In August my web site was five years old and I wanted to thank everyone that has visited my site and to reflect a bit on how I got here.
Why a website? Well it was on a whim, I stumbled across the domain name while playing around with names. The domain name (captnmike.com) had been registered for a 10 years but had no content on it and seemed to never had any content on it. The registration had almost expired and was up for renewal. Never quite contacted the owner, but I did watch the registration go through the redemption period and finally revert to the wild for anyone to register, by this time having some sort of website was appealing, but had not a clue where to start. I contacted my local ISP and they said just fill out the online form and all would be good, after a few days with nothing happening I was getting a bit worried, what had been a whim was something that was appealing so I contacted my ISP again and got an email back with a whoops, sorry and the log in info for my new website. Then the learning curve started.
Some help from a friend that was a web designer got me headed in the right direction. I installed the WordPress.org Blog software because it was “free” no idea what a blog was or what WordPress was. Hated the default theme (look & feel) so I found a new theme and installed it, which promptly crashed the WordPress.org software and part of my web site. So I learned all about updating software on a web site, that was back when there were around 1200 files and 14 Mb of code to update / upload and if the wrong files were over written everything crashed. I started using the WordPress.org software because it was easier to use when writing new articles for my web site, I also noticed that search engines came by and updated their search results quicker than when I made a plain HTML page.
My original site was a plain basic html site with a few plain pages. At first I just put some Boating Safety Handouts from classes I taught on the site it was easier to send a link to a page and not a bunch of PDF files. I did not understand the reach and how seemly random traffic would show up until I started getting a lot of traffic for my Marine Rules of the Road which is a one page executive summary on the rules of the road with self test , the traffic was coming from a Mega Yacht watch site, the site had a very lively discussion on a collision involving a Mega Yacht and someone had linked to my article as an authority of some sort.
The other surprise was traffic from Sweden to Not a Sailing Trip and Pictures of Wandering from Stockholm to Lisbon: about an adventure I had helping to deliver a 19 meter long, former Swedish Coast Guard Auxiliary icebreaker patrol boat. A marine history forum in Sweden had found the articles I had written and posted links in their forum thread on the A.E. Appelberg. Watching the stats go up as over 200 people read the articles was amazing.
I moved to my current host, WordPress.com in part to make a lot of the backend stuff easier, since their staff upgrades the software so I no longer need to worry about keeping the software current (much easier for me), my site is now hosted on three massive server farms, backups are done automatically and I am in good company with the same host as the likes of CNN and other major news organizations, I have unlimited bandwidth, so in the off-chance that I figure out how to write an article on Boating Safety that goes viral with 1,000,000++ page views in a day, I am covered.
I would also like to give a special thanks to Deborah and Marty at Three Sheets Northwest an online Northwest Boating Magazine for featuring my articles on their front page starting in the fall of 2010. They have helped me reach a wider group of readers and I am now sometimes recognized (well my web site is) when I am at a public boating event. When I am on their front page, I get a nice little jump in traffic. If you have not visited their site, please check them out. Three Sheets is not just for Northwest boaters, one of their contributors is currently running an interview series with wooden boat craftsmen & women. They also have cruisers sharing their experiences from many locations.
I don’t normally mention Stats and things like page views since my site is quite modest by internet standards and there is always a site with more traffic. However, since I moved my hosting to WordPress.com in the fall of 2010, Flag Counter has counter visitors from 181 different countries and Cluster Maps has dots all over the globe. Quantcast counted 25,000 different visitors to my site in 2012, to put the number in perspective, I grew up in a town of about 25,000 people so I am still a bit boggled by that.
Where do I get the ideas from? Some are from my experience and passing on things I have learned to help others. Other articles have been suggested by friends, “why don’t you write an article on,” friends will also pass on something that happened to them (Your Fire Extinguisher), I will see something on their boat (The Toe Rail Fender Knot was observed on Lee Youngblood’s boat), Lee’s Fender Knot was his reaction to Spar Hitch – Fender Knot and the knot he uses for fenders and hanging coils of lines on his boat.
There are no ads on my site or catalog referrals for you to click on, so one way you can say thanks is to pass my site on or send a link to an article that a friend or user group might find useful. Since I am not much for marketing and get most of my traffic from search engines, passing my site on to others is most appreciated. If you have a friend who is left-handed, How to tie a Bowline with your left hand – Updated might be appreciated. Someone taking a Navigation class might find the Navigators Piloting and Charting Reference Card a nice reference with TVMDC, speed and distance formulas, conversion factors and more all on a 5×8 inch index card or half a letter size sheet. I like Mike’s Quick Rope Whipping for whipping the ends of double braid line, while not as fancy as the whipping found in most books it is very quick, secure, usually taking just a couple of four minutes to do.
I have a couple of other sites:
The Cannery Hack has pictures from my time in Alaska and goes back to Jr. High School. The site has been neglected of recent but has pictures of real cannery life in the 1970’s. No fake stuff from the Discovery Channel. I hope to get a few hundred of the several thousand pictures I took over a 30+ year time frame on the site to help preserve a bit of history.
My Mumbling Mike site was originally intended for political rants but I never got very many rants on it and it has changed to some observations around town when the spirit moves me. It has also became the repository of some of my favorite recipes. Mike’s Deviled Eggs is always a hit at Potlucks, even with those that are on a low egg diet. The olives, celery salt bacon bits and other make this a requested potluck item. Also popular are the Oatmeal Cow Pie Cookies, named because of what they look like when cooked, when I named them I did not know that there was already a cookie named “Cow Pie” (not really related), also well received are the Christmas with Hermits Cookies and Butterscotch / Cinnamon Refrigerator Cookies. Caution you can’t eat just one, which is why I only make them for special occasions, I was gaining too much weight
Thanks again for visiting and for supporting boating safety.
– c/m –