becausebirds.com


becausebirds.com current homepage.jpg

The current 2023 design of becausebirds.com

Description

becausebirds.com is a self-hosted birdwatching WordPress blog launched in 2013. It often has a tech focus and is written to be accessible to new and seasoned birders alike.


History

Because Birds has been a passion project of mine since 2013. It began as a Tumblr blog in March 2013. After finding a humor niche and growing a large audience there, I yearned for more. I wanted my own place to write, be creative, and sharpen my technical skills. Christmas of that year, my previous companion gifted me a WordPress blog that he set up, which would get me started with formal blogging. I transferred my domain to the new WordPress and got to work.


Focus

Since launch, Because Birds has grown and evolved as I've gotten deeper into my birdwatching hobby. I write about my birding experiences & trips, reviews, guides, and anything else that sparks my curiosity. Whatever I'm feeling inspired by at the moment is a candidate for a new blog entry.


Monetization

The blog has been monetized in various ways throughout the years, with the goal of at least covering the costs of operations and ongoing maintenance. 

Display ads

Initially, Google AdSense display ads were shown throughout the site. The traffic was fairly minimal at the time, and these ads brought in pennies at the expense of the website loading slower and looking spammy. Display ads were quickly removed after a few months to improve the visitor experience. To be honest, even with the traffic I get today, ads would still not be worth the compromise to the viewership.

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing, which is linking to products sold by third-party resellers (mainly Amazon in this case) was a great fit for this blog. When visitors click an affiliate link and make a purchase, a small commission is earned by the referrer. This monetization method is a good fit for the website because it is unobtrusive and can be organically included in content without being detrimental to the experience.

Because Birds' approach to affiliate marketing has always been to only link to products I have had a personal positive experience with and would recommend to birder friends. The exception to this is the blog's Birdwatcher Gift Ideas page. While I have personal experience with a lot of these products, many are found through my own research on what may make good gifts for birdwatchers.

Brand sponsors

Occasionally, brands or companies will reach out to me directly to provide products for review. Reviews written on these products come from an honest perspective and do not necessarily skew positive because they are provided for free.


Technical details

Because Birds was originally launched on shared hosting via BlueHost but as my knowledge and experience grew, I transitioned to a faster virtual private server (VPS) on Digital Ocean.

To make managing multiple WordPress websites easier, I use the SpinupWP platform.

Content management system
WordPress.org
Domain registrar Porkbun
Server type Virtual Private Server (VPS)
Server host Digital Ocean droplet
Server details 2GB memory / 50GB disk
Server management SpinupWP
Theme foundation GeneratePress
Analytics Plausible Analytics (view live dashboard)

Design

Current design

Homepage

Because Birds currently leverages a Full Site Editing (FSE), open source, block-based theme from GeneratePress. This lightweight theme allows for a focus on the content with extremely-high PageSpeed scores across mobile and desktop.

becausebirds.com current homepage.jpg

Single post

The GeneratePress theme shines on single posts with a bold hero title section.

becausebirds.com single post current design.jpg

Previous design

Homepage

The initial theme for Because Birds was called Divi by Elegant Themes. Divi is one of the most common WordPress themes out there and the website used Divi's specific magazine-like Extra theme. Divi is less of a theme and more of a WYSIWYG platform with its own themes. It looks pretty, but it came at the expense of slow, bloated code and performance.

becausebirds.com launch homepage.jpg

The initial design of becausebirds.com. Pretty, but it had a large variety of visible categorires to keep fresh.

Single post

becausebirds.com single post previous design.jpg

The Hooded Merganser pixel art logo was designed by the talented pixel artist alurasheans.

becausebirdslogo.png


Revision #21
Created 21 March 2023 04:36:02 by Jeff Mann
Updated 25 May 2023 18:24:04 by Jeff Mann