Alysianah’s World of Star Citizen is rolling along. We hit a couple of technical challenges developing my vision for integrating Galactic Guide and Live Game data into the back-end design. We’re having to reconsider one of the primary data templates. However, we’re still on track to meet my original estimate of mid November. Unfortunately, some of the issues are visible on the actual dossier pages, requiring an “Excuse our dust. We’re Under Construction” update on the website.
IT’S A JOURNEY
This journey started for me in October of 2015, when I undertook the effort of manually compiling information from the ARK Starmap into a Google Sheet to share with the community. As time went on, I realized I had a strong interest in the intel contained in the SC physical universe. Moreover, I wanted to combine it with hints about player career opportunities sprinkled into the RSI Galactic Guides and Dispatches.
The idea to create a website that automatically pulled the ARK Starmap data from RSI started in May 2016. By then I was producing Casual Citizen and writing articles for Redacted.TV. I quickly realized that I often used lore content on RSI and ARK Starmap as source material. Having the information in an easier to consume format would save so much time.
My biggest roadblock is that I’m not a web-based developer. I was a Software Engineer before moving into the Business Intelligence space where I now serve as a Product Manager. I can do web page design and development but not the web databases. After thinking it over for several weeks, I decided I wanted it bad enough to contract out the backend development.
LONG TERM COMMITMENT
I created the website, designed and developed all the webpages and embedded HTML hooks for where I wanted data to appear and provided visuals of data layouts. Having done database work for client side applications, I also provided a suggested database schema. Five months later, and we’re about 50% into my core vision. The site will be at 70% once the integration of the lore data is completed. Hitting 80% will be achieved after Passenger Transport/Tourism and Blue Planet Dossier pages are added. 90% when we add Jump Point sizes and a Lore specific Dossier page. 100% when I incorporate the standard set of analysis charts I use when discussing the composition of the known Star Citizen universe in to the final dossier page. After that, I’ll stop for a while, assess traffic, user feedback and go from there.
This is a large undertaking being done by one person for the design, data collection, webpage development, tracking and prioritizing defect fixes – me. And one person doing all of the back-end work – a freelance web developer. This sometimes means that things get put down due to our day jobs and personal obligations but I’m 100% committed to seeing my vision completed.
Alysianahsworld.com went live in June 2016 but I didn’t start collecting metrics until August 29th – basically, September. I’m not pushing or worried about getting the word out there until I’m at that 90% content milestone. However, it is interesting to see what’s going with the site now. Let’s take a look.
Since I started capturing site traffic data using Google Analytics, Alysianahsworld.com has had:
- 5,766 Sessions
- 3,387 User
- 32,772 Pageviews
- 59% New Sessions
- 4.25% Bounce Rate
Other than being happy the website is getting consistent track, I don’t have a yardstick or goal in mind with the site being so new. I have noted that the New Sessions spikes right after I publish anything that mentions the website which makes sense. And the Bounce Rate is really small which is excellent. Bounce Rate measures what % of site traffic leaves from the same page they entered on. Depending on how your site is designed this can signal a problematic home page. In my case, the home page is meant to be consumed in and of itself. Therefore a higher bounce might not mean there’s an issue. More on that in a bit.
Not surprisingly, the home page which is my Starmap Matrix, has the most unique page views followed by:
- System Composition – detailed look at a single star system which you can get to by clicking one on the home page
- Ship Reviews – home page for all my ship related articles
- Star System Dossier page – menu page that lists all the special star system related pages
And all of these pages have low bounce rates as well.
The pageviews by country had a few surprises. I expected the UK to be the largest audience after the US. Mostly because this is a text heavy site in English. However, the data shows it’s Germany by a considerable margin. It’s also surprising that Australia is higher than France.
Top channels was what I expected. Most of the site traffic is via a direct link to the page. Either from my articles, show notes on YouTube or bookmarks/favorites. Within Referral the largest contributor are various Reddit threads. Almost all of Social is from Twitter.
Age and Gender are what I expected for a website about a space sim. Roughly 97% of the content is consumed by males under the age of 35. However, when I looked at how much content is consumed by age range, those counts show a direct correlation to age and the number of pages viewed. The older the visitor, the more pages consumed, with the exception of those 65 and older, who consume the least amount of content.
Eventually, conversions and bounce rates will be important to ensure ROI for the time, effort and expenses to build and maintain Alysianahsworld.com. For now, they’re merely interesting insights. For example, I created a custom goal to track user sessions that are 5 minutes and longer. My intent is for Alysianahsworld.com to provide easy to consume information to help with logistics planning for player careers. As a result, I would expect to see longer sessions due to people using the site for research. Similarly, I want to understand if the pages themselves – design or content is counter productive. A data point to consider for a page’s effectiveness is bounce rates / drop-offs.
At this juncture, more than half the visitors that start on the home page \ Starmap Matrix leave from that same page. That’s not necessarily problematic because that page alone can be used for high level research and is fairly static during this stage of the alpha. That shouldn’t necessarily be the case once the ARK Starmap is being updated based on player interactions within the game.
From a website traffic point of view, things are good. When I have free time, I battle a choice between relaxing, doing the research for another Casual Citizen episode, recording or producing it, researching a new article for Redacted.tv, mining more lore data or working directly on the website. Some evenings I’m burned out and can’t accomplish much of anything. Overall, I’m happy with the sometimes slow but steady progress on all fronts. As long as I’m seeing consistent traffic even when I’m not focused on raising awareness, things are going as planned. *Smile*