It has been a tradition on the blog to review the previous year in January and I would hate to mess with such a wonderful tradition. I doubt that any of you care as much about the numbers as I do but the things that I have learned over the past few years of blogging and doing the whole social media thing online has turned my college days of marketing classes on their head.
That may be a combination of the facts that the world has changed so much in the past 30 years and that business teachers mostly know less about real business and marketing (though I have seen some amazing schools bring in some wonderful guest speakers) than they profess to teach.. and it may be in larger part due to me not being a very good student 30 years ago. Your call I guess.
I also like to spend January cleaning out drafts that I started last year… the stories either no longer hold passion for me, or I don’t even recall what I wanted to write about them when I started. On a bright note though, this is the first January with less drafts than actual posts, even though I have 136 drafts to sift through. If I don’t start following through or deleting posts as I go this might move from a January task each year to a Q1 thing.
I also started a huge revamp of the entire site and will continue this in 2018 until my categories and format are much cleaner.
For the second year in a row, my post numbers have dropped but much more significantly due to many personal changes including adding to my volunteering roles with Scouts Canada.
2015 – 79 posts
2016 – 51 posts
2017 – 16 posts
Even with a 70% drop in posts, the views of the blog only dropped by 50%.
Only 6 posts passed 500 new views in 2017 (only 5 in 2015 from 13 in 2016) and only two of those were posts from 2017 (although the #5 post of the year was published on December 21 of 2016 so it almost counts). The fact remains that two f my top 5 viewed posts were published in 2015:
McDonald’s blows it big time!
Views: 13,070 (25,327 total)
Views: 1276 (4668 total)
Scouters Can Be Stupid Too
Scout Uniforms for Halloween Costumes?
Views: 873 (3788 total)
Journalistic Integrity. Are you crying or laughing at that?
Views: 765 (837 total)
NDP Graduate from Bullies to Witch-Hunters
What did I learn from 2017?
Both the two previous years have given me perplexing problems to solve with the views of both the McDonald’s cinnamon melt post and the Scout Halloween costume post. This year I had no such overshadowing problem that wrought sleepless nights to me… I just kinda let the blog run its course. I was fascinated to see that people still came to the blog site, but most came just for those two old posts as well.
I shutter to think of what my views would have been without them, and that is the idea of the blog, that people will eventually keep it so busy looking at old posts that new posts won’t affect the numbers all that much. Or so the theory goes.
I did learn a few things through this slower year, and primarily, without those two old posts, I would not have kept many readers at all. For those who are reading my posts, kudos to you and thanks for sticking around through the creative drought. It wasn’t actually a creativity problem but a time problem. That fact can clearly be seen through the dozens upon dozens of drafts I started and never had time to complete.
Lesson 1 – Where readers live has crossed the line
That line being the 49th parallel of course.
2016 saw Canadian reader share drop from 86% to 57% and 2017 saw this drop farther to 31%. My American readers have jumped from 9% (2015) to 34% (2016) to 62% in 2017. That is almost a 100% increase in American viewers and while less than the 500% increase last year, it represents the first year that more US residents read my blog than everyone else in the world combined.
Once again I have to give a lot of credit for this to McDonald’s and their customer’s love of cinnamon melts.
Lesson 2 – Where readers are coming from changed dramatically
Taking time out to volunteer and run for political office will deter growth but not kill the site (yet). I don’t think I have hit a critical mass where traffic will continue indefinitely no matter what I post, or whether I post at all. I do know that I have come a long way though because of how my readers are finding me.
Search engines surpassed my friends for the first time in 2017. What I mean by that is that most of my readers have come from Facebook because that is where I have shared my posts and then my friends there shared them further. Readers coming from Facebook have dropped from 83% (2015) to 45% (2016) to 13% in 2017 while search engine traffic has gone from only 5% (2015) to 37% (2016) to 67% in 2017.
With 2/3 of my readers coming from search engines (once again mostly due to McDonald’s killing cinnamon melts), my impact of sharing posts on social media platforms has diminished drastically. This is one of the most exciting things I have discovered this year.
Lesson 3 – Local voters are very interested in my views
In 2017 I ran for a seat on our small city council. I only did 2-3 weeks of campaigning while others were in the game for months. I spent less than $2000 even though I was told that I likely could not win without $6000 minimum. I distributed about 2000 flyers while others sent out over 20,000. I decided to enter the race only 10 hours before the deadline.
These factors contributed to my coming in dead last. Despite this poor showing, I enjoyed the experience more than anything else in 2017 and decided before the election that I was going to run again in 2021. The fact that our city council still seems to be lacking common sense in so many of its decisions just makes this more prevalent.
The thing that I really learned after the election is that local voters really liked what I had to say. I have had many comments about my position that lead me to believe that I could have actually won this election. The problem here is that I didn’t really want to win. I have much more fun making fun of politicians than I think I could ever have being one.
But the www.VoteShayne.com website speaks for itself. While it was set up as a temporary website and hit 1000 views the day before the October election, it is still getting 150 views a week somehow. I have to move the site to a different host or start paying for plans to see more analytics but suffice to say the readers of that site are blowing my mind.
As an aside, if you are interested in the numbers and figuring out why and how to make your social media more noticeable, find people online willing to share their knowledge. I can’t help you become a millionaire online and I can’t show you exactly how to get a million views. I can help you setup a blog and hit a few thousand views a month. Top move forward, and learn the skills to get their and beyond takes people like Marley Baird. Follow her or find someone who you like that teaches the same things online.
Loyal Readers Abound!
Once again, the blog site maintained a great reader base despite my lackluster posting schedule but the focus that everyone still insists that I need to succeed, simply isn’t there, or is it?
Here is a list of the top 6 posts and what they focus on, see if you can see a theme…
- Food (stupid people deciding to discontinue cinnamon melts)
- Scouts Canada (and stupid people)
- Scout Uniforms (and more stupid people)
- Media Bias (stupid people reporting about home schooling)
- Government (home schooling being attacked by more stupid people)
So maybe my blog may have a focus after all. Which leaves me two questions:
- if my blog is actually focused on “stupid people”, does A2ZwithADHD work anymore?
- if “stupid people” fits behind 5 of the 6 posts, what about #2? Makes me wonder…