Blog Traffic and Engagement: Stats Edition

I’m always a little uncomfortable sharing numbers because it feels like discussing my income. Yet every time another blogger shares their numbers with me, I learn something, so I’m sharing numbers today. Before I start,let me be clear that I’m not bragging or complaining. I know three other bloggers (at least) who have done MUCH better than this during their first 8 months of blogging. I’m happy for them all. I know plenty who haven’t done as well, and that doesn’t make them worse bloggers than me. I’ve had a lot of help, and I’ve gotten lucky many times this year.

These are Sourcerer’s monthly page view totals through June 30. I’m pleased with them, but not because of the raw totals. It’s the overall trend,  a consistent monthly increase aside from one outlier, that pleases me.

  • November 2013 – 426
  • December 2013 – 432
  • January 2014 – 3,424
  • February – 1,411
  • March – 1,878
  • April – 2,174
  • May – 2,976
  • June – 3,434
  • 2013 Total – 858
  • 2014 Total – 15,293

In November and December, I actually did better than I thought I would with a new blog. December doesn’t represent a real increase, because I didn’t start this blog until Nov. 7. But on the other hand, Dec. 23-Jan. 1 is a terrible time to be blogging. I think it’s probably the worst nine days of the year for social media.

January is the outlier and it surprised me. I was hoping to end January with more than 1,000 views. The reason it looks so good, compared to December, is that I got lucky four times during January:

  1. I did the Zero-to-Hero challenge and got my first post out early enough to get good placement in the index for Just Gene’O, which was The Writing Catalog at the time. I was also one of the first people to comment on the very first forum thread, and because I was a noob, I had my gravatar pointed at this blog. So I got tons of views that way, and from liking things on the Zero to Hero Tag.
  2. I was able to do debut posts for five contributors, all in a week, in early January, and promote them.
  3. All of the Southeast was snowed in for the better part of three days at the end of the month, but most people did not lose power. That got me two days off from work at a time when everyone in my geographic region was snowed in. Part Time Monster and Sourcerer posted 12 times in two days during that, and Diana got really lucky by titling a meme post “Snowmageddon,” which we shared it all over Facebook and got good traffic at both blogs for.
  4. Our first real StumbleUpon traffic happened this month, because Jeremy Stumbled a bunch of our links during the blizzard.

I knew February would not match January. No way, no how. February is only 28 days long, and four lucky breaks in a month is a lot, especially when they all come at times when you’re in a position to capitalize on them. Before January was even over, I knew that February was going to give me a new baseline. I was hoping to just top 900, because that would mean I’d hung onto 450 readers from January and doubled our steady traffic for the cost of a month’s work. I’ll take that any day of the week.

Since February, there’s been nothing but increases here. I’m not going to break every month down. April surprised me. We had a lot of drama here in March, and drama typically means one-time traffic. And I was barely present at all here in April, because I was doing the A to Z Challenge with Just Gene’O. May was sweet, and June was even better. Here’s why the increases in May and June:

  1. Search engines. We’ve managed to get one of Jeremy’s posts such a high search ranking that it’s bringing in 8-12 views every single day. Diana also wrote a Penny Dreadful series and consciously structured her headlines and leads for searches. It worked.
  2. StumbleUpon. We got really lucky several times in both May and June with some of Jeremy’s shares. We’re still not sure why, and haven’t been able to figure out how to do it consistently. But I’m stumbling things now, too. Mostly other bloggers. Trying to get my account active and figure out how to be effective there. If you wake up one morning and find hundreds of referrals from StumbleUpon in your stats, do let me know. Chances are, it’s either me or Jeremy experimenting and trying to help our blogging buddies at the same time. StumbleUpon doesn’t really like you just sharing your own stuff, so we are always looking for things to share.
  3. Frequent posting. I am absolutely certain frequency matters now, at least if you blog the way I do. All our best days are days where we posted three or four times, even if two of the posts were just photos.

I don’t expect July to match June. I’m looking for a new baseline number at the end of July or, at latest, the end of August. True Blood isn’t getting us what Penny Dreadful got us from Google, we have no idea when or if we’ll see another massive day from StumbleUpon, and we can’t keep the frequent posting up past the first week of August. I’m hoping for 2500+ in July. That’ll give us a new baseline to work with, and it will mean we’ve increased our steady traffic by 1,000 views per month since February. I can live with that.

Now a quick word about average views per day. This stat is important, because it helps you make sense of the monthly totals. June only topped January by ten views. But June was the better month because it’s a day shorter, and because the June traffic wasn’t just a matter of blind luck and opportunism. Work and strategy got us 4 more views per day in June than we were able to get in January with godlike luck. If I didn’t have this stat to look at, I would have no way of knowing that. Average monthly viewers per day for Sourcerer:

  • November – 16
  • December – 14
  • January – 110
  • February – 50
  • March – 61
  • April – 73
  • May – 96
  • June – 114
  • 2013 average – 15
  • 2014 average – 84
 Now, here are Part Time Monster’s monthly views through June 30, so we can compare the two blogs:
  • November 2013 – 1,031
  • December 2013 – 573
  • January 2014 – 2,579
  • February – 1,524
  • March – 2,217
  • April – 2,527
  • May – 3,305
  • June – 3,077
  • 2013 Total – 1,613
  • 2014 Total – 15,230

Observations

  • PTM slipped a little in June. I’m hoping we can manage to stay above 3K in July. If we do, I’ll take that as the new baseline.
  • If you compare these numbers, you’ll see that Sourcerer has matched PTM in views this year on the strength of two good months. I see this every day in our stats. The Monster’s traffic is more consistent. It doesn’t swing as wildly as Sourcerer’s.
  • Those two good months are months where Sourcerer posted several times per day for long stretches. For the most part, PTM posts once per day. What that tells me is, all things being equal, a single post at PTM is worth almost twice the number of views that a post at Sourcerer is worth.

