Happy Birthday to tref, Happy Birthday to tref, Happy Birthday to trefor dot net, Happy Birthday to tref.
I was writing a proposal last night and in it put a vague “trefor.net has been going 7 or 8 years”. This didn’t feel particularly right. I should know how long the blog has been going.
I looked it up. The next day, ie today was the date of first posting. Nothing particularly inspirational but at least a start. I’m not even going to link to it.
When I started I very much kept quiet about it. I didn’t know how interesting that might be. It’s a subjective thing anyway, interesting. After a while my co powers that be at Timico found it and asked if I could do more of the same. They occasionally whinged about me going off message. For example when I did guess the royal baby competition but hey, those competitions got tons of entries, mostly from people in the industry. Obviously there are lots of royalists in the internet game (or more likely people up for a laugh).
7 years isn’t a particularly important milestone. It’s where we are at though and we have had a few major things happen in that time:
Move Over IPv4 Bring on IPv6 Party to end all parties at the London Transport Museum, Covent Garden attracted 400 people from the UK internet technology scene and a Government Minister.
Most Comments on a blog post World Record attempt received over 5,500 comments in 24 hours and raised £6,000 for the RNLI
There will I’m sure be more to come. In the seven years we have had nearly 2,500 posts with 750k unique visitors. We didn’t start monitoring for a couple of years so the actual number will be higher. Those visitors have left over 11,000 comments. There have been many more spam comments but Akismet has done a good job looking after us there.
The number of comments has dropped over the last year or two. This is either down to the blog redesign or a change in the type of post. On the other hand the number of social media shares has grown significantly and comments are often left on LinkedIn or Facebook instead of the blog.
One recent post by Rob Pickering during the ipcortex WebRTC week got 15 Facebook shares, 26 on LinkedIn, 90 tweets and even 8 Google+ shares which is pretty darn amazing (G+ that is – there’s never much engagement there). Socail media shares are the
way ahead present. They are a far better indication of the reach of a post than comments (in my inexpert mind).
The featured theme weeks and guest editor weeks are proving to be very successful. Firstly they make for a better variation in content. Our pre-election political week attracted 10 posts from 10 different industry experts (including an MP) each offering advice to David Cameron on what he should and shouldn’t be doing with internet regulations.
Rob Pickering’s guest week is also a good example. 8 posts on WebRTC received around 300 shares. Concentrating on one specific subject for a week allows us to cover that subject reasonably well and it’s a great opportunity for someone wanting to establish web credentials to do so by becoming guest editor for the week. A guest editorship (?) also enhances the content in a way that I couldn’t do as a solo writer.
trefor.net is now a business and has been widening its base. Firstly we brought out broadbandrating.com. This is a broadband comparison site that initially did business in the consumer broadband space. That market is heavily dependant on how much money you can spend marketing so we have evolved that site to include B2B ISPs.
These B2B ISPs don’t get the volume of traffic and level interest of a BT or Virgin spending heavily on above the line advertising. They do however represent a significant market value that is there to be tapped somehow. A referral to a consumer ISP can generate as much as £140 in commission. B2B players tend not to have the systems in place to manage these affiliate relationships but they do pay their channels significant bonuses for bringing on customers. Broadbandrating.com together with some follow on sites represent an interesting prospect for the future.
The other developmental areas are in Events and Marketing Services. trefor.net events include workshops, Executive Dinners and of course the now famous Xmas Bash are effectively networking opportunities for vendors to meet service providers in environments that are non-salesey. They are really industry get-togethers. Expect hte number and nature of these to grow and evolve.
Marketing Services are also a natural place for trefor.net to evolve. Content generation, PR and assistance with events and general marketing are essentially what I have been doing over the last few years. We now have a great team of specialists in this space. In my experience it is difficult to find marketing resources that understand tech.
Now you need look no further – If you need help with this type of activity get in touch – hooking up with @tref on Twitter would be a start.
All in all the first seven years have been very exciting and makes me even more excited about the future. In the meantime now would be an appropriate time to sing Happy Birthday to trefor dot net – the full words are in the sub header of this post.