… makes Murray a dull boy – and am I dull! Between Web site work and house renovations, I haven’t been out of the house much lately except to go to the hardware, and I have a basement full of materials for the winter.
The big Web job is a near-complete rebuild of ExploreNorth. New search engine rules put serious penalties on sites that they seem to feel are competing with them – that have “too many” links to other Web sites. The number of visitors to the site plummeted starting in May, and since I started this rebuild by deleting a few hundred pages, it’s coming back nicely. The focus is now to have the majority of the site’s content original content – the hundreds of articles I’ve posted since 1997, and the thousands of photos.
ExploreNorth now has a much tighter focus. Rather than being “the world’s largest guide to the circumpolar North”, it now just covers Alaska, the Yukon, Northwest Territories and northern British Columbia – the areas that I explore in. The hundreds of pages about Greenland, Russia, Iceland, Norway, etc, are history as of a few weeks ago.
Many of the other pages that were deleted were Alaska community guides that consisted mostly of links to related sites that I thought people would find useful in various ways. Guided by my site stats, I’m now in the process – the very time-consuming process – of creating new guides to the handful of communities that my readers actually look for information about. The first of those guides, on Skagway, is virtually complete as of this morning, with a new name and new focus. An Explorer’s Guide to Skagway, Alaska has a summary of the community and its attractions and activities, with a large photo album, a history page, and some basic links to sites like weather and the Chamber of Commerce. This will be the model for the dozen or so Alaska guides to follow.
Even the ExploreNorth search engine has been reconfigured to make it more useful. The pages that just contain enlarged images from the photo galleries no longer show in search results – in some cases that has cut search results dramatically so you can find what you want quicker.
There’s a very long list of house reno projects – currently working on 2 bathrooms, but there are large stacks of flooring and light fixtures for the basement as well, and some kitchen enhancements in case I get bored. Part of yesterday’s work was getting things re-arranged in the garage so I can get 2 cars, a motorcycle, and a large new bathtub-shower unit all in it (mission accomplished 🙂 ).
So if there’s a long stretch with no adventures being posted here, I’m not dead, just dull 🙂