A Year’s Worth of Blog Data In Review: When People Like Your Words, They Want To Know About You

I’m sharing my traffic numbers for the past year because it could be useful to my fellow bloggers. It will provide a benchmark with which you can compare your own traffic. There is also, at least, one important insight I draw from my numbers which should be useful to you. Read on!

Here is as much information as I can muster from the three free services I use: WordPress, Stat Counter, and Shiny Stat.Β It isn’t terribly comprehensive but it provides a snapshot of what happens around here.

According to WordPress, since the creation of my account on 26/11/2008, my site has had 17,618 total views. On my busiest day, 11/26/2009, I had 261 views. Before this post, I had 191 posts and 1,400 comments. Of course, because I reply to every comment, that figure really is only 700. The other 700 are all me.

According to Shiny Stat, which I only started using in February 2009, I have had 17,811 page views and 12,540 total visits. Overall, it indicates in the last 31 days, Monday to Friday, I averaged 50 daily visits and 71 daily page views. On the weekend, it falls to 33 and 45 — which is actually pretty good because I now rarely publish anything new on weekends.Β Clearly, I am a work-day diversion.

According to Statscounter, which I started using March 25th 2009, I have had 17,140 page views and 12,396 unique visits. Of the last 500 visitors, 47% stayed for less than 5 seconds, 18% stayed for longer than an hour, and 20% stayed for 5 – 20 minutes. Not bad!

I suspect, based on these numbers and my day to day eye-balling of the stats, I’ve got about 35 regular readers and the rest of the page views are generated by fly-by readers. That, for me, is a pretty satisfying number, especially because I’m not a terribly focussed blogger, can sometimes run up the word count a little too high, and I get a wee highfalutin at times.

So, once again, to all my regular readers: thanks for reading, your support, and (sometimes) your patience!

I promised — what I take to be — an important insight. It comes from the numbers associated with my most popular posts.

According to WordPress, they are

The Ottawa Theatre Network: 548

About Sterling Lynch: 533

How To Use Twitter: A Primer For New Users: 369

Brazil Nuts and the Sexual Politics of Hair: 356

About Movement: 265

The Ottawa Theatre Network post was the end-point of a focussed publicity campaign here in Ottawa. Theatre-folk who only now learn about the Network still often end up on that page but that’s changing because the OTN now has its own blog and it’s moving up the search engine results for “Ottawa Theatre Network”. My impression is that most people who arrive because of this post don’t stick around to read anything else on the site.

The Twitter post got some great RT love but after an initial blast of interest, numbers dropped off quickly. Very few people who arrived because of this post read anything else on the site. I suspect a lot of people didn’t even stay around to read the post either. I myself will often click through an RT’s link and discover that the article doesn’t hold my interest for very long. Churn, baby, churn!

So, I consider the OTN and the Twitter post to be outliers and not really representative of my traffic. That leaves the three other posts as my most popular posts and the important lesson I draw comes from the fact that my most popular post is my “About Sterling Lynch” page.

Here’s the lesson: When people like a blog post, they often want to know more about the person writing the blog post.

And once I say it out loud, this makes total sense.

On the one hand, people want to know if a blogger has the credentials to be saying what she is saying. On the other hand, they want to know what the person is like — maybe even connect with her on some level. There are plenty of faceless and impersonal forms of communication out there. What makes a blog unique is that it is personal. People are much more likley to come back if they can get a sense of the person behind the words.

For personal blogs, this strikes me as a fairly strong argument against anonymity — unless your writing is very very personable and unquestionably embodies and reflects a specific community.

For organizations and companies, this also strikes me as a fairly strong argument against an impersonal social media presence. People use social media to connect to people. If the person or persons tasked with the job of communicating your organization’s messages via social media don’t have the skills or the authority to engage with your community in a very personal fashion, these tools are going to be far less effective.

To be honest, if you think about it, this should be true of all front line staff.

Any thoughts? They are always welcome!

P.s. It was the mighty Von who convinced me to put up my About pages. If you had asked me when I first started that my most popular post would be my short bio, I wouldn’t have believed you. Lesson learned and thanks Von!

For more social media related posts, click here.

22 thoughts on “A Year’s Worth of Blog Data In Review: When People Like Your Words, They Want To Know About You

  1. I know stuff, me. πŸ™‚

    One question: why aren’t you using Google Analytics? It certainly doesn’t hurt to have more than one tracker, of course, but I think GA is the strongest out there.

