Blog Update - August 2017

Progress.  This month's update is ten days earlier than last months!  

Accessing the Blog Analytics page provides the following monthly breakdown:

May: Unique Visitors 14, Visits 27, Page Views 167
June: Unique Visitors 55, Visits 103, Page Views 431
July: Unique Visitors 117, Visits 144, Page Views 294
August: Unique Visitors 92, Visits 155, Page Views 927

As mentioned last update, this isn't a great way of viewing actual visitor numbers as it includes every time I visit, so I included my first widget on the site, Statcounter.  This is quite nifty and allows me to identify my ISP so that it doesn't count towards the stats.  I'll start using those stats going forward.

I looked into Google Search Console a bit more in-depth last month and realised that when "indexing" my site I was using http instead of https.  Hence, I had to get the Google bot to crawl with my correct URL, which means finally it is actually indexed. I also loaded up the sitemap (real easy as it is simply to make sure that the robot properly searched the entire site.  

At this stage I'm still getting no response for the best travel books keywords, and not quite sure whether this is a result of all the Amazon links that I've used.  I'm not using these as affiliate links, but simply because they show the cover of the books I'm referring to, so definitely don't want to drop them.  At any rate, I think I might have to get some paid SEO assistance in a couple of month's time to see what I might be able to improve.  It certainly would be useful talking to someone who has some idea of what they're doing, rather than me simply guessing.

Plenty of improvements on the layout of the website this month.  Firstly, I separated the Blog section into separate Blog, Travel and Review sections.  I felt that each of these were quite different from one another and warranted their own section, otherwise they ended up getting lost amongst all the reviews.  The Blog sections include all musings and "Book Rumbles", the Travel section any trips I've undertaken and the Review section, all book reviews.

A further thing I've done is add an Author index page and individual pages for each of Author.  On each Author's page I've written the briefest of information about them, including a website if they have one, along with listing all books that they have written.  I'm only adding Authors where I have read at least one of their books, so I have some feel for their writing style.

In terms of posting, I've added trips to Bora Bora and Tahiti, which my wife and I undertook in July and also a backdated trip to Bali and Java, which was undertaken last year with the whole family.  I'd already written a lot of the Bali and Java post, so thought I'd chuck it up on the website as well, even if it did occur 12 months ago.

Sneak Attack.JPG

Somehow I've also managed to read and review another 7 books, as listed below:

Balkan Ghosts by Robert D. Kaplan (1993) - 4.5 stars
Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams (2011) - 4.5 stars
My Desert Kingdom by Jill Koolmees (2004) - 3.5 stars
Lost City of Z by David Grann (2009) - 3 stars
Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux (2002) - 4.5 stars
Arabian Sands by Whilfred Thesiger (1959) - 4 stars
Hokkaido Highway Blues by Will Ferguson (1998) - 5 stars
King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard (1885) - 3 stars

Wow!  What a great month of reading. Balkan Ghosts, Turn Right at Machu Picchu and Dark Star Safari were all excellent reads, however the standout, again, was a book from Will Ferguson. Hokkaido Highway Blues is is an outstanding hitching travelogue that hits all the right notes for me and can't come more highly recommended.  

This was also a month when I got my classic on and read Wilfred Thesiger's Arabian Sands and the H. Rider Haggard's adventure novel King Solomon's Mines. Thesiger's is definitely worth reading, Haggard's much less so. The disappointment for me, this month, was David Grann's Lost City of Z. This came with decent wraps but I found it wasn't anywhere near as good a read as two other "Lost City Books" I've read recently and which appear in the Lost City Book Rumble.

All up a pretty busy month but still loads of ideas for improvement and in the short-term I'm also keen to start writing some proper blog entries.