This is a little involved, but bear with me for a moment while I tell you a story. I’m good at that, so my reviewers say. 😉
I’ve been playing with the settings on my webpage recently, trying to iron out some random noisy statistics.
For those who don’t know, there are automated ‘spiders’ and ‘bots’ that index webpages for search engines. They crawl through the entire site, picking out keywords and then report back to their makers. Or something like that.
Anyway, I’ve been getting a lot of traffic from random places like China and South America, and as much as it inflates my ego to think that my fame spreads across the globe, looking closer tells me another story. There are bots and spiders out there that steal images and content from your site and eat up your bandwidth. In webpage terms, more bandwidth = more cost, and these bots can get bad enough to eat it all if you don’t stop them, with the result that the people hosting my webpage will turn it off.
I think the steps I’m taking to combat these bots are working, and when I look at my statistics for my webpage, I know by the traffic drop-off that they seemed to have stopped. And so does everyone else, for that matter: zero visitors yesterday. Compared to Facebook, which had thirty or so visits.
Another thing on my mind is that my webpage is ‘rented’ by me from a hosting company, and the renewal is up in December. It’s quite cheap, but money is money at the end of the day.
So here’s the thing: The sudden drop in statistics, the renewal thing have all got me thinking:
Do I need a webpage at all?
It’s in all the how-to-become-an-internet-successful-author books, right there at the top: Get a webpage, get on Facebook, get on Twitter, get yourself virtually out there and networking.
And the webpage is the least successful of all of those. My webpage sits there, passively, in a kind of Zen state. Nothing changes, except when I write another book (and I am!).
I could tweak it and put in a blog, download some applications to do that. But why? That’s what WordPress is for. I drop in links to where my books are sold…again, WordPress.
I could tweak it and put in a forum, do some social networking. But why? That’s what Facebook and Twitter are for.
I could drop in a secure store, but I’m happy to link back to my booksellers on Amazon and Smashwords.
So my point is that everything on my webpage I could spend weeks doing myself (or a small fortune paying someone else), I can do somewhere else. Simpler, faster, cheaper, more interactive. So why do I have a webpage? For instance, I’m posting this on two blogs – not my webpage.
Almost, the personal webpage is becoming redundant. The links on it point to other pages where people can at least interact with me – I’m having a fun debate on Facebook on making up some futuristic profanity for my work-in-progress at the minute.
I’m not planning to dump it tomorrow – for one thing, I get free email hosting firstname.lastname@example.org, which I like.
I’ll keep you updated when the site comes up for renewal in December 2013. And where will that update be?
Not on my webpage, that’s for sure.
Are personal webpages irrelevant? What do you think?