Websites Gone Wild
Whoda thunkit? When SCAtoday.net was founded, it was because Justin thought it would be fun to run an SCA-related newswire, having done similar work in the modern world, and Milica thought it might be fun to contribute a few stories now and then and do a little editorial work.
We hoped we might someday get upwards of ten thousand page views a month, if things went well. Just a few days short of four years later, we are running our five thousandth article and average about 300,000 to 500,000 page views per month, with at least one month of over one million page views[*]. Over 2500 people have signed up with the site for personal accounts. What a ride it's been!
Of the ten most popular stories to date, five are from the Aoife's Links series, which we consider it a privilege to host. The others include several of our "partner sites"[**], specifically Pennsic.net, Mystic Mail, Legio Draconis, Sword Maiden, and Midnight Fantasy. And then there is The Quarter. Ahhh, those reprobates from Trimaris, and our favorite parody site...how we miss them since they went on indefinite hiatus.
The most prolific contributor, by a wide margin, is our Editor-In-Chief, Milica of Varna, who has contributed over 4,000 articles so far. Not bad for someone who volunteered to "help out a little" with the site! Second in line is the Publisher, Iustinos Tekton called Justin, with over 600. Karen Larsdatter is third, with over 300 contributions, followed by Aoife and Ursula with over 100 each, then Vallawulf and Jane Stockton with just under 100 each. Catriona, Heirusalem, and Colyne Stewart round out our "all-time top ten contributors" list, with several dozen credits each.
Did You Know...
- We don't really work from early morning until well after dark to bring you the latest news. SCAtoday.net has an automated scheduler that can release stories onto the newswire at whatever time the editors select, allowing us to set up a whole day's worth of stories at one time. Often we schedule several days in advance, which guarantees we won't miss a day if we get busy with modern-world work or family life. This is also how we manage to get stories onto the wire when we're out of town at events. (Believe it or not, SCAtoday.net staffers also like to go to events!)
- Many people arrive at SCAtoday.net through search engines such as Google. Among the most popular search strings used in recent months have been these:
- sca today
- medieval crime and punishment
- medieval punishment
- medieval underwear
- Paris Hilton (huh? No idea why...they probably match on "Paris" -- the city -- being mentioned in a lot of articles about French history)
- leather armor patterns
- We're actually not an officially-sanctioned publication of any organization, especially not of the SCA Inc. Check our disclaimer at the bottom of every page.
- Our site's name was inspired by LinuxToday.com, which is a site owned by one of Justin's former employers. Justin used to help run LinuxToday.com, and thought, "Wouldn't it be cool to do something like that for the SCA?"
- SCAtoday.net relies on the Drupal content management system (CMS). Drupal is a free, Open Source program written in the PHP language that can be extended with add-on modules to add new features. See our Colophon for more information.
- From our founding in August 2002 until mid-2003, SCAtoday.net ran on a custom-written content manager by Justin. When we realized that maintaining custom software was untenable due to time limitations — albeit fun — we switched to Drupal. From mid-2003 until spring of 2006 (almost three years), we ran on a pre-release "beta" version of Drupal. Ironically, the software was quite reliable and we had almost no outages. We upgraded to a recent production-released version of Drupal several months ago and will be updating again, to the very latest version, this fall.
- Four of SCAtoday.net's staff members (Milica, Justin, Catriona, and Ursula) all live in the same shire, the Marche of Alderford. Three of us (Milica, Justin, and Catriona) are part of the same household, Erevnite Asteron.
- Other SCAtoday.net Reporters hail from all around the known world, from the East Kingdom to Lochac. We're always looking for new Reporters — interested?
[*] Don't read too much into those large numbers. Some of the page views are automated syndication feeds of our newswire in XML (RSS) format, while others are search engines spidering us. Also, some people have their browsers set up so that SCAtoday.net is their browser's home page and is set to automatically refresh at intervals. Still, we now get several hundred thousand regular page views per month, and thanks to a lot of referrals from Google and other search engines, a fair number of these appear to be from people in the modern world researching history or looking for reenactment information. Incidentally, we count page views and not "hits" because the latter also includes things like icons and logos that don't really say much about the site's usage.
[**] A "partner site" is defined as one that runs our syndicated RSS newswire, and thereby earns a listing in the links directory that appears on our home page, lower-right corner. If your site is running our RSS feed, and you're not listed, contact us to request a listing.