Last September, we launched the first phase of revamping our website. We began with adding more content, including a lot more Illinois-centric material. We also brought back comments from our readers, a very valuable, enlightening and downright entertaining at times part of visiting the website. Then, in November we modernized the website.
We launched Guns Save Life as a WordPress website almost twenty years ago, give or take. We never changed our WordPress “theme” (the layout, if you will) because we were comfortable with it.
However, over the course of those years, more and more people starting accessing websites with their phones and tablets as opposed to laptops and desktop computers. Add to that WordPress updates didn’t like our old theme. Features stopped working and bad guys exploited some security vulnerabilities in its associated widgets (like the Calendar, for instance) to insert malware and even, on occasion, hijack our website.
With only one exception, we suspect those malware attacks by and large were not politically motivated (or US-based).
So back in October I began researching new themes that would serve our needs and after looking at hundreds, we settled on this one. A couple of weeks later, after playing with it in a sandbox and tweaking the settings, we launched it. I’m pleased to say that the new “theme” has met with resounding approval from users. We have a few issues we’re trying to iron out (including those diamonds with a question mark in them), but we’re generally quite happy and then some.
What’s more, our traffic has increased from a thousand visitors on a good week to a little over a thousand a day on average. Specifically, since January 1, we’ve had 46,120 visitors and 437,472 visits.
Most of our visitors land directly on our homepage, suggesting they’ve bookmarked us. About 35% of our “homepage” landings come from search engines.
Our top three stories since the first of the year?
#1: Mike Keleher’s While Illinois Withers, BATF Will Announce New Wrist Brace Rule This Month with 3840 visits.
#2: NEW BILL: HB5471: Gun, Mag, .50 BMG BAN… End to private transfers now included… with 3365 visits.
Goals for the future…
Always wanting to do better, my goal is to grow the website traffic to a few thousand visitors each day. I also write for The Truth About Guns and without giving too much away, TTAG has thousands of visitors each and every hour. With really big stories, I’ve seen hourly visitor numbers there approaching 30,000.
To put that into perspective, the last time I checked, Guns & Ammo has a MONTHLY circulation of about 400,000. And now you know why Guns & Ammo and other dead tree publications are growing thinner and thinner! Their ad revenue is getting spent on online placements aimed at both younger consumers as well as those who have ceased subscribing.
GSL would have to upgrade our hosting service to handle anything like 30,000 users an hour. When we grow big enough to routinely max out our 500-user limit at any given moment we’ll migrate. If that happens though, we’ll have more than enough traffic to start monetizing the website to pay for better hosting and maybe even enough to bring on some writers and pay them with more than a “thank you” for their work.
YOU CAN HELP!
Our mission at Guns Save Life is “We Defend Your Right To Defend Yourself.” You can help us reach even more people to educate, enthuse and even entertain them in their lives by sharing our website with them, or sharing stories that resonate with you.
Also, please leave comments. They are read. If it’s your first time, be patient. We usually check in on the website a couple of times a day and approve any pending first-time comments. After that first approval, you’re comments will almost always instantly appear in subsequent comments.
Thanks for reading and have a great week!