Sunday, June 02, 2002

June 2002 Update

as at June 2nd 2002:

This section has been created so that our visitors can check back and quickly
discover if anything new has been added or updated since their last visit as
well as reading about works-in-progress which may be of future interest.

The site has been operational since April 9th 2002 and although we have made
good progress there is still much work to be done and we have many images in
various stages of inclusion.

The following is a list detailing all the work to date with an indication of
current status: -

1. Church of the Incarnation NYC - work needs to be organised, labelled, sized
and uploaded.

2. St Martin's Church, Brampton - most need to be organised, labelled, sized
and uploaded.

3. Jesus Church, Troutbeck - Fully uploaded.

4. Ponsonby Church - Fully uploaded.

5. Lanercost Priory - a few pictures to be uploaded shortly.

6. Ruthwell Parish church - Pictures to be uploaded shortly.

7. Dundonald Church, Ayrshire - Pictures to be uploaded shortly.

8. Trinity College Chapel Cambridge - Pictures to be uploaded shortly.

9. St James's Church, Staveley - Fully uploaded.

10. St Paul's Church, Irton - Pictures to be uploaded shortly.

11. Trinity Church, Saugerties - Fully uploaded.

12. St Paul's Richmond - Most need to be organised, labelled, sized and uploaded.

13. St Paul's Paterson - Most need to be organised, labelled, sized and uploaded.

14. Flemington Presbyterian Church - Most need to be organised, labelled, sized
and uploaded.

15. United Methodist Church, Hudson Falls - Fully uploaded.

16. Holy Trinity Ayr - All need to be organised, labelled, sized and uploaded.

In addition to the above, during the course of the last week we have taken pictures
of the windows in St Margaret's Church in Washington DC as well as pictures
of some of the Connick windows in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception,
also in Washington DC.

Now I would like to describe the events of Saturday May 25th and the following

Firstly, while in Washington that weekend, by chance I noticed a sharp increase
in our hits statistics. This is an indication of the traffic going through the
site and we had been 'clocking' an increasing number but were still only in
the range of around 2,000-4,000 per day (perhaps 100 people) whereas on Saturday
25th this number grew to over 38,000 in one day.

It was only after doing some investigation that I discovered that the reason
was that we had been declared Yahoo's "Pick of the Day", something we were extremely
pleased about.

The hits dropped slightly on Sunday and Monday but then rebounded with a vengeance
to about 42,000 on Tuesday and the month-to-date figures for May were showing
over 4,000 visitors and close to a quarter of a million page views.

On Wednesday disaster struck and our web-hosting service closed down the site
because the volume of traffic was "taking up excessive bandwidth". However,
they did not apparently perceive a need to communicate this to me and neither
did they respond to my many communications for a full 48 hours. During this
time all that anyone trying to visit us could see was a big sign saying "Forbidden"
and implying that they had no rights to be here. This was all VERY upsetting.

By Thursday night we had selected and signed on a new hosting service - one
which we believe will be much better able to handle the volume of traffic, have
much less downtime and be much faster-loading. All of this is at a price but
we feel that based on the accolade from Yahoo and the level of interest that
people have shown we will eventually recover the extra cost by some kind of
'Gift Shop' sales.

Transferring to the new host server was not an instantaneous event but we were
able to make the transition by very early morning on June 2nd.

Our goal is to become the definitive site for anyone interested in stained glass
windows with particular emphasis on windows and designs by important glassmakers
of the 19th and 20th centuries. The scope is huge and however hard we try we
will only scratch the surface but we are determined to do more.

9th update

site has been running on the new server for a week now and to the best of our
knowledge it has not gone down and it is undoubtedly much faster loading than
previously - moving was clearly a good decision, albeit at a financial cost.

Washington DC shoot went quite well last weekend and we have some quite good
pictures of 3 fine Tiffany windows as well as others in St Margaret's and in
the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Unfortunately time constraints and
a queue of work will mean that they will not be uploaded for a while.

23rd update

why have we changed the home page? Well, this week we tried out a new software
package to analyse the statistics concerning the traffic on the website. The
hosting service provides some analysis of the data which is accumulated but
we wanted to try to get a better understanding of what people seemed to like
to spend time on and how the various parts of the site compare in terms of traffic.

new software which we found is really quite powerful and produces reports which
are far more informative than those we had been getting. Among many other things
we can now get data on actual and average times spent on the site and the routes
that visitors follow from page to page.

was this last item which led us to discover an item of concern. Based on the
statistics for June month-to-date it appears that about half of the visitors
to the site only got as far as the home page. This is very hard to understand
since by far the majority of visitors seem to come directly to the site, mostly
by typing in the url, and we just cannot figure out why they would simply look
at the home page with St Luke and go away without at least exploring something.

some of these will have decided that the site was not what they thought or what
they were looking for but we just cannot believe that this would apply to all
of these people - and we are talking thousands, not hundreds. One theory is
that some of these people may not realise that the words they see are actually
buttons which open up new pages. Unless they actually scroll their mouse over
the words they will not see the underline come up and for someone who is perhaps
not very 'Net-experienced' this could be confusing. Another possibility is that
some of these visitors could have been hoping to see mention of Tiffany or Morris
and as the maker buttons are below the bottom of most peoples' browser pages
they just might move on without realising that they could scroll down on the
home page.

situation has definitely improved during the course of the month and on a daily
basis the number of visitors who do not venture beyond the home page is now
between a quarter and a third but we would like it to be even lower and so,
as an experiment, we added the new button which will lead people to the makers'
buttons. We also tried to make it look a little more like a button.

will now see whether this translates into more people entering the site and
looking around and less people just taking one look at the home page and going
away. We do apologise to anyone who preferred the aesthetic appeal of the home
page before this change but sometimes aesthetics have to give way to functionality.

week the site was made 'Website of the Week' by Amateur Photographer magazine,
a publication which I have admired for more years than I care to admit to! As
someone who took photographs for over 30 years while living in the UK I had
always wanted to have something published in AP or one of the other popular
photographic magazines but I could never have predicted that it would come about
at this time and in this way.