February 2018 has been the busiest month for AROnline since its last peak in 2011. For that, I thank you all for taking the time to come here and read our stories. In the grand scheme of automotive websites the amount of users that we have ranks as minuscule, but to be gaining readers at a time when many specialist websites are struggling counts as a great result.
I’d been worried that the existence of Facebook, and its ability to hoover up all Internet traffic, was having an adverse effect on AROnline for a long time. It looked like readers were going there, and not leaving to read quality content elsewhere – if the decline in users here was anything to go by, that really did seem to be the case.
However, sitting there and blaming Facebook while doing nothing about it was never going to fly. I’ve been working on this site for longer than I care to remember, and the thought of letting it shuffle off into obscurity – despite all of the great stuff we’ve uncovered over the years – was never really going to happen.
Giving you what you want
What to do, though? How do you get people out of Facebook and interacting with the site? After thinking long and hard about this issue, I decided the best thing to do was to stop thinking about it. Social media is an uncontrollable living beast, and one that’s best left to do its own thing, taking the people with it. No, what I needed to do was to give you what you want by keeping doing what I was doing.
The important bit was to make it easier to read what’s on here, while ensuring that the best stories are picked up by Google, and surfaced in more web searches – and, basically, that’s what’s happened. In 2017, I changed the way AROnline looks, making it easier to search, but – most importantly – also making it more visible to Google.
In between uploading new stories (they do still keep coming up) I’ve been re-editing the old ones, and making sure that they have been tweaked for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), as well as adding updates and more important information from the people who were there at the time, working on the cars.
The best month for AROnline since 2011
Popular stories were improved, and with the reference material SEO’d massively, new people were finding their way to AROnline and liking what they see. The end result has been pleasing to say the least – the long period of decline was arrested, and month-on-month since the summer of 2017, the number of users coming to AROnline has been growing.
Now, our traffic is at the highest level it’s been for seven years, when it had peaked following our move to a WordPress-based solution from a the static HTML site we’d been running with since 2002.
So, once again, I thank you for your continued support, and brilliant and enlightened contributions to the site, be it in the comments or via email. It’s good fun running AROnline and I enjoy everything I do here – helping share previously-unknown information, or remixing old stories that have been told incorrectly over the years. We’ve debunked many myths, and shared so many untold stories over the years – and I really do hope we can for years to come…