Quarterly Blogwanking: Spring 2015

I pulled the quarterly stats Sunday morning, so I’ve not captured the entire month of March, but I decided to go ahead and do this before the A to Z Challenge starts so we can see where we are going in. As always, I’m not bragging nor complaining. I do these because I always learn things when other bloggers share their stats, and I have friends who like this stuff.

We’ve had a stellar quarter both here and at Part Time Monster. I knew January would be good, but February and March have exceeded my expectations and compared to how we ended 2014, the Monster is absolutely killing it. I am curious about two things going forward:

  1. What’s the A to Z Challenge going to do for our traffic and engagement?
  2. Is the increased traffic we’ve seen this quarter sustainable, or are we in for a huge dip later in the year like we saw in 2014?

Here are Sourcerer’s monthly views. I went ahead and included them all so we can compare them to last year’s.

Sourcerer_Stats_2015_03_29January of this year was comparable to January of 2014, but we didn’t see the huge drop-off in February and March this year that we saw last year. That’s because January of last year was a lucky month — we had the Zero-to-Hero Challenge, a weekend where the entire southeastern U.S. was snowed in to binge on the Internet, and some lucky Stumbles. This year, we got the numbers in January by blogging consistently, and we’ve been able to maintain that consistency for the entire quarter.

I don’t expect to reach 3400 views for March, but it’s going to be close. I’m interested to see what we get the first week of April. I think we should see a nice bump, but I don’t know how much of the traffic growth I’m expecting in April we’ll be able to hang on to. We didn’t do A to Z here last year, but it got me my best month of 2014 at my personal blog.

The traffic at my personal blog settled back to the normal level pretty quickly once April was over last year. That doesn’t mean much, though. A to Z took so much out of me last year I had to shut my personal blog down for a couple of weeks to get Sourcerer back on track. I’m hoping I’ve done a good enough job with the planning this year to just keep rolling once April is over.

Now, Part Time Monster’s monthly totals.

PTM_Stats_2015_03_29The Monster’s last three months are the best quarter Diana and I have had at any of our blogs since we started, and it’s the #WeekendCoffeeShare that’s driving this increase. March looks better than it actually is, because Diana got more than 800 views on March 12-14 from someone Stumbling one of her posts, and that’s not a predictable source of traffic. Even when we correct for that, though, the Monster’s had a good month.

Sourcerer and Part Time Monster have run neck-in-neck for views most of the time we’ve been blogging. We’ve rarely ended a month more than 1,000 views apart. When one pulls ahead, the other always catches up. I’ve said several times that I thought PTM was pulling away and been wrong, but I think it’s happening now.

Just in general, the Monster is a better blog for getting views because Diana gets the same amount of traffic for a lot less work than I put into Sourcerer, which is a bit of a high-maintenance operation. Just to give you a frame of reference, PTM has published 550 posts since we started. We’ve published 775 here.

The #WeekendCoffeeShare has made me a believer in the power of linkups, so once A to Z is done, a Sourcerer-appropriate weekend linkup is my next project. And as for the StumbleUpon luck – that’s not going to be luck forever. We will learn how to use StumbleUpon effectively, even if it takes me all of next year to figure out how. And that’s likely the last network I’m going to need to solve.

This is not to suggest that you should run out and get yourself a linkup without thinking about what you’re hoping to accomplish. Linkups have to be well-crafted to appeal to a lot of people, and they have to attract people who actually visit the other blogs on the linkup. Otherwise, they’re just more work for very little gain. But I’ve seen enough good ones to put one together for this blog and have a chance at success with it.

In the meantime, I am interested in seeing how April plays out for these two blogs. Here’s why.

  • We have consecutive list placement and a lot of mutual friends who are near us on the list, and we typically post an hour apart.
  • We’re both doing A to Z with contributors, and we are writing posts for one another, but Diana has fewer contributors than Sourcerer.
  • We’re both planning to visit the same number of blogs, but Diana will be visiting more because she’s a helper, and so she has extra ones to visit.

I am curious to compare our daily totals, and to see how the #WeekendCoffeeShare, which will continue in April, plays into the numbers. Here’s a brief run-down of our quarterly referrals and top posts.

Sourcerer’s Top Posts

  • One of Jeremy’s Batman posts that gets Google search hits every day,
  • A big bunch of Luther’s Walking Dead recaps,
  • Rebecca’s review of Disclaimer,
  • Natacha’s post on Star Wars and long-lasting franchises,
  • David’s Agents of Shield post that ran during the break in Agent Carter, and
  • the A to Z reveal. Nothing else generated more than 100 post views this quarter.

Sourcerer’s Top Referrers

  • Search Engines (3,200)
  • The WordPress reader (500)
  • Twitter (360)
  • Facebook (260)

No other single source generated 100 referrals.

Part Time Monster’s Top Posts

I’m not going to run them down, but PTM has 20 posts that generated more than 100 views for the quarter. These fall into several categories.

  • Old posts that generate consistent search traffic.
  • Weekend Coffee share posts (nearly all have generated more than 100 post views).
  • Event-oriented posts like the two Feminist Fridays, Diana’s #1000Speak post, and her A to Z Theme reveal.

Part Time Monster’s Top Referrers

  • Search engines (2500)
  • StumbleUpon (652, but this number looks low to me and the stumbled post was viewed more than 800 times)
  • WordPress Reader (560)
  • Twitter (500)
  • Facebook (250)
  • Email (175)

Interestingly, Part Time Monster received about 1000 more front page views than Sourcerer this quarter. I’m assuming a lot of these views are repeat visits from people checking the coffee share linkup periodically on the weekends. Just as a bonus, here’s the traffic spike from the StumbleUpon hit on March 12-14.

