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

Posted on December 2, 2009


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.

Posted in: social media