Archive for October, 2008

Swingers Site Rankings

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Here’s the latest progress:

Alexa Rank PageRank Site
53 7 AdultFriendFinder
7,885 3 Sex in the UK
14,883 3 Swinging Heaven
17,181 4 SDC
38,644 2 Fab Swingers
39,704 3 The Adult Hub
67,131 2
99.237 1 Local Swingers
107,510 1 Swing Fans

Fab Swingers has moved up another place, overtaking The Adult Hub. The Adult Hub (incorporating Dirty David) was one of the original swingers sites and one of the biggest, so it’s great to have moved passed them.

The gap with Swinging Heaven is narrowing, I guess that we presently have about 40% of their traffic, so there’s still a good way to go. It’s a wonderful study of a conventional marketing campaign with a reasonable amount of cash behind it verses a zero-budget, grass roots operation.

I’m tempted to remove the Page Rank from this chart, I might replace it with Google Trends for Websites information instead. Fab Swingers has been enjoying its best Google performance ever since the Page Rank dropped so it just really doesn’t seem to be that relevant anymore (having said that I probably should make an effort to boost it).

The recent technical changes to the site (see previous posts) seem to have removed our performance problems for now so once again we can focus on adding features and getting bigger.

Web accelerator problems

Friday, October 10th, 2008

I noticed that the cache hits on the assets server were pretty low and as a result we were getting about 30 hits per second for images on the main applications server (what’s supposed to happen is that although the images start out on the applications server they should all end up cached on the assets server which acts as a web accelerator resulting in virtually no image hits on the apps server).

It turns out that somehow I’d messed up the Cache-Control headers so they were missing which I guess made the cache virtually useless. My problem was that I’d forgotten the ‘ExpiresActive on’ directive which resulted in all my ExpiresByType directives failing silently.

Note to self: lynx -head is a great way to verify that the headers are correct.

While I was at it, I also adjusted the settings for mod_deflate to make sure that all the right pages were being zipped. On Debian, the default is:

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html text/plain text/xml

Which I changed to:

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html text/plain text/xml text/css

So my (fairly lengthy) stylesheets are now compressed too, which should make a fractional difference to speed and bandwidth.

Fab Swingers is Two

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Fab Swingers is now two years, but like a much older person a birthday is a time for some introspection.

As of today the Alexa Traffic Rank is 39,713 which is a whisker away from The Adult Hub (and on the basis of the shorter term data The Adult Hub are already behind us in terms of traffic).

It’s pretty clear that unless something goes horribly wrong that Fab will overtake Swinging Heaven in the next twelve months to become the largest UK swingers site.

The only slight disappointment is that the USA has not done very well but that’s simply because it’s not had enough time spent on it. The problem is that my other website is now doing more than $250,000 per month whereas Fab Swingers is doing less than 1% of that so it’s very hard for me to spend the time on the site that it deserves.

On the positive side though it does mean that I can afford to invest a bit more financially than I have done in the past.

Also, my experience in other businesses has been that as you begin to threaten the market leaders they will typically get the lawyers on the case (on any spurious grounds) so I am now beginning to build up a contingency fund to make sure we can give as good as we get.

A final remark: After two years of struggle we are finally getting great placement on Google for various swinger related search terms BUT this has exactly coincided with our page rank (as reported by the Google Toolbar) dropping a notch. Proof positive that page rank is not that important anymore. I am tempted to drop it from the benchmarking reports.