Here are Part Time Monster’s daily averages:

  • January – 83
  • February – 54
  • March – 72
  • April – 84
  • May – 107
  • June – 103
  • 2013 average – 26
  • 2014 average – 84

Observations

  • You can see the same thing here you see with the monthly views. Sourcerer is only better for average daily views in January and June.
  • Part Time Monster topped January for average views in April, partly on the strength of the A to Z Challenge.
  • The only reason Sourcerer is keeping up with Part Time Monster is because of views from StumbleUpon and search engines. That is mostly Jeremy’s and Diana’s doing. It’s their posts that people are reading, and I don’t mind that at all. My role is to give advice, keep the content flowing, and analyze things. They have much better instincts when it comes to writing things that people actually want to read, and I’m glad we’re a team.

Just a few thoughts to wrap things up:

  • There’s really no substitute for partners, unless you’re just that good. People working together can accomplish much more than people working independently, most of the time.
  • Part Time Monster has a big advantage, because it rides on two peoples’ social media. Aside from a couple of exceptions, everything published at the Monster sends links out to all my social media accounts. Sourcerer doesn’t share Diana’s accounts that way. I set that up at the start, for very good reasons, and I think my instinct was a good one.
  • Contributors, both at PTM and here, have been the real driving force behind this success. A multiplicity of perspectives is just interesting, it seems. If we suddenly found ourselves without contributors, I’d have to rethink my entire way of doing things.

That’s all for today. 1500 words is my absolute limit, and I’m at 1495. If you have questions, or would like to compare info on the thread, feel free to comment.

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30 thoughts on “Blog Traffic and Engagement: Stats Edition

  1. I tinkered with Stumble that late night and I didn’t figure it out nor did I find any explanations in my searches. I haven’t been back since due to life and such. I suppose I could stumble blogs as I read them. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • That was me 🙂

      My stumbles are only worth two views. I’m starting to stumble a few things every week because we have a theory that Stumble privileges active accounts. Jeremy has 1700 stumbles going back years — in the early days of social media he used it to do some of the things FaceBook does now. He’s also been stumbling at least two or three things a week for six months.

      We believe that difference in activity is why his hit big sometimes and mine never do.

      How are you listed over there? Meant to follow you already, but forgot to.

      Like

  2. Well, since you’re the third person who’s commented about Stumble today and obviously has an account, that’s three people for me to follow and Stumble things for occasionally 🙂 Are you listed as Winter Bayne over there, too?

    Like

  3. @ Jay Dee, Luther, and Winter Bayne. I think I found all of you over there and followed you. Here’s a list of people I know who have stumble accounts, though they aren’t all active.

    1. Diana — parttimemonster
    2. Steven Umbro of The Leather LIbrary — leatherlibrary
    3. Jeremy — admiralmeatloaf
    4. Phil, one of Jeremy’s contributors who also blogs –: JediMcNelly

    Thinking I might put a post together with all our handles, bookmark all your blogs in a special folder so I can keep track, and start stumbling people who I know have accounts and start giving their stumbles likes for awhile to see what happens. This is a sizeable group of people now. Both the geographic distribution and the relatively low level of follower overlap are good, I think.

    Like

  4. This is really interesting. But I’ve got a request. Could you set the numbers out differently please? On mobile they are so jumbled it’s really hard to see. Maybe putting each month and number on a separate line? Sorry to bother you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s hard to judge the effect as I ended up reading through on the page where it’s really well laid out now. In my mobile reader it’s retained the previous layout and there’s no refresh. Grrrr but I guess it will be clearer for anyone opening it this way now. Looks like I need to start using my stumble account then. Thanks for the change.

    Like

  6. Interesting about frequent posting. I’ve noticed Wednesdays have been big the last few weeks on my blog and that’s usually a slow day. The only difference has been that I’ve got two blogging group posts running on Wednesdays. I’m trying to experiment with scheduling posts a week ahead and then adding quote or image posts or something on different days to see if it has any effect. I was literally getting 300 hits a day on the Disney posts for months and then they fell off to around 2 or 3. No idea what happened either way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • that is a weird falloff on the Disney posts. Very strange that it happened so suddenly. It’s not surprising at all that the blogging group posts have turned your Wednesdays around. Anything you can do to involve other bloggers in a legitimate, non-self serving way should get you a boost. Some of our best days here are days when I do awards and link to a ton of other bloggers.

      the quotes and the image posts, I find, work best as second posts to follow up a piece of writing. They aren’t all that good for views because people can consume the whole thing right from the reader. Most of my photoblogs get more likes than post views, but they are good, for a few reasons:

      1. They’re easy to put together and don’t take much time.
      2. They allow you to hit an entirely different set of news feeds than the ones you posted the first post to.
      3. They’re short, so they don’t really disturb the front page very much. If someone does click through, chances are they’re interested in checking out your blog, and they are going to scroll down and look at that earlier post.

      That’s my theory, anyway. Batman and Wordless Wednesdays are consistently the best combination of posts we have, stat-wise.

      Like

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  8. I’ve been exploring stats a bit since I commented here and then a colleague suggested linking on Reddit. So I did. I got 200 hits then 460 hits compared to my regular average which is somewhere around 55 per day. And I’ve started stumbling but I gather that stumbling the same site more than 15 times can be limited by stumble. (Plus you can’t add your own stumbles from the mobile app as far as I can tell.) thought if share the Reddit experience though.

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  9. Pingback: Fall Preview and Revised Social Media Strategy | Sourcerer

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