2014 Review, with Blogwanking

Since Luther and Sabina discussed their latest stats recently, I pulled a few of mine this morning. A lot of the info I usually talk about in these posts — top referrers, most popular posts, etc. — is covered in the annual reports, which I made public earlier today. In this post, I’m looking at how we did for traffic this quarter and how well we’ve accomplished our 2014 goals.

First, let’s take a look at Sourcerer’s month.

Sourcerer_December_2014The big spike on December 12 represents 118 views and 79 visitors. That was a Friday. We ran an American Horror Story review and I announced the redesign. I’m surprised we didn’t take a bigger hit the last two weeks of the month. We even managed 42 views and 30 visitors on Christmas Day despite the fact that I forgot to tag my Christmas post.

I’m satisfied with our best ever day, total views, and comments. I’d certainly take more, but they are better than I thought they’d be at this point. I am especially pleased at our views-to-comments ratio, even when I account for the fact that almost half of those comments are responses from the authors of our posts.

Now our monthly views and daily averages since we started.

Sourcerer_Monthly_2014_12_30Our overall daily average hasn’t changed since last quarter, so that number has been rock solid for almost six months. Let’s take a stroll through the year.

  • The massive January-over-December increase is not repeatable. We debuted our first four contributors last January. We also had a string of good luck that amounted to being struck by lightning three times in three weeks.
  • However, given where we are now, 3,500 page views in January is doable if we can get rolling early enough in the month.
  • I expect February though May to improve this year. We have a more solid contributor base, tons more friends, and an all-around better blog than we did last spring.
  • June, our best month, was not a matter of luck. That was a solid 30-day run of good blogging and it was our first good month for search traffic. We can do that again any time we can get the blog firing on all cylinders, pick the right topics to blog about, and sustain it for a month.
  • July and August only came out so well because I overextended myself. That won’t happen again, because you see the price we paid for it in September.
  • I’m surprised we held up so well in November and December, especially given that both David and I went on vacation and ended up down sick for nearly a month each. We have Luther, Diana, Will, and Google to thank for those numbers.
  • As I read the last quarter, if I am left to my own devices and have two or three top-notch contributors, this blog is good for 2,000 views per month just for posting every day. Obviously, more contributors, popular topics, and me having the time to do a lot of networking improves the numbers.

Just for the sake of comparison, here are Part Time Monster’s monthly totals and daily averages for the same period. The Monster is at 31,000 views and 5,126 comments as of this writing. Sourcerer is still keeping pace, and the Monster’s view-to-comment ratio is even better than ours.

Monster_Monthly_2014_12_30I am not going to walk you through the whole year here. The Monster has slipped from 84 to 81 average daily views this quarter and taken a pretty hard hit, traffic-wise. This isn’t a cause for concern. It’s because Diana had to slow the posting down to do more important things, and I’ve been too busy here to even post photos over there.

The Monster’s audience strikes me as loyal and engaged. Those numbers should improve dramatically once we get through January and into the Spring. I have another good run of Tolkien blogging coming over there, we’ll soon be starting the Feminist Fridays back up, and Diana has a bag of tricks to match my own. No worries here.

Comparison

Sourcerer had a better quarter than PTM for three reasons.Emanuel_Wynne

  1. The Walking Dead and American Horror Story are good for views. It helps that we also blog about comics and have a season’s worth of Penny Dreadful posts getting search hits every single day. And Diana and Luther are just awesome entertainers.
  2. On any given day, 20 to 50 percent of our traffic here is coming from searches, and that’s a higher percentage than the Monster is getting. This softens the blow when we can’t publish, or when all we can do is a music video.
  3. I’ve improved my social media blogging. If you’ll notice, I’m using three-sentence paragraphs now. I’ve also set up the world domination/pirate chatter to be a running gag, which lightens those posts up A LOT. The blogwanking will never will be hugely popular, but I’ve got enough attention with it now to to make it worthwhile and the people who read it tend to read it regularly.

