Friday Write-Day: Numberbrag & Blogging is Weird


Numbers are cool. They can be enlightening or maddeningly erratic. Either way, I like to take some time every once in a while to review the stats for RSPC. Let’s jump in.

It’s the humble-number-brag!

[All numbers as of 9/14, and I promise there is something cool at the end.]

The Highlights

  • This is post #375 on Red Strings, and we’ve been going (mostly) consistently since May 2014. We should hit 500 in early 2017.
  • August brought us our 200th WordPress follower, for 212 total. I have no idea why people choose to follow us when they do, but it would be nice to see this increase more frequently.
  • A grand total 5,808 visitors with 9,323 views puts us within striking distance of the 6,000-10,000 Club. (Is that a club? Because I’m starting it if not.)
  • 2016 has surpassed or is on pace to surpass 2015 in every major category: 2,427 visitors, 3,402 views, 549 likes, and 48 comments. My only real goal for this year is to hit 3,000 visitors and 4,000 views.

So 2016 has been good to us in terms of overall traffic. We had some wild fluctuations, from April’s absurdly high 352 visitors to June’s doldrums of just 258. But all in all, we’ve kept a steady average of about 220 visitors per month for the last year.

Onto the posts!

The Heavy Hitters

Through 2015, my review of Hozier’s first album collected 958 total views. About 3/4 through 2016, it currently has 2,340 views. That post was published December 2014 — nearly two years ago! What the hell. Average views per day on that post have increased over that span to currently five in 2016.

The best explanation I have of this still-appreciating trend is that in 2016 alone, 53 people have searched some form of the 23 keywords related to Hozier in my stats page. The most common thread in these keyword searches is that people want to know the meaning of the song, “In the Woods”. Oh, people also think he’s an addict of some form, and apparently that leads them to my post. So that’s great. (Disclaimer: I do not think Hozier is an addict.)

My Halestorm post from May 2015 has also aged well, though not as drastically. After collecting 126 views through eight months in 2015, that post already has 324 total through 2016. So far, nine keyword searches this year have led users to that post, most of them having to do with Lzzy Hale, and at least one having to do with Lzzy Hale’s sexuality. So there’s also that.

The Endearing but Not as Impressive Trends

  • From those two posts (and the home page), there is a sharp drop-off to the next most-viewed posts/pages.
  • My weekly haiku have otherwise carried the day (Sunday, specifically) this year. Combining the views for each of my 35 haiku, we see 191 views for 2016, so those have obviously contributed a solid amount of consistent traffic.
  • Otherwise, the trends are difficult to see. Three of my “Creativity Sessions” posts have at least five views; two of those have 13 and 11, respectively. Four others have less than five on the year.
  • A full 13 of Jessie’s posts (mostly poems) have at least 10 views each for 2016.

Her post views tend to be spread more evenly, while mine are very top-heavy, due especially to the attention that posts “Hozier” and “Halestorm” get. Either I post too much, or people just aren’t as interested in what I’m writing.

And… Blogging is Weird

All of this is to say unequivocally that blogging is weird and I have yet to really understand the tides of users and visitors to RSPC. The Hozier post still carries our daily and weekly views and visitors, as well as organic searches. Halestorm adds its fair share, and then usually a weird combination of other posts I haven’t looked at/linked to in months.

Posts I anticipate to do fairly well (ahem, Meg Myers) fall flat, while posts that I assume will get lost in the WordPress Reader shuffle (like Strange Birds) do quite well. I honestly don’t know what it is, unless visitors are looking at the high word count of a post like Meg Myers and deciding not to bother. Well, I like writing long posts, damn it!

(By the way, if you’ve made it this far into a post about stats, I think I owe you a beer.)

So recently, I have been wondering. Can we improve the look of our site to make it more navigable? The answer is always YES, but I actually want to know what you, dear reader, actually think. So please take my poll! And if you have other suggestions for content, or layout, or how you hate when I get really long-winded like this, do tell in the comments.

Steve D

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