Blogwanking 2020

I’m not doing a saleswanking post this year– I had no new releases, and went to no cons, and didn’t really market my books at all or, really, do anything to make people remember I occasionally write fiction other than a handful of haiku and short stories on Patreon, so I’m not even looking up how many books I sold this year. I would be surprised if it ended up being more than a couple dozen.

But the blog?

You’re not going to see these words in this order very often, but: 2020 was a very good year, if only in this one minor respect. The blog, no doubt because everyone was home all the goddamned time, had the best year it’s had since the Great Virality of 2015-16. Check the stats:

68000 page views and 40K visitors are both up from last year, and in fact are both up from any year since 2016, which still benefited from the Syria post; it’s possible that without the big bump from that post this would have been the best year since 2014, which continues to make no mathematical sense. Comments are also up, although Likes are down a bit, which is frankly the least important to me of the various metrics I’m looking at.

Why? Well, to start, I wrote a lot:

Highest total posts since 2016, more than one a day, and there were only a handful of days this year where I didn’t post. More words than any year since 2015, and the second-highest words per post of all time. Ultimately the only gripe I can come up with looking at this is that I’d still like to see a lot more engagement and comments, but I keep hearing about how blogs are dead, so maybe that’s why I don’t get as many comments as I used to, and that 5.8 comments number in 2014 isn’t exactly a hotbed of competing opinions.

Total word count over seven and some change years: 1,181,069, not counting this post. That’s … a lot.

Let’s talk posts next. No secret, because this has been the case for years: a lot of site traffic is driven by my perennial posts, and none of the top 10 posts on the site were written this year. This is just an image, but here’s the overall top 10 posts and the number of hits they got:

None of this makes any sense to me, particularly the fact that the fucking Snowpiercer post is still my second-highest yearly views.

This year’s top 10 posts, in order from highest to lowest traffic, are:

Nothing completely inexplicable in there except maybe for that one Monthly Reads post; I’m not sure why that one post would have done so much better than all the rest of them, and the Christmas Abortion Story post was only written five days ago and is on the list already, which is either a sign that the top 10 posts of this year are really weak or that it’s maybe heading toward blowing up. We’ll see if it keeps showing up next week or not.

Geography? Let’s talk geography. This is this year:

And this is over the life of the blog:

And I gotta be honest, y’all: I look at that and I’m proud of it. My stupid little website isn’t making me any money and it isn’t making me famous, but people from damn near every country on Earth have visited it. I mean, what’s left? North Korea and Turkmenistan, both of which are dictatorships; Svalbard Island, where less than 3,000 people live, and several countries in Africa where I suspect reading Western blogs is not a high priority.

Basically, I feel like I have a chance to land a lucky hit from Svalbard at some point, and the rest of them are probably never happening.

I thought about finishing this post with some goals for next year, and … honestly, I’m dialing back on the entire concept of “goals” right now. My one social media goal is to have more followers on TikTok than on Twitter by the end of next year, and I bet that’ll be the case by the end of this school year. For the blog? I’m going to keep writing; this place has been part of my daily life for over seven years and that’s not changing any time soon. I’d like to see those higher numbers become a trend and not a blip, but I’m not going to break my neck over it.

Seriously, though, if one of you ends up heading to the far north or North Korea at some point, make sure to hit the blog up.

A brief bit of blogwankery

Sometime this weekend– possibly today, although it would require someone or a few someones to go a’wandering through the archives for a while, or looking at cosplay pictures— the site will surpass last year’s traffic. Which would be nice! That big spike in 2015 and a good chunk of 2016’s bar is all from a single post that went nuts, but in general I’ve considered 60K a nice round number to shoot for each year, and while I didn’t get there last year I should get a decent way past that this year unless the site collapses for some reason. I’m already up on visitors from last year, but I still need about 400 more hits to catch it in traffic, and there’s a bit of a way to go for Likes and Comments.

This site doesn’t make me any money, mind you, other than second-hand by occasionally driving readers to my books; I tried to go through WordPress’ monetization application and was denied because it turns out I say too many swears, and I’m not going to stop swearing for a few extra bucks a month. But it’s definitely nice to see traffic up. That’s probably an artifact of me posting more– last year was, uh, a bit of a bust in that regard, what with every aspect of my life imploding at once, and as of right now I haven’t missed a day since April 5th.

I was about to go into more metrics, but we’re close enough to the end of the year that I’ll put that off until my end-of-2020 blogwanking post. For now, I thought I’d acknowledge the milestone and leave it at that. Now go troll through my archives and get me over the hump today. 🙂

Blogwanking, 2019

The short version of this entire post: basically everything is down slightly from last year, but not shockingly so; I’m still getting far more eyeballs on this site than actually makes any sense to me at all, so I can’t really complain about it, because Jesus, people are actually paying attention to my nonsense?

Yeah, turns out they are.

Posting frequency was up from last year, which was up from the year before it, but engagement is continuing to drop. I’d like to find a way to drive more comments, definitely, and more likes would always be nice, but I’m not sure what the best way to do that is. I keep hearing that blogs are dead; needless to say, this one ain’t going anywhere; while I’d like to more engagement, I’m not gonna shut up or anything if my numbers keep falling.

