Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Your Accessibility Conscience

What Do I Do When My Blog Flips Me the Bird?

Filed under: Blogging — by Glenda at 11:59 pm on Saturday, August 28, 2010

Religiously every Saturday (unless I’m out of town or have a more pressing obligation), I record my blog stats – a combination of stats from SiteMeter, Technorati, Alexa, Google Analytics, Post Rank and Aweber. I probably don’t then analyze them like I could, but I find recording them in Excel and comparing them to previous week’s unexplainably comforting.

Imagine my surprise today when they flipped me the bird!

A bar graph showing seven months of consistent blog traffic with spike in the middle month

What? After all of the love, time and effort I give you, you have the audacity to flip me the bird? What gives? What are you actually telling me?

I did some digging because, as a curious blogger always on the look out for good post ideas, that’s what’s I do, constantly. I found:

  • In February I published 11 posts
  • March: 9 posts
  • April: 8 posts
  • May: 5 posts
  • June: 5posts
  • July: 6 posts
  • August: 6 posts (so far)

Except for February and March, the time of the Olympics and the Paralympics when I allowed myself time to play and to blog about it, my monthly post numbers have been fairly consistent. Low, but consistent, hence I passed the first rule of blogging.

Looking deeper, the traffic spike in May was due to my post The iPad as an Affordable Communicator: Initial Review, which was written from the heart and was timely as May was when the iPad was released in other countries. To date, that post has resulted in 159 tweets, 11 trackbacks, and 32 comments – my most popular post ever! And, that bodes well for another project I have in the works.

However, unfortunately, that dramatic traffic spike did not have any long term benefits; at least, not yet. The number of email subscribers did not increase. The post didn’t even include an Amazon link for those moved to purchase an iPad in the moment – something for which I’ve kicked myself.

After May’s spike, the traffic dropped down to exactly it was pre-iPad post. Granted, some of that drop is likely due to readers out enjoying summer. Why read blogs when its gorgeous outside!

Digging even deeper, I revisited my goal to comment on 10 blogs per week and realized I failed terribly with 41 comments in that same 7-month period.

Yes, I have been crazily busy, I’ve been out of town twice, and other such reasons/excuses. But most every other blogger has a similar story. If I want more traffic, more comments, more of an engaged blog community, then I need to visit more blogs, contribute more comments and be more engaged in the blogosphere. That’s good blogging karma. Simply retweeting a link isn’t enough of a contribution, in my opinion.

(Why I would want more traffic, an engaged community is a good question and perhaps the topic of another post.)

Last night on Twitter, I discovered the free iPad app Flipboad – “a personalized, social magazine”. I’m curious to check out this, to see if it’ll be easier for getting all of the links and blogs, which I’d like to read, in one place. Then, commenting and contributing might become easier.

A fictional bar graph with two spikes resembling the 'Rock on' hand signHopefully, then, my blog will tell me, You rock!

What is your blog telling you?

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14 Comments »

Comment by Almudena

August 29, 2010 @ 6:29 am

Hi from Chile!
I just want to tell you, don’t be worried! :)
Many people (as myself) has never commented (I can read english, but writting is not one of my strengths) but we read you using some feed reader, such as google reader, and your stats are not showing you those readers.
So, all is ok! :)
You are not having less readers, but more readers using rss feed thing.
I love your blog! I have learn some important things here.

Comment by MissDazey

August 29, 2010 @ 6:45 am

How does your newsletter play into your stats?

This was interesting to me because I could understand it. Too many of these type articles are written for fellow geeks and not we average readers. Thanks!

Comment by Barbara

August 29, 2010 @ 5:57 pm

I have to say my interpretation of my stats is a ‘mixed bag’ and I do not do the extensive analysis you do. I can get a graphic like yours directly from TypePad – do so daily. I will have to be handheld through understanding google analytics and frankly I am not motivated to do that right now. On a broader scale, my hits steadily increase if I post daily/5x/week.

