First of all, greetings to first time visitors of this website/blog. It's not really that decent, and I've figured out that the interface isn't that intuitive, so I must apologise - improvements are in the pipeline. I might even get around to documenting some of the more confusing aspects of the website, but till then, this will do.
Now, I've been incessantly monitoring visitor statistics over the past few days, to see the effect of a little viral marketing campaign I've launched. I attempted larger-scale campaigns last year with very similar tactics, but I didn't do much to track them. This time I've been monitoring almost every visitor to this website during my waking hours - yes, I know exactly what pages you've read! I know that most people have been following this article on separation of mosque and state, but that most have not really looked beyond it; it's a popular "exit page". People tend to explore more if they first stumbled on this article on the social contract.
Oh, and I have gotten 295 visits from this page on Malaysia Today alone. Thanks, Raja Petra! Blog comments are such good viral marketing tools. As a sidenote, friends' blogs have contributed about 40 visits, cumulatively. It's decent, I suppose. Oh, and Wikipedia is contributing to downloads of a particularly infamous Parliamentary video hosted here. It's eating up my bandwidth, but then again, I'm nowhere near my limit, so I guess it's not a priority.
Oh, sorry, I digressed. Yes, tracking visitors. From my observations, I soon noticed that the "Most Read Recent Articles" box on the main index was directing people to more pertinent articles than the...crap we have on the forums. However, since it wasn't on every page, like the recent forum posts box is, only those arriving on the main page were noticing it. I then readjusted things to accomodate this. Likewise, I noticed that people were wondering why there isn't a comments section on the blog, so I added a box prominently linking to the forum for comments at the bottom of every article.
Now, I'm taking things to the next level. An article about me (and probably my blog) is coming out in the September edition of Off the Edge, the youth magazine of the Malaysian business magazine The Edge, which means more visitors. I've thus installed Google Analytics, a really handy tool for stalking visitors. Yes, that's right. I know where each and every one of you buggers are coming from now.
To that visitor from Kampung Bukit Lanjan, hello - I know you only visited two pages before leaving. To those people in Norcross, Georgia (the American state, not the former Soviet republic) - greetings! Harvard students, I'm flattered that you consider me extremist and stupid enough to be worthy of your attention. Jordanville, Queensland, I don't know what you're doing here, but hello to you too. Oh, and Kampong Abu Bakar, what are you doing, visiting as many as twelve pages on this website? And last but not least, I'd like to wave to the "ROYAL MALAYSIA POLICE" - I hope you find your stay entertaining.
So, yes, with the power of Google, nothing is impossible! I'm looking into possible interface improvements now thanks to feedback from various visitors and my analytical tools. Some people apparently don't know that there's more than brief summaries awaiting them on the main index of the blog - this is going to be fixed soon, I hope. I presume there are a lot of other issues I've overlooked which need addressing. The forums aren't very inviting as a form of discussion, actually, but I don't think an interface change can fix that.
As for where this website is headed, I am planning to drive it in a more user-oriented direction. I don't like being the guy writing everything here. Having a monopoly on the front page makes me a bit uneasy. I'd rather have a more open monopoly, where instead of writing everything, I let others write for me and then separate the wheat from the chaff - so as Adlai Stevenson said, I can live up to the true tradition of "An editor ... someone who separates the wheat from the chaff and then prints the chaff."
The plan is to utilise the forum as an input - where people discuss issues, and then I pick salient pieces of prose to highlight on the front page. For this to work, of course, I'll need something of better quality than the tripe we currently have. But to attract quality, you need to have quality first. Sigh...so if you're still reading, please - register and post something. It doesn't have to be witty, enlightening, or even rational. It just has to be something passably understandable. Even if we don't gain anything out of it, it's still cathartic for you to write something and express your feelings. And who knows? It could be the start of something bigger.