Geography’s always fun. This is 2019 specifically:

And this is the entire life of the blog:

Basically at this point I only have a few types of countries left: totalitarian dictatorships (North Korea), a few tiny islands, and places where there is either very little infrastructure or very few people or both. I keep hoping to get a hit from Svalbard Island and so far it hasn’t happened yet. That little hole in Europe is still Kosovo; I refuse to believe I have never had traffic from Kosovo in six years and am blaming something wonky about the way WordPress handles geography.

The overall top 10 posts are the same ones they always are, basically; I’m at the point where my “back catalogue,” so to speak, is definitely driving most of the site’s traffic. This is an image, and isn’t clickable:

The Snowpiercer post just refuses to die, although it did have one (1) day this year where it got zero hits, which very well might be the first time that has ever happened. Supposedly the TV show is launching soon, so this will never, ever end. I feel bad about the weird popularity of that Tana French post, too; it’s literally the only thing she ever wrote that I didn’t like and I reviewed a bunch of her other books, so it sort of feels unfair to me. I love you, Tana! I swear!

Top 10 posts written in 2019, and these are clickable if you like:

Most of those make some sense, I suppose; the “dress for success” post is a bit inexplicable but the rest of them are either all hashtagged, of inherent interest to a substantial group of other people, promoted by outside sources (the two book reviews were both posts where publicists sent me the book) or, well, kind of important (the last post).

How did your blog do last year? (If you don’t have one, start, dammit!)

Damn

At 968,927 total words, I am closing in on a million words written on this site since it started in 2013:

There will probably be a real post later, assuming I shake off this ass-poor mood I’m in, but I just decided to check on my word count and felt like it ought to be noted.

2018 blogwanking

Ah, screw it, we’ll do it today. Christmas also falls under the “nobody’s paying attention” rule, right? 🙂 You ought to be able to click on any of these for a larger view, if you’re inclined to do that.

Overall traffic: basically right around the same amount as last year for pageviews, slightly down in everything else. That huge blip in 2015 is from the Syria post, which got over 100,000 pageviews and hugely inflated absolutely everything, and I was also posting twice a day or more most days back then. I haven’t been able to keep that pace up. Hopefully next year we’ll have a visible upward trend.

Writing stats:

I wrote more here than last year, but still not close to the pace I was setting in the early years– which, let’s be fair, was insane. Still, over 100K words isn’t nothing even if it is technically my second least-productive year.

Geography. This is this year:

And this, slightly more filled-in, is all-time:

I still prefer the way they used to do things, where that heatmap was a lot more useful, but basically I’m still looking at traffic from all over the world except for kleptocracies, hardcore Communist countries, bits of Africa, and Svalbard island. Top 10 countries for 2018 are the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, India, Germany, Brazil, Malaysia, Norway and Indonesia. All-time is a little different: the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, India, Germany, Brazil, New Zealand, France and Norway. I’d love to know what caused me to get more popular in Malaysia, which has had 40% of its all-time traffic just in 2018. And this little bit of weirdness still persists:

I have still never gotten a single hit from Kosovo. There has GOT to be something going on with the way WordPress calculates traffic that makes it impossible. I just don’t know what. Have ANY of you ever gotten any traffic from there?

(I do have 28 hits from the “European Union,” which is kinda weird, and I wonder if those are the Kosovo ones and are just tabulated strangely. 28 would be roughly in line with the rest of the countries in the area.)

The top 10 individual posts for 2018 will not surprise anyone who has been around here for a while:

The popularity of the Creepy Children’s Programming Reviews series continues to inexplicably endure; the Mini Force post is the #1 Google result for “Mini Force review” and was, all by itself, responsible for nearly 20% of my site traffic. The Snowpiercer review had a single day this year where it didn’t get any traffic, which is the first time that has ever happened. And I have no idea what the deal is with the “bad student” post. None of these make any sense to me at all.

And, for the record, after the top 10 posts (I’m ignoring the home page,) six of the next seven top posts are also CCPR posts.

Top 10 individual posts actually written in 2018:

  1. Na na naaa na, na na naa na, hey hey hey
  2. In which @amazonhelp doesn’t help
  3. KOKOMO-CON 2018: The Cosplay
  4. Snarf, 2004-2018
  5. Creepy Children’s Programming Reviews: THE AMAZING WORLD OF GUMBALL
  6. Creepy Children’s Programming Reviews: #SHERA AND THE PRINCESSES OF POWER
  7. Well that escalated quickly
  8. AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, the spoiler #review
  9. Fuck Mel Hall, part 3 of an endless series
  10. VENTING: In which I’m going to vote for assholes

Nothing I wrote this year really blew up; the difference between #1 and #10 up there is only about 40 pageviews, which isn’t much, and there’s still two CCPR posts up there. I wrote three of them this year; the post for THE DAY MY BUTT WENT PSYCHO doesn’t appear to have benefited from whatever dark sorcery is driving traffic to the rest of them for some reason and is right in the middle, traffic-wise, of posts written this year.

Finally, just for the hell of it, referrers:

All of those Fark referrals are to the Snowpiercer post. I assume the lion’s share of the search engine posts go to the top 10 one way or another, and then there’s the 3000 referrals from Facebook that are keeping me from shutting my Facebook page down for good. Nothing too surprising here, one way or another.

How did you do this year?