    More later.

    1. Good question. The short answer is I thought “webmaster tools” was the same thing as the “analytics.” Guess, I have another service to sign up for! πŸ™‚

    1. Heaps of stuff depending on the service. They would also do more for us, if WordPress.com supported Javascript.

      Here’s a list of stuff Statscounter does. I can’t get all of it because the HTML code can’t do as much.
      Popular Pages
      Entry Pages
      Exit Pages
      Came From
      Keyword Analysis
      Recent Keyword Activity
      Recent Came From
      Search Engine Wars
      Exit Links
      Exit Link Activity
      Download Activity
      Visitor Paths
      Visit Length
      Returning Visits
      Recent Pageload Activity
      Recent Visitor Activity
      Recent Visitor Map
      System Stats
      Lookup IP Address
      Download Logs

  2. I love knowing about the people’s whose blogs I follow! I also like it when people post pics of themselves – faces unblurred. I’m not sure why – it just helps me identify with them. I don’t do this on my own blog, and my profile is abysmally poor, because despite the whole having-a-personal-blog thing, I am a very private person. And really, aside from a bit of cat and fashion exhibitionism, and some good natured husband-mocking, my blog is anon and gives very little detail about my life.

    I’ve seen people do ‘ask me anything’ posts so their regulars can find out more about them, and I’m semi open to doing this. It seems kind of fun but then I start thinking, what if I’m straight-up hubris-ing and no wants to ask me anything? I don’t want to be that guy.

    Just as an aside, this is how I know that blogging is for me a very self-indulgent activity: I almost never look at my visitor stats. I haven’t in months. Then again, I do watch my followers. Obtaining new followers sends me into a glee spiral.

    1. I love the ‘ask me anything’ posts. If either of you ever chose to write one, rest assured you’ll have at least one reader plying you with questions. πŸ™‚

      1. Awww, thanks Nadine. Maybe I’ll just post a ‘Nadine Can Ask Me Anything’ post. Sterling, you should totally do one – you’ve got mad no-holds-barred honesty skillz.

        1. Technically, I have a standing offer to do requests. So far you are the only one to take advantage of it. I’m looking forward to my second annual Oscar fashion round up!

    2. For the record, I had you specifically in mind, when I added this caveat: “unless your writing is very very personable and unquestionably embodies and reflects a specific community.”

      Your writing style has a very clear and distinct personality. I think most of your readers feel like they know you because of it, even if the actual details are thin. Plus, your community is made up of a lot of women who also choose not to share their identity (probably for similar reasons). Anonymity, in your case, is much less of an obstacle because you write so well and it fits the needs of your community.

      “Followers” is a more embodied and personal version of “stats.” So it makes sense that it would be glee-worthy! πŸ™‚

      1. That’s nice of you to say about my writing style. Thanks!! My writing style is what you might call: 34-yr-old-woman-who-still-watches-tween-drama. Particularly Vampire Diaries. OMG. I love that show.

        1. The joie de vivre of a tween mixed with the experience of the early 30s; plus an ability to cover the rent. Sounds perfect!

  3. Oh, just as a side note – sometimes even though I want to, I try to avoid going to someone’s blog multiple times I day. I always want to visit multiple times if I am posting comments and trying to follow the other comments (I have an aversion to tracking them via email) but I’m always afraid the blogger is going to look at the stats and think they have a weirdo follower in the Prairies who checks in five times a day…

    Or would they think: Awww hellz yeah! I have a weirdo follower in the Prairies who checks in at least five times a day!!


    1. Anyone who watches the stats will be happy to know they have someone checking in regularly, I think. I know I do. πŸ™‚

      1. I concur. More hits a day the better! Comments are even better. I’m becoming less stats focused recently. I’m all about the comments these days. I haven’t checked Statcounter in months.

  4. Interesting observations, Sterling – thanks for writing about this stuff because as a newbie blogger I learn a lot from you. You’re also one of my most favourite work-day diversions πŸ˜‰
    Keep it up!

    1. Thanks, HM! I’m glad I’m useful. You are also an excellent writer. If you posted more frequently, you’d be on my blog roll too. Hint, hint, nudge, nudge. πŸ™‚

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