Numberbrag 2019! And 2020 Plans

2019 was a weird year. I helped raise an infant into a toddler. I lost my job, was unemployed for four months, and found a new job in a totally unexpected place. And, oh yeah, I transferred five years’ worth of website content to a new domain!

I legitimately forgot that we switched from Red String PaperCuts to Evening Satellite as our main site in 2019, until I read over my numberbrag post from this time last year.

In that post, I focused on the types of content featured most heavily on this site in 2018, and some loose ideas about where I thought we were going in 2019. I’ll do something similar for 2019 and 2020.

The Big Numbers

As usual, we’ll start from the top: the five stats WordPress highlights:

  • Views: 6,949
  • Visitors: 5,475
  • Likes: 1,364
  • Comments: 56
  • Posts: 211

First of all, I have no idea why WordPress insists on showing me ten years’ worth of stats when I’ve only been on WordPress for seven of them. Weird.

The big stats were down across the board compared to 2018, most glaringly in our Views and Visitors, but our Likes and Comments also suffered. I can surmise two reasons for these trends:

  1. One half of this website’s authors went M.I.A. in July. I promise Jessie is fine in real life, but she last posted July 29, and our daily visitors and views took a noticeable hit. The dip in Nov-Dec is not that concerning, because those months are always slower, but Aug-Oct are typically among our highest traffic months each year, so the slump hurt our totals. I somehow managed to maintain three posts per week as a single parent blogger, but the simple fact is: less content = less potential views.
  2. Secondly, I was not engaging with other blogs on WordPress through the summer and fall, so you folks probably saw less of me and therefore interacted with me less. Previous experience has shown me that commenting on and interacting a ton with other blogs encourages those people to come to my site, and I just haven’t done a lot of that in recent months. That’s totally on me. Part of my revised blogging plan for 2020 is intended to give me more time to actually read other blogs. So for any folks who have followed me in the last few months: prepare to see my Gravatar a lot more on your posts!

Interestingly, we had our highest-ever Words per Post in 2019 — 337 — which I think can be attributed to my greater focus on reviews and longer-form content, rather than weekly updates where I have little to say. Towards the end of the year, I was getting concerned that the higher word count per post was deterring readers, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Check it out:

In 2018 we had more posts, more total words, and higher views per post, but fewer words per post.

Our total words only decreased by 10.9% from 2018 to 2019, but our total posts decreased by 14.5%, which I believe led to a 12.6% decrease in views per post. The biggest drop-off in 2019 was actually in the number of posts, which indicates to me that the more times someone views a post on our site, the more likely they are to click to another post. With fewer total posts, readers have fewer chances to check out other content they might be interested in.

This is backed up by our total click count in 2019: 53 total clicks, down from 112 in 2018 — that’s a drop of more than half, which means people may have read our content, but they rarely clicked to another post after that.

I’m honestly not sure how my leaner posting schedule will impact these numbers in 2020, but my gut tells me stats will be down across the board. That means I’ll need to find new ways to engage with you people 😀

Top 10 Posts

Two posts published in 2019 made the top 10 for Views during the year:

And that’s actually not as bad as it sounds. The only years we’ve had more than 2 posts published that year crack the top 10 were 2014-15 — when the entire site was new — and 2018, when I was pushing PPC ads to my WoEM landing page.

What’s more telling here is that my review of “Black Crow, White Snow”, an Audible Original, earned 158 views! I listened to that story basically as soon as it was released and loved it so much that I churned out the review within the first week. We had about a dozen search engine hits from people searching for the book title alone, and who knows how many other randoms.

The lesson: read new books and post the reviews quickly.

I also love numbers five through seven: a review of a Meg Myers album that I think holds up really well; a reblog of one of my favorite podcaster’s take on why fantasy stories are important; and… a random post about why Fledermaus is my favorite German word? Love it.

Content Shmontent

So we already know there were 211 posts here in 2019 — but what did we actually talk about?

  1. Poetry – 95 posts! That’s not really surprising, since my weekly haiku always carry this category. Honestly, this should have an asterisk next to it because of that unfair advantage. I also — quite lazily — posted a number of haiku on non-Sundays, either because I was traveling or because I forgot to write a real post that week. You’re welcome!
  2. Fantasy – 33 posts. This is really just the parent category for my fantasy stories and related pages. Here’s the more granular breakdown:
    1. The Warden of Everfeld – 19 posts. I had said last year that there would be fewer of these posts, and there were. They mostly centered on my monthly writing updates and some world-building topics.
    2. The Grand Mythos of Úr’Dan – 14 posts. One for each chapter announcement, plus a couple extras.
  3. Thoughts – 31 posts. I’m on the fence about this one. I had a couple political-type posts before getting absolutely exhausted of the shit-storm that is the 2020 election cycle. I also leaned on my #AmConsuming posts a bit as a content filler. You might have noticed that I stopped doing those posts. My new job took me away from binge-watching anything, and without that constant stream of content hitting my eyeballs, that series felt hollow. I’ll probably dig a bit back into politics once the 2020 primary is a little less like American Idol and a little more like an actual election — if that ever happens.
  4. Reviews – 20 posts! Considering 18 of these were mine, I am immensely proud of this. Audible has been a game-changer for my reading list, and I’ve genuinely enjoyed writing so many reviews (and reading so many more books). I intend to keep up the pace this year, so be sure to follow me on GoodReads.
  5. Creativity Sessions – 16 posts. I’m glad to see I did more of these in 2019. I’ll probably aim for one per month now, which would still be a solid cadence.
  6. Marketing Your Novel – 16 posts. Mostly carried by a few Awesome Con-related posts and my new miniseries, Poorly Written Headlines. I’m actually quite pleased with where this category ended up, even if it was light on sales-y type stuff. I burned through my savings while looking for a new job, and therefore had zero marketing budget until basically last month, which I can’t really be mad about.

That’s a pretty nice spread. 2020 will certainly see all of those numbers drop, since I’m only doing two posts per week. So I think I’d like to focus on these topics:

  • Haiku – 50+ posts, since it’s weekly, and there may be the odd haiku when I’m traveling.
  • Fantasy – 16+, including my monthly Write Day series. I will hopefully have much to talk about in story land this year.
  • Reviews – 15+. Since I’m reading a lot of short stories through Audible, I may publish the odd review when I have it. At the very least, I can post a round-up of reviews from GoodReads.
  • Creativity Sessions – 12+, a monthly cadence, like I said earlier. I may even pick a specific week each month to post these.
  • Marketing Your Novel – 10+. I don’t know how much room I’ll have for my Poorly Written Headlines series with my leaner schedule, but hopefully I’ll be way more active on the marketing front this year.

Talk about Long-Form

Well, this post is nearing 1,400 words, so I’m going to cut myself off. That’s my loose blogging plan for this year, but I’m sure things will change.

Kudos to you if you made it to this point.

Steve D

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