The Goals

Our big goal in 2014 was to use our personal blogs to get to know people and make enough friends to build Sourcerer into a blog that can sustain itself on contributions. I gave this blog a year, and I was prepared to pull the plug if we didn’t make sufficient progress.

worlddominationIt required a lot of intermediate steps, but we’re almost there. All we need to do is deliver consistently here through July, pick the right fall TV shows to blog next year, and get to October with a contributor base for the next run. If we can do that, we’re golden.

We’ve also done well on the intermediate goals. For the most part, we posted every day here and at PTM for twelve months. We didn’t do that to set ourselves up to blog at that frantic pace forever. We did it because we needed several things, and we needed them in a hurry to keep this two-year plan from being a five-year plan.

  • We needed an archive deep enough to occupy a new reader for an hour or more.
  • We needed good posts to share, and the only way to get good stuff in a hurry is to write a bunch of it and sift through it for the best work.
  • We needed to know what people who are interested in our blogs like. I’m not one for totally pandering to an audience. But if you want readers at all, it’s important to pay attention to feedback, figure out what people like, and give them more of it.
  • We needed to prove we can deliver consistently, that we can keep long-term projects going, and that we can work well with others.

We’ve got all that, so we’re in a different phase now. I’ll blog at Just Gene’O when it suits me and I have the time. Part Time Monster will post at the pace Diana decides is best, with generous support from me and other contributors.

Sourcerer will post reviews and such, including my own, when we have contributors to write them. Otherwise, we’ll post photos and music videos. This is the only blog I am concerned with posting every day at during 2015, and to my way of thinking, five or six days a week is just as good as long as we hold to a consistent schedule.

The goals I am not satisfied with the progress on are personal and short term. I wanted to have a three-part series on Bilbo Baggins for Diana done by now. I also wanted to improve the design of my personal blog, and I wanted to have a month’s worth of photos loaded and tagged here. That hasn’t happened primarily for two reasons.

© Gene'O 2014; original photo by Vicki, 2013.

© Gene’O 2014; original photo by Vicki, 2013.

  • The redesign took longer than I expected it to take when I made my quarterly plan back in October.
  • I had no clue on October 1 that I was only a few weeks away from changing the way I use Facebook and making my personal account over there about blogging.

I prioritized the Facebook when I did because I asked my Facebook friends what they thought about it and ten or so bloggers gave it a thumbs-up. Then I posted about it on the blogs, and bloggers started sending me friend requests.

I felt as though that transition didn’t need to wait, once I started it, and I was right. My timeline posts are generating likes when they have good images and comments when I share the right things.  I think I made a good decision there, and the loading of the content will get done.

Here’s my quarterly report for July-September, and here’s a look at the numbers from our first 12 months of blogging.

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14 thoughts on “2014 Review, with Blogwanking

  1. Well done again Gene’O! I’m sure 2015 will be successful whichever way you direct the traffic and blogs or facebook traffic because you guys work so hard at it and make it interesting for us fellow bloggers to enjoy. Looking forward to future posts from all your different blogs and wishing you and your family a wonderful 2015!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never would have guessed your longest streak was 93 days. Seems like you’re always posting.

      No way I would have made 144 days if it were just me doing it. Just not possible.

      Like

    • Diana has a Word Domination board on Pinterest to curate these. Just based on what we’ve found in the last three months since we started looking for the world domination images, it seems that more than half of the ones available on the internet involve cats.

      We joke that they actually are trying to take over the world. Or maybe they already have, and that’s the joke.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. December was a really good month for me as well, beyond my expectations and actually made it my 2nd best month ever despite it having some days where I didn’t post anything. Here’s to an even more successful 2015 for both you and me! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, just from paying attention to the stats people have shared over the last year and looking at the WordPress annual reports, the most successful bloggers I know don’t post every day. The two who really stand out both generated views in the quarter-million range over the last year and published between 150 and 200 times.

      Link sharing and having a big bunch of friends who blog seems to be the real key.

      And this is funny. You can’t see this on the chart because I pulled the stats very early on Dec. 30. That turned into my best day in weeks and best day ever for likes. In fact, I did so well the last two days of the year, my average daily views shot up to 88 for December and 83 for the year.

      All the best in 2015!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Posts I loved this week | Taylor Grace

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