growth. The same number of visitors are looking at more pages.

The attempt to set up our own mailing lists is postponed, probably for several months. We can continue with the Yahoo mailing lists for now.

Future

Next month is the first anniversary of the web site. The tasks of getting it going are now done, and done well enough that the statistics indicate it is being found useful. The next stage is to develop its infrastructure into something that can last for years. That means building a group of contributors who can keep the site going and growing. And to get there, it seems like the most critical need is to provide some instruction on wiki use that is available to Lyceum people (and not unusable due to technobabble hurdles). Your humble Communications Director would appreciate your thoughts on where this activity would fit within the general Lyceum effort, and how it might be accomplished. With luck, the videos tutorials will be a thing of “if you build it they will come.” But ideas from the Board of Directors, the general Lyceum membership, and a little help from Goddess and God, would not be unwelcome.

Author: Will

I was born at a very young age but I am older than that now. As a young man I drove half a million miles in Boston taxis. Then I moved to Oregon and developed two careers as an RN over 28 years: the first as a clinical nurse mostly in ICU, then later in Nursing Service Administration as an Informatics RN (but before that term was coined). In between RN work, I picked up an ADSc Business Computer Programming and provided PC network installation, maintenance and repair for 10 years. I eased into retirement beginning in 2003 and was fully retired in 2010. But I have continued to develop and manage websites and my skills are current with HTTP/CSS, PHP, Apache, SQL, etc. I have a strong preference for Ubuntu Linux boxes and Dokuwiki websites. I have a strong dislike of WordPress, which, although it is technically very well done, has created one of the worst cesspool ecosystems I have ever encountered. Still it is sometimes the best tool for the job, more is the pity. I have followed pagan paths for 50 years and I have about 3 yards of bookshelves devoted to pagan thought and practice. I am a perfectly eclectic technopagan heavily influenced by Victor Anderson's Feri practice but comfortable with Gardner derivatives, Zennist ways, and totemic/shamanist practices. I have recently been made the Steward of the Lyceum Of Trees. So I am Will Steward, Steward. Make of that whatever you will.