Behind the Scenes

Looking back at 2014

Lion of BabylonThis last year was quite a ride for the team at Ancient History Encyclopedia. Like every company, we had highs and lows, but in the end everything worked out just fine and we’re in a much stronger position than when we started. Our biggest achievement is probably that this year, we became the world’s biggest ancient history website (more about that below). Even after five years, I’m still impressed by what we’ve achieved with almost no money!

I personally want to thank our team of volunteer editors and authors, who made this all possible. Our core team has invested countless hours of their free time into making this project possible. Our many authors from across the globe (all volunteers) have provided us with excellent content, both writing and photography, to give to the world for free. Also, a big thanks to our partners and of course our audience, who have always supported us, given great feedback, and kept coming back. Thank you all!

Growth

This year, we added quite a lot of new content, driving our total count of definitions & articles over 1,000. We added:

  • 161 definitions
  • 69 articles
  • 1007 images
  • 62 blog posts
  • 219 videos
  • 23 book reviews

Features

Ancient History Encyclopedia is constantly improving and adapting to changing trends on the internet, in education, and in people’s habits. We received a lot of great feedback from our audience, and we were able to act on (hopefully) most of it. Here’s what we added:

We also added several new social media pages:

Last but not least, we updated our website design in 2014 with the help of the Argentinian design company VOX. The website is now much cleaner, streamlined, and also tablet-friendly. In short: More modern and usable.

Audience

Our web traffic also grew significantly:

January 2014:

  • 505,000 unique users
  • 972,000 pageviews

December 2014:

  • 848,000 unique users (+68%)
  • 1,695,000 pageviews (+74%)

Over the entire year, we had 6.7 million unique visitors and 13.5 million pageviews. That’s about +150% compared to last year (more than double).

According to Alexa rankings, we now get more traffic than the British Museum and the Louvre. In fact, we get more traffic than all but two of the world’s top 10 museums. We also don’t know of any other ancient history website that gets more traffic than us (based on Alexa ranking), so we believe that we’ve become the biggest ancient history website on the internet! WOW!

ahe-traffic-2014

However, we had a big slump in summer, more noticeable than in previous years. It appears that this summer, our audience took more vacation than they did in 2013. We can also observe a small dip in February (when we got hacked & took the site down temporarily to protect our users), a dip in mid-August (when we changed domain name and it took a while to recover our Google ranking), and a dip late in November (which was Thanksgiving week). Particularly in February and in August we were pulling our hair out, but in the end we did things right and reaped the rewards.

Team

This year, our team grew, as well. We welcomed Kathryn Peyton as our Social Media curator (now Head of Finance), Jason Moser as web developer, and Liana Miate & James Lloyd as Social Media Assistants. You can find out more about them on our team page.

Revenue

We need money to run this site and produce the great content that we want to give you for free. We optimized our advertising solutions to increase revenue while keeping the ads unintrusive and moderate, and we added a membership (which gives you an ad-free website), as well as our card shop on Etsy. Additionally, we completely overhauled the donations page, making it simpler and clearer.

The result: Our revenue grew by over 100%! That means we’ve got more funds to give you free content and more features. Remember, we’re a non-profit company and we haven’t got any shareholders. Nobody is getting rich from this, as we’re doing this for you, our readers.

Thank you for reading and sharing our success.

Filed under: Behind the Scenes

by

Jan van der Crabben

CEO & Founder of Ancient History Encyclopedia. When he's not working on AHE, he loves to spend time with his family going hiking, visiting historic places, or doing all-day BBQs in the garden with good real ale or whiskey.