State of the Blog: Analysis of Traffic, Most Popular Posts, and Updates

This week, this blog will be about 8 months old.  I’m surprised that I’ve managed to keep up a steady pace for that period.  I have not yet really sat down and taken a look at what has clicked, or what goals I could set for the future.

First, my traffic has steadily increased each month.  Of course, this has been highly encouraging as more and more people come to take a look, and people get involved in the community.  Getting high traffic has never been a end goal of this blog, but it it exciting to see the increased traffic.

Month to Month Growth

When I first started, I was intrigued by GamesThatIPlay’s “WordPress is its own game” series of posts.  I found it really interesting to see the analysis on where the traffic was coming from, and what people tended to gravitate toward.  Human behavior is always an interesting topic.  Let’s take a look at some categories of stats from my last 7 months as a new blogger and see what it tells us:

Most Popular Posts Stats

To begin, we have the most popular posts of all time for the blog:

Top Posts So Far

This list omits a handful of articles, mostly made up of early posts when this blog was first launched.  The were not well-written, often did not have a topic people really cared about, and I did not have any community involvement.  The lowest blog post is currently “Top 5 Most Interesting Deck Building Tools From The Grand Tournament“.  Likewise, the “Retrospective: Grand Tournament Picks Review” also charted low. 

I thought that Hearthstone might not be a topic I could really get interest in, but posts about “Deck Tech: Zeus Shaman” and, more significantly, “5 Significant Losses To Hearthstone’s New Standard” have solid numbers.  It’s fun to talk about Hearthstone every once in awhile.

Top 5

Unsurprisingly, list-styled posts get the most traffic.  “Upcoming Theme Park Simulators To Watch For” is really a list of tycoon games just without the ubiquitous 5 in the title.  I guess people like the short posts with well recognized structure.  These posts typically get the most search engine love.  Normally, I’m drawn to these types of posts because it gives me a writing framework.  I often want to go longer on the lists, but 5 seems to be a good balance between length and having relevant content for the whole post.

While its not the top post, “5 of the Rarest and Most Expensive N64 Games” is really the superstar post.  I wrote it early, motivated by my own curiosity of what the most expensive games truly were.  It always gets a steady trickle of visitors each week.  Of course I followed it with a similar article “5 of the Rarest and Most Expensive Playstation One Games” which has also done well traffic-wise.  I just think they are fun posts to write.

Top Referrer Stats

My top referrers come down to a select few:

  1. Reddit
  2. Search Engines
  3. WordPress Reader
  4. Facebook/Twitter

Snoo Reddit

Reddit is far and away the top referrer.  Only a couple of my articles have made it onto to Reddit, but it drives a lot of traffic.  Search engine traffic was really weak when I first started, but after the start of the new year has really picked up.  Maybe Google was testing to see if I’d stick with the blog.

WordPress Reader traffic is pretty steady, especially now that there is a great group of community blogs that stop by each week.  These are my favorite visitors, as I really like discussing in the comments with others.  I have several followers that have double digit comments and I really appreciate the feedback.

Facebook and Twitter are highly inconsistent.  I have tried to be more active and engaging on Twitter recently, but I often forget to check it.  This blog’s Facebook page doesn’t have much to speak of.  I don’t use Facebook much personally, so its hard to have any presence there.

Search Term Stats

Since this is a free WordPress site, my search terms stats are not very robust.  These are some of the more fascinating stats, so I really wish I could get more detail.  Maybe I should upgrade (more on that later).

Anyway, my search terms that are recorded are generally all related to “rare n64 games” or “binding of isaac tips.”  I’m proud to say that “Binding of Isaac: Rebirth: 5 Tips to Improve and Initial Impressions” will show up on a first page of Google under some search terms.  I really enjoy Isaac and I’m glad that some tips have (hopefully) helped some people out.  I think that post had a good combo of the list effect plus I posted it when the game was just released.  Posting reviews of older titles doesn’t generate the same interest.

Where Visitors are Coming From

  1. United States
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Canada
  4. Austraila
  5. Germany

This list isn’t too surprising, given that I post in English and focus on Western games.  More surprising is that I have had visitors from over 90 different countries visit the blog.  That stat is probably my favorite, as its really interesting to think people from all over the globe have read my thoughts about “Everything You Need To Know About Upcoming VR Headsets“.

Analysis

Looking back at the stats, the best formula for a post seems to be:

  1. Current topic
  2. List style / Basic Structure
  3. Cool Pictures
  4. Curated

Creating lists of information that have not been previously collected, which involves a popular or current topic, typically generates the most traffic.  Of course, my blog was not created to generate a lot of traffic, and I only have a few months of stats, but those general rules will get you somewhere.