PTM_spike_2015_03_29Since this occurred Thursday-Saturday and coincided with the coffee share linkup, it got Part Time Monster our two best days ever for views.

Happy April! Best of luck with A to Z if you’re participating. If not, stop by for our A to Z posts. In general, our April posts will be our standard fare, only the posts will be shorter and we’ll have two posts on a few days of the week that we generally only have one.

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In which I give #WordPress advice

Since Sunday is my preferred day for blogwanking, I’ll just share this today. Let me add. We publish stuff here and use the stats to measure the effect. Then we figure out ways to give our readers more of what they like. Reducing my ability to measure the effect makes WordPress less valuable. I agree with Luther here.

Infinitefreetime.com

(Note: I typed this in the old editor, too.)

Dear WordPress:

Let’s talk about your new stats screen for a bit.  I put up a one-sentence post a few hours ago to confirm that other people feel the same way I do, and it’s amassed eighteen comments and twenty likes in that time, so I’m pretty sure I’m not on my own here.  I’ve been actively blogging on your site for about a year and a half, although I’ve had the account for several years longer than that, and I spend a lot of time obsessing about my stats.  An unhealthy amount of time, in fact.

You recently changed your stats page, and by a number of indications you seem to be interested in user feedback on it.  However, using your feedback form really didn’t give me a chance to explain what I actually dislike about it.  It could be…

View original post 634 more words

Thanks, Bloggers, for all that #SundayBlogShare Love

When Suzie81 asked me to host this week’s #SundayBlogShare, I was torn. On the one hand, I was honored and wanted to jump at the chance. It’s an activity I enjoy. I love that I’ve watched it grow from nothing and have had a small part in building it.

SBS

On the other hand, I thought it might be a ton of work and that I would screw something up. I eventually decided to do it, and I am very glad I did. It did turn out to be a bit of work, but it was totally worth it. It got me a couple of good days on the blogs, I met some nice folks, and it put @Sourcererblog’s Twitter following above 5K for the first time. Needless to say, I am pleased.

Last week, I put out the word to my friends that I was hosting and invited them to join in. I also shared #SundayBlogShare with a couple of groups I am a part of on Facebook. Here’s an excerpt from one of the status updates I posted to those groups.

So, you might be interested to know that I am hosting #SundayBlogShare on Twitter right now. What being the host means, basically, is:

1. I retweet everything that is a legitimate blog post and doesn’t contain hate speech with my @sourcererblog account.
2. I look at most of the links. I comment on the ones that grab me, either on Twitter or on the blog itself.
3. I follow almost everyone who shares a link to that hashtag and they get a solid month to decide whether to follow me back.

Silly me.

Retweeting everything from that hashtag and following even three quarters of the bloggers who use it on Sundays is officially impossible, at least for an amateur like me. That’s how big it has gotten, and I had no idea. I promoted #SundayBlogShare hard the first week we did it and I join in when I can, but I wasn’t able to really pay attention for most of November. I keep up with Suzie, so I knew it was growing. I just didn’t realize how quickly it was growing.

I started monitoring the hashtag around 2 a.m. London time and just watched it. I retweeted the first few links and warned the first few people who weren’t sharing blog posts off. I typically don’t do that, and in general it’s not worth the time, but I didn’t want  to get overrun by non-blog related stuff before the bloggers started showing up. I did retweets and follows for awhile and had no problem keeping up during the early hours. At some point, I went to sleep thinking things were going fine, but it really wasn’t that busy.

When I woke up a few hours later, I jumped on my phone to see how things were looking. At that point, the hashtag was so busy it took me more than an hour just to get caught up with the retweets, and I had to give up on the following just to stay ahead. From that point, I just rolled for the next several hours, scanning blogs and retweeting links with my two Twitter accounts, and chattering as I was able. It was a lot of fun.

Sourcerer had a good day yesterday, but my personal blog, Just Gene’O picked up almost 40 referrals from Twitter, which is unheard of for me, and had its best day in a couple of months. As I was writing this, @Sourcererblog was up by a ton of followers from Sunday alone, and most of them are bloggers. I don’t manage my @JustGene’O account very closely for followers. It’s mostly there to establish that there’s a real person behind Sourcerer and to retweet my friends, but I am assuming it’s up as well and I’ll give a big bunch of followbacks with that account later this week.

Thanks to everyone who joined in with #SundayBlogShare this weekend, and thanks especially to those of you who showed up as a favor to me. I truly appreciate it. The early links and the late links that you guys shared were especially helpful, because the early ones kept the hashtag from being overwhelmed by non-blog content during the first few hours, and the late ones allowed me to extend the day.

The hosting was pretty hectic and it didn’t leave me much time to blog on Sunday. But it was an overwhelmingly positive experience, and I’d do it again. Now that I’ve watched #SundayBlogShare closely for an entire day, I have a much better feel for the rhythm of it. I’m an even bigger fan of it now than I was before I hosted, and I hope to see all you friendly bloggers for it again next week.

You Still Have Tons of Time to Get in on #SundayBlogShare

I intended to have a social media post today. I’ve got a thing or two to say about what I have been doing on Facebook lately, because I think I’m on my way to making my account over there useful for supporting the blogs. That will have to wait, though, because I’m hosting #SundayBlogShare today. It’s going great, but my @sourcererblog account is so busy it’s taking most of my attention at the moment, and I am also doing retweets from my personal account.

If you’ve followed either of my Twitter accounts today, I’ll get around to following you back once the link-sharing madness is over. And speaking of that, you still have plenty of time to share links on the #SundayBlogShare hashtag and have a good chance of them being retweeted by me and possibly a few other bloggers. You can find the rules for the hashtag, along with some other Twitter activities for bloggers you might want to know about, here.

Thanks to Suzie81 for asking me to host. I’m having a blast, and the day isn’t over yet 🙂