As I enter my fourth year of blogging, I want to take this opportunity to review my third year as a blogger. This remains an enjoyable experience. I have a good schedule which copes with the workload. Every year, my writing improves and my productivity expands.
A Year in Figures
Raw data is not a perfect way to assess the impact of a website. Even after three years, I worry too much about the shape of the various graphs. Yet, this remains the most consistent set of data about my performance as a blogger.
The figures for the blog break down into three categories:
- Page Views
First we have the Posts, the number of articles uploaded to the blog. At the end of the first year, this total stood at 612. As of 8th August this year, the grand total had reached four figures with 1028, which means 416 posts in the third year. This is a small improvement on last year’s 354 posts. Notably, the average is now 8 per week. I averaged more than one post every day for a whole year, which feels special.
This work rate is about my limit. August is a special case with the RPG-a-Day program, but otherwise I lack the content to consistently post more than once every day. It is always great to see progress with the blog, but I think I have reached my limits in this category.
This raw data is not the best metric to be using, but it is a fair representation and the numbers are easily accessible. The total page views were 34,714. Subtracting last year’s total of 19,894 gives me 14,820. The weekly average through the third year was 285, a modest gain from the 256 of my second year.
The rate of growth has tailed off, but the trend remains upwards. This is a little disappointing. I posted 17% more articles for only an 11% up-tick in traffic. I feel my social media efforts have more reach, but the return for my efforts is declining. I know I could do more promoting the site, and perhaps this is the lesson. I am still moving forward with the blog, but more effort is required to keep growing. Nor have I made that big breakthrough with the blog, to reach a wide audience.
This last metric is always the hardest one for me. This area is made more complex, as the way WordPress logs comments has changed. My figures are distorted by counting pingbacks as comments. Counting through the comments page, I received only 102 comments in year three, barely two a week. This count includes my replies, so only one visitor per week left a comment. The blog has fallen back from last year.
The spamming is no longer a problem, but very few visitors feel the need to comment. My current tactics are not working, so I need a new approach to this area of blogging.
A review like this is another chance to look back at my previous posts, and pick out some highlights. The most popular page once more was the Home Page, at 2,594 views, down from 3,189 last year. I changed the layout of the Home Page last year, so it no longer prints the entirety of each article. This seems to have worked for me, as the views have declined while overall traffic has increased.
This overview of useful websites gained 478 views, beating the best of year two which was Why I Love HeroQuest 2, at 480. The Top Sites article had a broad appeal, and drew a lot of interest on social media.
I am so pleased the review of my beloved HeroQuest 2 is still performing well. The next three slots are also taken with broad-interest articles published this year. These results encourage me to keep writing articles with a wide appeal.
Blogging continues to take a lot of time. However, it is good for my writing and self-discipline. I feel the time pressure strongly, so sometimes I resent the time required for writing and promoting the blog. I really do have so much I want to do that it is tricky to squeeze everything in.
As the years pass, I am more used to dealing with the traffic fluctuations. I am disappointed not to have created a Tales of a GM community on the comments sections, but perhaps these communities are found on Twitter or G+. The blog has helped launch a couple of pdfs this year, but there is always more work to do.
Looking to the Future
The plan for Tales of a GM is still more of the same. 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. This year I have used the blog for the 2016 Reading Challenge and RPG-a-Day. I hope to continue with a broad range of topics through my fourth year as a blogger.
Overall, the third year of Tales of a GM was another year of gradual progress. There is more work to be done, especially with the social media and community-building. My productivity is good, and the pdf books are flowing better. I hope you will continue to share the journey with me.
What has been your highlight of the third year of the blog? Is there anything you think I could do better? How can I encourage comments better? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
- Do you need more Tales of a GM?
- Something for the Weekend last week: Improv Gaming, Part 6: Reference Sheets
- Something for the Weekend next week: August Blog Carnival: Serpentfall in HeroQuest