2008 CAFA Annual General Meeting

September 17, 2008

Webmaster's Report

This past year has been a busy and productive one for the freedivecanada website. It all started with a long overdue switch of internet providers, followed by an exploration of the capabilities of the new web host.

Here are the highlights:

Site Move

For years, the freedivecanada site was hosted with Uniserve. Our plan cost $20 per month and had 100 MB of storage. Unfortunately, with all of the content on the site, we were constantly bumping into that storage limit. Even more aggravating, the service at Uniserve was deteriorating and there were frequent outages.

Finally, we had enough and bought a hosting plan with Site5 in the USA. This plan cost only $7.50 per month but it allowed us to store up to 750 GB of data and manage everything with a handy web interface.

Unfortunately, the move didn't go quite as smoothly as planned. It turned out that nobody within CAFA ever had the keys to the domain name. The site had originally been set up by a friend of Mandy's who had long since moved away. The domain administrator was listed as some small scale web company that we had never heard of and had never heard of us. Fortunately, after several exchanges of emails and faxes, Brent and I finally wrested control of the domain name from this bottom feeder company and moved the site to the new host.

We weren't out of the woods yet. While the service at Site5 is much better than Uniserve, it is still not that good. A misconfiguration on Site5's part and a pokey response left us offline for the better part of two days after the switch. Fortunately it has been relatively smooth sailing since then.

French Version of the Website

The goal of having a complete French language mirror to the site still seems a long way off. However, significant progress was made. In December, Gabrielle stated her intention to do much of the site translation. That motivated me to finally do all of the infrastructure things necessary to make that go smoothly. I made a parallel directory structure and then created a new set of site graphics in French. I then set Gabrielle up on the site's version control system so that she could translate the text part of the pages into French and transfer the updated pages back to me for uploading. Unfortunately, I don't think that anything has been done since then.

You can see what has been done so far at www.freedivecanada.com/cgi-bin/welcome.pl?lang=fr.

Video Library

Earlier this year I found a way to stream video directly from our site using the same Flash video technology used on YouTube. The huge capacity of the new server made it tempting to put more multimedia on the site. I started with video from a couple of competitions that I had already processed. I then integrated the video library into the competition database to allow one to view individual performances directly from the results page or an athlete's competition history page. It was an instant hit. Competitor videos are now one of the most popular parts of the website and certainly the majority of the site's bandwidth.

CAFA has several years worth of competiton video but it takes quite a while to edit and process each performance so this feature may be for future competitions only and only if a team of people can contribute to the task of editing all of the video.

Search Engine Ranking

The freedivecanada site is now Google's second ranked site on the keyword 'freediving'. At least that's what I see. The search results now seem to have a geographical bias, depending on where you are searching from. Last year we were in first place but we've been passed by the Wikipedia entry on freediving.

Site Traffic

Traffic to the site has taken a definite hit since moving to the new server. Last year we had typically 3000 to 5000 unique visitors to the site per month. This year it is more like 1500 to 2600, about half of what it was. Fortunately, the site traffic has been gradually rebuilding since moving to the new server.

A full breakdown of site traffic since moving to the new server is shown below:

MonthUnique visitorsNumber of visitsPagesHitsBandwidth
Jan 20081765335711919116827437.82 MB
Feb 20082064355313633154353546.69 MB
Mar 20081527284710918100681393.69 MB
Apr 200818553294120311216962.56 GB
May 200820553934159061532882.51 GB
Jun 200823884475158681338445.17 GB
Jul 200826394013126501567574.17 GB
Aug 200825294107136891583383.15 GB
Sep 200878312274294475261016.61 MB
Oct 200800000
Nov 200800000
Dec 200800000
Total1760530807110908114331019.90 GB

Looking ahead

The translation of the website to French remains the top priority for future website work. This will have to be a team effort or something that CAFA pays someone to have done. I have already done much of the background work to create the French graphics and links but there is still quite a lot of work to do on getting CGI scripts to properly work in French.

Looking even further ahead it would be nice to move the site over to a content management system like what I have been using for my own site and the new Vancouver Apneist website. Such a system would lend itself much better to a team of maintainers and to bilingual content. However, merging the competition and membership database and its programming into such a content management system would be quite a chore and I don't see having the time to do that in the upcoming year.

While I would be happy to continue to maintain the freedivecanada site for another year, I would like to be able to hand the site off to a new web team some time in the future. As always, the is an open invitation to anyone who wants to help with the freedivecanada website's development and maintenance.

Tom Lightfoot

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Updated 10 September 2008
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