What the commenters say is as or more meaningful than how many there are.

Comment by Barbara

August 29, 2010 @ 5:59 pm

PS I really like your blog, tweets, and I hope to get to meet you at SXSW next spring!

Comment by Glenda

August 29, 2010 @ 6:14 pm

Hi Almudena and welcome!

I’m glad to hear you find my blog useful – that’s definitely more rewarding than any stats! Thank you.

And, yes, you are so correct. The stats do not measure the number of people who read blogs elsewhere, like in feed readers, via email and such. These stats give only part of the picture.

Almudena, please feel welcome to leave comments any time. Your written English is fine. Thanks again for reading from afar.

Comment by Glenda

August 29, 2010 @ 9:40 pm

Miss Dazey, great question!

I tried an experiment with my last Thumb-sized News Bytes. I also sent it out to an old email list that I started while I was writing m autobiography and I’d send out monthly updates. I haven’t emailed that list for a few years – yes, I know, me bad! – but I was curious to see what the response would be.

Interestingly, the newsletter went out to twice as many people, yet the number of opens didn’t increase proportionately but the number of clicks doubled. Go figure! I’m not sure what that indicates – if anything.

Comment by Glenda

August 29, 2010 @ 9:53 pm

Barbara, I don’t get Google Analytics either. I still prefer Sitemeter. Unlike GA, Sitemeter is real time and its possible to check direct links. When I notice a bit of traffic coming from a specific link, I can go check it out and leave a comment or something. I haven’t figured out how to do that with GA yet.

I find the various stats amusing. They rarely agree. If one set of stats says time on site increased, another source says it decreased. So, really, what are they measuring. And, as Almundena pointed out, people who read via rss readers etc aren’t included in the stats.

You’re correct: the best part about blogging are the comments readers leave. That’s what makes blogging worth it.

And, yes, I hope to meet you in March at SXSW!

Comment by Barbara

September 1, 2010 @ 10:48 am

That makes me feel better, Glenda. If you struggle with ga then it is not just me. A lot of people must know how to do the hit-tracking business. When I regularly sweep out the ‘cookies’ (Hubby says that is a euphemism for something that is really bad) I see lots of businesses like sitemeter. There is so much uncontrolled (by us bloggers) going on in the internet.

Comment by Norman

September 10, 2010 @ 9:33 am

Hi Glenda. Liked the post. Much to think about and try out. I’ve enjoyed having the “Live Traffic Feed” on my Typepad blog (at http://bit.ly/7eTaD5 for anyone who wants to see it). It’s great seeing where visitors come from. Like Barbara here I get stats from Typepad. I should probably do more to build traffic. And to get an answer to your question “What is your blog telling you?”

Comment by Mario Canamar

September 10, 2010 @ 10:50 am

Got here through Chris Brogan’s latest post. I have to say your blog is very refreshing. Loved this post.

I had a “birdie” like that once. As it turns out, the article was related to Apple and was about the iPhone. Most of the traffic came through Stumbleupon but many others found the blog post through Google and amazingly, Bing (I still don’t like Bing much). Apple seems to generate way too much attention, so maybe, also the lesson would be the subject you write about. Write about Apple’s stuff and you are sure to get traffic!

Comment by Glenda

September 11, 2010 @ 5:44 pm

Hi Norman!

I like the “Live Traffic Feed” feature on your blog. It’s always interesting to see where blog readers are. Talk about about a small, small world!

Comment by Glenda

September 11, 2010 @ 5:48 pm

Hi Mario and welcome! Thanks for popping by.

Yes, traffic for my iPad posts have been amazing too! Now to find a way to monetize that Apple traffic.

Comment by Sherry

September 15, 2010 @ 1:42 pm

Thanks for the laugh today Glenda. I needed that!

Comment by Ann

October 23, 2010 @ 8:59 am

Too funny!

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