I’ve had a personal website for a few years now, on and off. However, I’ve never been involved in anything on the internet of a more universal interest than my day-to-day musings, so all my dealings with websites and bandwidth and advertising have been, shall we say, modest.

Until last month, that is, when I started serving up my translations of the Japanese comic ‘Azumanga Daioh’ at azumangainfo.org. The traffic for that website is still modest compared to some of the larger translation groups, but it has been interesting being in charge of a moderately successful website. Some observations:

  • In just under two months, the site has transferred 1.4 GB of data. My webhost hasn’t charged me anything extra yet. This is a good thing.
  • When Google indexes your site, a good number of people start finding you.
  • However, I still get more traffic from a couple of listings I placed on specialist directory sites.
  • The vast majority of people use Microsoft Internet Explorer in some shape or form. As loathsome as it is, you should definitely get your site working in this browser (unless you’re trying to prove a point).
  • Most traffic comes from the United States. But it has been very cool to see a not-insubstantial proportion of traffic from places like Malaysia, Russia, Israel, Japan, Vietnam, Uruguay, Australia, and so on.
  • Unbelievably, some people actually take the time to write to you with comments and thank yous. I got a long email today from someone in Indonesia who was very grateful that someone was taking the time to translate this series, and I’ve had a request from someone in Russia to use my translations as a basis for translating it into Russian.

Which brings me to my main point: it’s easy to forget that one of the internet’s greatest potentials is to bring together people from all over the world, simply, quickly and easily. Get out there and participate in forums, chats, comments, feedback… or even set up a website and provide something to the world. It feels great.