Going Forward

In the future, my main goal is to build the community.  Getting visitors to come back and discuss the post with others is the highest compliment you can get.  Normally I pick a topic I have been discussing with others and try to form some discussion topics throughout my post.  Expect more posts of this type in the future.

I want to incorporate more formal reviews on the site.  Every gaming site prides itself on its reviews, and so I want to get more on the blog.  My last two reviews have been learning experiences.  Coming up with a scoring system and putting thoughts to coherent sentences is tougher than it seems.

The big decision is whether to get my own domain and hosting.  I like the simplicity of having free WordPress, but having my own space is also enticing.  My site layout is not optimal-I’d really like to be able to increase the font size, change up the landing page, and other things.  Does anyone have any recommendations on how to possibly undertake this transition?

Updates

I’ve updated my About Me page, and will be adding a review scoring system page. I also messed around with the menu system to better organize my tags.  Now that I am starting to build a solid base of posts, I need to maintain organization.

 

That concludes my quick look at my blog’s stats.  Hopefully some of it was interesting, and perhaps some bloggers on the fence will take the dive.  It’s been a fun experience in building this little corner of the Internet.

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31 thoughts on “State of the Blog: Analysis of Traffic, Most Popular Posts, and Updates

  1. Pingback: State of the Blog: One Year Anniversary, Stats, Posts, and Updates | Particlebit

  2. Hey, Particlebit! It’s really cool to see such a widespread reaction to what is a very informative and helpful post for not only interpreting your own stats but aiding others to interpret theirs. May the hair on your toes never fall out (in other words, may your stats continue to climb and your community continue to grow)! I’ve been trying to sit down and interpret my own stats but sometimes they seem to fluctuate in the extreme. I’m assuming this is a symptom of an infant blog struggling to find its voice and position. Thanks for the insights!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s pretty ballsy (if I may so so) to put your own stats on blast like that. I think it’s helpful for everyone and super brave and open of you. Looks like you’ve got some great info to share! I appreciate seeing genuine bloggers on here.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Particlebit, as you are a reador of my blog I just wanted to drop a line here too. It’s nice to see you’re seeing an increase of readers. I’m experiencing the same and it’s nice people are interested in your articles. On my behalf I can say it’s giving me a good feeling to know it’s worth the time and effort.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And like I said, I don’t have a focus on bringing in larger numbers but it does give a feeling of accomplishment. Building up a community of commenters is what I shoot for, and I think in many ways is more difficult

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I was interested to read about the statistics for this blog. I was interested to read about the most expensive Nintendo 64 and PlayStation 1 games, it was interesting to see which games I remembered were now the most expensive. I also enjoyed the “Go Back and Play” posts, so I was surprised they ranked so low. The countries with the most visitors was interesting as most of them are Western countries which are mainly English-speaking. Good luck with the future and congratulations for the “Binding of Isaac” post for being prominent on Google.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It was cool to read your take on blogging here, I’ve not seen many others write openly about this sort of thing. Stats are always neat – I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that the gameified aspect of blogging appeals to gamers! It’s been two and a half years since I started blogging on WordPress and some time ago I gave up trying to predict what will be popular and what won’t, and just decided to try and write pieces that I would enjoy if they were by someone else. (In theory that should be the same as simply “stuff I want to write about”, but in practice they’re not similar at all as it turns out!)

    Thinking about stats, I’ve had some predictable results (post about racial politics in Ocarina of Time is one of my most popular posts, for example), but more often than not it’s very unpredictable. I pay a lot less attention to stats these days as a result, and like you said, am preferring to concentrate on regular readers. Spikes from sites like Reddit are cool but, unpredictability aside, with a few exceptions I’ve found the engagement from those sources tends to be pretty shallow.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I appreciate your insights. I think I typically choose posts along the lines of what you mentioned – something I’d enjoy if someone else did it. My post about VR in particular was really an excuse for me to finally figure out what everything was, how much, and what games they would have.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Some years ago, I was using WordPress as my personal blog, and it didn’t have all the features it has now. There is a bit of satisfaction in seeing numbers and the reach of your content worldwide.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. A scoring system page helps – especially if you have an unconventional one that actually uses all the numbers.

    Someone posted a link to my review of Far Cry 3 on Reddit, and it’s my most viewed article. Other than that, it seems like most people find my page through Google. Have you gotten anything wacky in the “Search Terms” box?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Most terms have been pretty normal (most are categorized as “unknown search terms”) but I got one that was “financials related to braid”. Probably disappointing for that person. Id say Google is my most consistent by far for day to day views. I don’t know much about SEO and that kind of stuff, but it’s interesting to think about.

      Liked by 2 people

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