Aug 21

In Review: A Second Year Report

 

TalesOfAGM Dice Sq SmEarlier this month, Tales of a GM celebrated its second birthday.

 

My first ever post was Prep in Progress: Chapter 33, uploaded 9th August, 2013.

 

As I move into my third year of blogging, I want to take this opportunity to review my second year as a blogger. I continue to enjoy the experience and believe I am coping better with the additional workload. My writing is gradually improving and my productivity is likewise growing.

 

But how has the website performed?

 

A Year in Figures

This article will follow the same format as the review of my first year.

 

Once again, raw data is not the only way to assess the impact of a website. I still spend too much time looking at the traffic figures, or worrying about the shape of the graphs. Yet, this is a measurable quantity and offers some feedback about my performance as a blogger.

 

The figures for the blog can be broken down into three categories:

  • Posts
  • Page Views
  • Comments

 

Posts

First we have the Posts, the number of articles uploaded to the blog. At the end of the first year, this total stood at 258. As of 8th August this year, the grand total was 612, which means 354 posts in the second year. This is a big improvement on last year, and works out at 6.81 per week. I am close to posting every day.

 

This is an excellent work rate, and will not increase by as much in my third year of blogging. As I have more time in my schedule for writing, with both boys at school, the website is also seeing the benefits.

 

Page Views

The next parameter is the number of page views over the year. This raw data is not the best metric to be using, but it is a fair representation and the numbers are easily accessible. I tried using Google Analytics, but the additional data was not helping me. I probably waste enough time looking at one set of figures, without the need for yet more data to process.

 

So the total page views were 19,894. Subtracting the first year’s total of 6,555, this gives me 13,339. The monthly average through the second year was 1,111, a respectable jump up from the 546 of my first year.

 

Once again, I have a steady growth, although individual months can still fluctuate wildly. In the bigger picture of internet traffic numbers, this is not a huge amount of traffic, but the trend is upwards and I am encouraged by my progress.

 

 

Comments

My second year blogging took the comments total up to 254. Last year had 125 comments, meaning 129 were added this year. This is essentially the same as my first year, and represents a drop in the commenting rate when the increase in page views is considered.

 

Of the three metrics, the Comments were the most disappointing last year. The spamming has disappeared now, which is one consolation. I shall continue to encourage comments on the blog, but it is clear that I have a very long way to go in this area.

 

Blog Highlights

Beyond the raw numbers, this review also explores the experience of blogging as a whole. How has the experience been in my second year?

 

Best articles

A review like this is another chance to look back at my previous posts, and pick out some highlights.

 

I posted a review of my 2013 posts here.

 

The 2014 review can be found here.

 

I did not compile this article on the exact anniversary, so the following figures are a little skewed. However, a few extra days should not have too much of an impact over a whole year.

 

The most popular page once more was the Home Page, at 3,189 views, up from 1,729 last year.

 

HeroQuest 2The first single article page is Why I Love HeroQuest 2.

 

This review of my beloved HeroQuest 2 saw 480 views. The score is below last year’s highlight, which was Interludes, at 525 views. This is not surprising, as the HeroQuest article has a much narrower focus. However, it was only published 1st July, meaning it has received a lot of attention in less than two months.

 

While the HeroQuest article is not my most groundbreaking article, it is the one closest to my heart. I know of at least one GM who has been inspired to give HeroQuest a try, which is a very satisfying feeling.

 

Next on the popularity list is the About a GM page.

 

Having my biography page appear so high on the list is a surprise. Hopefully, it reflects a growing online presence. Indeed, it is the permanent pages which occupy the next few slots on the list. My blog, and the associated archives, expanded this year. It is encouraging to see these staple pages of the blog being regularly used.

 

Lowlights

Last year I declared the biggest downside of the blog was the relentlessness of it. I have not felt that so much this year. I think my schedule has accommodated the endless demand for new content.

 

Likewise, I am more prepared to accept the ebb and flow of the traffic figures. Even after two years, I know a bad week does not mean the end of the blog. Numbers fluctuate, and a bad month will probably be followed by a good one.

 

Blogging remains hard work, but this year it seemed one part of my overall writing schedule. Yes, I would like to be doing better, but the trend is upwards. I think the biggest disappointment has to be the lack of published pdfs. My writing has diversified into freelance and fiction, and the pdfs have fallen short of my intentions.

 

Looking to the Future

So where now for Tales of a GM?

 

Once again, more of the same. Only with more pdfs, if I can. The list of ideas for the longer posts remains healthy. I will continue posting about the Tales of the Hero Wars campaign, which is such a great source of shorter articles through the week. The Tales of the Dice comic has proved more popular, and more fun to create, than the simpler Geek Wisdom photos.

 

Another target for my third year of blogging is to increase the membership of Whispers of a GM, my weekly newsletter. I should have launched it much sooner, but there are so many demands on my time. As with so much of the blog, it is seeing steady growth.

 

Read more about the newsletter here.

 

Conclusion

Overall, the second year of Tales of a GM has seen more gradual progress. My writing schedule has opened up and my productivity is much better. Some days I struggle with focus, but overall I am building my writing experience. I hope you will share the journey with me.

 

What has been your highlight of the second year of the blog? Is there anything you think I could do better? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Do you need more Tales of a GM?

 

To receive notification of my next long essay, please sign up to Whispers of a GM, my weekly-ish newsletter.

 

Happy Gaming

Phil

 

Something for the Weekend last week: the Divine Trickster, Generating Chaos.

 

Something for the Weekend next week: Body Spark, body language in RPGs.

 

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