Where did Summer go? July and August 2014 Blog Report

What's in the bag - August 2014 edition

I promised in the last blog report that I was going to make a habit out of these ‘What’s in the Bag’ shots. Here I am two months later keeping my promise.

Minus my mobile phone and a couple cables, this was the contents of the mobile office for an eight-day working trip to Zurich last month where I covered the European Athletics Championships. It’s quite similar, both in content and utility, to the office I carried during recent working trips to Qatar (one week) and a multi-country train trip (10 days) in Central Europe, so proved quite instructive as I prepare for another bout of long-term travel that will commence in early 2015. (I’m jumping ahead of myself with that, so more details next month.)

Zurich was all work and little play, although I did manage to squeeze in some street shooting on top of my editorial work. A few that I posted can be seen here.

Sunset at Zurich main train station
Sunset at Zurich main train station

Major changes over the summer’s dog days?

A couple. You’ll have noticed a new layout and design. It’s still a bit cluttered which will be the next fix. But I think it’s getting there. Any suggestions?

And the site loads quickly. That’s because I switched hosts to WP Engine. It’s more expensive than my previous service Blue Host, but home page load speed, even when very graphics-heavy, is down to about two seconds. Site down time has been non-existent. It’s worth the price.

My site used to be slower than 71% of all tested websites.
My site used to be slower than 71% of all tested websites.

It’s only been about two weeks since I fully implemented the change but organic growth has already increased. Search engines like speed. A more complete review to come after a month or two.

Newsletter Re-Inauguration and a monthly drawing for a free 8×10 print

Next week I’ll be re-starting my site’s companion weekly newsletter, The Piran Café Reader, a convenient way to keep in touch and up-to-date and to share interesting news and ideas I come across. Subscribers will automatically be entered in monthly drawings for a free 8×10 print of their choice from my Redbubble portfolio. Yes. Free. Postpaid. Anywhere in the world.

Sign up here. It’s quite painless, I promise.

Top 5 Posts for July and August 2014

With much of July and August spent on editing and translation projects that proved exceptionally time-consuming, little time was left for the small, but growing stack of editorial projects that I refuse to move from my cluttered desk.

That meant that photography again remained the main draw here. Not that that’s a bad thing. Merely an explanation. With that said comes the reason why you’re all here, the rundown of the most visited posts for the past two months. All self-explanatory:

Top Posts for July 2014
5. Guard Tower, Auschwitz (Pic du Jour)
4. Katowice, Poland | Stock Image Gallery
3. The World’s Only Ronnie James Dio Memorial – a Six Photo Gallery
2. Isla Del Sol, Bolivia | Stock Image Gallery 1
1. The World’s Most Beautiful Cemeteries – Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Chile: A Tour in 22 Photos

Top Posts for August 2014
5. Bolivian Border Post, near San Pedro de Atacama
4. Doha’s Museum of Islamic Art – Exhibit Notebook
3. The World’s Most Beautiful Cemeteries – Punta Arenas, Chile: A Tour in 19 Photos
2. Puerto Natales, Chile | Notebook and Stock Image Gallery
1. The Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers and a 40 Photo Tour Through Chile’s Last Hope Sound

Elsewhere, I was included in a couple collaborative posts by some travel blogging friends. Chasing the Donkey: A Local’s Guide to Croatia asked me how to travel like a local. My suggestion? Put down your tablet and smartphone and pick up a local newspaper. A Brit and a Southerner meanwhile asked for dream destinations. Mine, the Kerguelen Islands, is more like a fantasy. One that still may come true. Some nice tips in both, check ‘em out.

By the Numbers

.. And for the record:

Traffic-wise summer sees traffic spiral downwards for most blogs. I consider that a good thing –just as I do the slight increase here in July over the previous month with 4,400 views and 3,025 sessions from 2,644 visitors. August dipped to under 4,000 views from 2,400 visitors. I made a few photos sales directly from the site both months (Thanks so much!), so the quality of visitors is pretty good too. In short, beautiful human beings continue to visit. Thank you. Please don’t stop.

A few more numbers I’m compelled to share, and not only because they’re all climbing:  🙂

– Page Authority: steady at 51, up from 49 at beginning of July
Domain Authority: steady at 42, up from 39 on July 1, highest it’s ever been, and
– Klout: up a notch to 64, but I’m not a big fan.

And for the record again, the social media numbers as of Monday morning 1 September, were as follows:

Google+ followers: 8,802 – up from 8,673 (1 Aug), 8,516 (1 Jul), and 7,990 on 1 June – (1,274 1 Jan)
Twitter followers: 3,436 – up from 3,321 (1 Aug), 3,242 (1 Jul), and 3,106 on 1 June – (1,098 1 Jan)
Instagram followers: 117 – that’s up from 92 that I reported in June when I finally opened an account.

I retired my Piran Café Facebook page back in the waning days of March but by all means, feel free to follow or friend me via my personal Facebook account.

Stock Photos

I’m continuing to make headway on sorting and organizing the 19,000-plus photos from my seven-month trip through the Americas last year, and giving many of them a permanent home on the website. I’m also proud of the fact that I have managed to keep my Pic du Jour project here puffing along; as of today, 1 September, it reached 232 (!!) consecutive posts.

I was also recently accepted by Snapwire, a new stock photo agency. Sweet! You can check out my portfolio here.

Discarded red roses floating near a pier, Barfleur, France
Discarded red roses floating near a pier, Barfleur, France

Coming up in September

Eleven days in Marrakech and my second trip to Morocco, part of which I’ll spend covering the IAAF Continental Cup, and part exploring. Then, more details about what I didn’t really mean to allude to above.

Cheers, thanks for reading, safe travels & happy shooting!

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