Dec 292015
 
Thank you 2015!

graphic via tpevent.com

Merry New Year to all! 2015 was an eventful year and I’ve many things to be thankful for this season.

The success this past year however took time and attention away from Chrisparente.com. I needed to be focused on serving my clients and building my content marketing firm, StoryTech Consulting LLC. Working with clients almost everyday, it’s been hard to find time for my personal site. As my direct subscribers know, I’ve struggled to publish two or three new stories monthly this year.

Yet despite this reduction in fresh content, the overall pageviews actually increased slightly! According to Google Analytics, as of 12/29 this site attracted over 118,000 pageviews and an average of 2.25 pages per visit. I attribute this to three factors — a repository of popular content, the continued strength of search and moves I made to accommodate mobile visitors.

Content – this will be the ninth year I’ve published Work, Wine and Wheels. I originally launched the site as a proof of concept and as a way to prepare myself for how communication was changing. Understanding the basics of web publishing and promotion makes me a more valuable counsel to clients. I’m still amazed at the number of communications consultants I meet who have no first-hand experience with web and social media tools.

Nine years has created a solid base of content that has resonated with my three target audiences. These “evergreen” stories continue to pull in readership, compensating for the reduction in new content cadence. I didn’t intend to rest on my laurels (so to speak) this year, but it’s gratifying to see traffic hasn’t suffered.

Search – some of my stories have achieved high search rankings, which continues to deliver traffic in large volumes. This is especially true in the “Wheels” category, where Google juice has made me a kind of niche influencer on the topic of BMW quality. My stories are page one on Google for terms like “BMW quality” and “BMW SULEV” – (a specific kind of low emission engine and drivetrain that carries a special warranty).

Here again, personal experience makes me a better resource to my clients. It sure feels good to help people save thousands of dollars by telling them about repairs that should be covered under warranty. This has happened many times. In addition, this personal understanding of becoming an influencer helps my clients. Having achieved this kind of online authority on a very specific topic, I’m in a stronger position to help them do the same thing related to their expertise.

Mobile – way back in 2008, making this site accessible via mobile wasn’t a big consideration. First it was hosted at WordPress.com, and then later I boot strapped the design by moving to my own server and learning how to edit the Suffusion theme. Suffusion offered a lot of functionality, but it wasn’t a responsive design that could detect a mobile visitor and provide a different look and feel.

This year 48 percent of the traffic to Chrisparente.com was from a phone or tablet. There’s a plug-in for everything in WordPress, and that’s how I’ve tried to address this increased mobile audience. First I tried a plug-in called WPTouch, which was easy to use but very unreliable. It was hit or miss on my phone, and was not designed to work with a desktop browser.

A few months ago I switched to a plug-in called WP Mobile Pack for a mobile first approach. It presents a mobile page as the default, with a desktop version available if desired. The presentation options are limited with the free version, and I still need to refine it more. But it seems a lot more reliable than the old one, and with Google penalizing the ranking of sites without a good mobile experience it’s important for SEO as well as for visitor experience.

Whether you’ve been with me for years on this journey or have just found Chrisparente.com, thank you for visiting. I hope you enjoy the content, and I plan to work hard at publishing a bit more frequently than in 2015.

Best wishes for a fantastic 2016!


 

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