Something funny that I noticed when trawling through analytics report from my blog today. It appears that close to 60% of search results ending up on my blog are related to image search results. Apart from eating up a sizeable chunk of bandwidth (around 30%; another sizeable chunk is taken up by quiz archive / question paper downloads) as the results (most often) lead straight to full-sized versions of the images, it also means that they bypass the main text-based content completely. Which also means it’s a loss-maker, in a sense, since the full-sized images obviously don’t earn revenue from ads.
Not that I mind. :) I simply hope that a majority of them don’t act like bastards and hotlink my images. (I could filter out hotlinks, but it hasn’t been a big issue – so far.) My image filenames are very sensibly named, coupled with captions and/or alt-tags in many of them. I don’t do this to consciously game search engine rankings; I tend to give quite descriptive names since I want to be able to look them up using desktop search if I need to use them again – which I guess helps pushing them up in image search rankings when people try to search using descriptive keywords. It’s not just content that can be found elsewhere (such as movie posters in my reviews) but also original images uploaded by me on my photo gallery, snapshots taken to illustrate points, and screengrabs from movies describing something happening in that scene.
I’m also reaching the point where I’m feeling the need to switch over to virtual dedicated hosting, compared to shared hosting right now (on GoDaddy). This is mostly due to the combined traffic load that this blog, and gyaan.in, have been receiving over the past few months. (I also host a few other sites on that same hosting account.) I’m currently on the costliest plan that allows for 200 simultaneous connections. Current traffic isn’t causing outages, but visitors have often complained of long pageload times on both sites (blog and gyaan.in) now. Script timeout restrictions on shared hosting are getting a tad annoying too.
Why haven’t I already shifted to virtual dedicated hosting? One of the main reasons is that I’ve invested in this shared hosting account till 2012 (nothing to do with Mayans, I swear) – and shifting prematurely would mean that going to waste. Virtual-dedicated would certainly solve script timeout issues, and almost certainly pageload times too.
To be honest, I’ve been fairly happy with GoDaddy shared hosting service. For the price you pay, you get really good service, acceptable uptime levels, and so far I haven’t had problems with customer support. I genuinely think that a lot of flak that GoDaddy faces is often due to first-time hosting consumers who don’t have experience starting up a site incorrectly blaming tech support for things they do wrong or can’t figure out.
I’m also looking forward to seeing a stable, cost-effective grid-hosting service to come forward. The cheapest grid-hosting services today offer something between shared hosting and virtual dedicated, by scaling the resources allocated according to demand. Theoretically, one of the primary advantages is this means they can offer it at a price lower than virtual dedicated / dedicated servers and still offer the flexibility to sites to consume more computing / bandwidth resources in bursts. Media Temple’s grid-hosting is the most popular service of this kind but has had major issues with reliability according to users, which is why they’re working on a new system called ‘cluster-server‘ that they hope will be more stable. GoDaddy has grid-service hosting in beta testing right now too although I haven’t seen any reliable reviews of it. Assuming that traffic keeps growing, I hope that grid hosting services mature by 2010/2011.
I’ve made a few changes – using database caching, reducing number of posts on a single page – but I feel that if traffic keeps growing at current levels, I’ll have to jump ship from shared hosting soon.
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