Doing a search on Google i noticed that Brugbart is now around 7 years old! Its easy to lose track of time when you are doing something as a hobby. Yes Brugbart has mostly been a hobby, or at least something i have done out of interest, with the goal of eventually earning money on the site. So far, i have only managed to make enough money to cover the hosting costs. The amount of visitors i get has varied a lot over the years, the highest amount of monthly visitors has been around 20.000, and that was only briefly when I was updating the site regularly.
The truth is, I have lacked the motivation to keep updating the site, because it’s been a tedious task. The process of developing the CMS and designing it has been fun, and once you got those basic things working, it helps a lot on the motivation.
All the things which makes it easy to maintain your site are important to have in place. Some people just download wordpress, drupal, or one of the other popular CMS systems. I for some reason had the idea, that I wanted to develop my own from the ground up.
Creating your own CMS
Creating my own CMS was not easy, and I actually started over about 3 times, because of problems with the flexibility of my code. I wanted my code to be as re-usable, and easy to maintain as possible, which eventually lead me to learning Object-Oriented PHP.
A fun fact. I still use the first MySQL table I made for the first CMS, with the same table names, though the tables themselves have been heavily modified. I have also had to restore my site from a backup at least a couple of times, one time because I accidentally deleted a lot of content, some of which was never recovered.
The little things, such as updating the table names, is just something I have never gotten around. Its on my to-dos list, but I completely lack the motivation to fix it.
The CMS I use now is pretty solid, and heavily optimized in many ways. I even made my own template system, which allows me to re-design the entire site, without having to modify the code for the CMS. In the past, I would escape in and out of PHP all the time, making it difficult to update the HTML itself, without also having to go through hundreds of lines of code.
The server back-end
At first I was just using a shard hosting solution, but I quickly learned that they where not secure. I had strange files uploaded to my site a couple of times, and one time I had my site defaced.
The support of these shared hosting companies, was generally dishonest. If you have been hacked, they tended automatically assume the security issue must be on your end. I knew that not to be the case, obviously, it was an automated hack that effected multiple customers.
Eventually I had enough of the limits with shared hosting, and I decided to just host my own site. This has been rather unstable at times, but at least I am in control of everything. And I like to have direct access to the server hardware. At the same time I don’t want to sacrifice performance for my own convenience, so buying a dedicated server is also on my to-dos list.
Its been a long ride
At times I have just completely lacked the motivation to post new content. Now I more lack the time than the motivation, since my education takes a lot of my time. Even though I have tried many ways to get traffic, none of them have really worked. The best ways, I have found, is to simply release a lot of content.
The few 10s and 20s you get from referral traffic, shared articles and stuff, is hardly worth your time. Its far better to invest time on-site than off-site.
A single well-written article can easily bring in 100-400 visitors extra per month, and obviously that’s far better than the few visitors you get when sharing your content. I have tried both bookmark sharing sites, and social networks. Both of which have been rather ineffective – social networks tend to perform a little better for me now, but I still get most my visitors from search engines.
Backlinks and mentions
As many other website owners and bloggers, i also try to keep an eye on mentions and backlinks to my site, which has been few over the years. Some of the AutoIt tutorials are actually attracting the most mentions i have seen, despite the fact that they are not really what gets the most traffic.
The PHP tutorials are actually what receives the most traffic, with one page receiving more than 1k visitors per month. Its not much, and could likely be many times that, if people where more aware of the site. It dose show however, that operating a website takes a lot of work, especially in the beginning.