My Blogging Statistics

This week’s assignment brings us to something I have been thinking about and looking at already: Blog Statistics.

Every time I think about blog statistics, I go back to the layout for the site. For instance, I felt like I didn’t feel like the recent posts gave people a good explanation of what was going on, and so I made the “About” page into the home page of the site. Then I watched the stats, saw that the most viewed page was just the home page, and realized that it left very few options for exploring the site content. So I went back to the post layout.

Then, I kept trying to find a way to show more of the post content, and have finally, in thinking about stats now, changed my theme. Much more like I wanted it to work. Although still, not quite like some blogs I read, where there is a break, and people have to click through. This also allows them to take things like top tens and break them into ten or eleven individual pages, increasing page views, but also making each bit shorter and less likely to get the ol’ “tl;dr” response.

So what stats do I watch the most? And more importantly, which should I watch the most? That is the question. You know, for the week. If I knew how to make it break, this is where I would! Read on, loyal reader!

My Top Three Statistics:

  1. Links: Especially in my early posts, I put a lot of work into adding links out from the blog. Like this one. My thought being, in case people didn’t know what I was talking about. Turns out, these did not get a lot of outgoing hits. What did get hits were the things that answered a question, not the links that explained what a thing was. So I had outgoing links for, say, The Art of Video Games Exhibit, or the real news about Amelia Earhart. Link stats, therefore, can tell me what I am writing about that someone did not already know – and therefore, what they find to be interesting.
  2. Referrals: Okay, the only shares to the blog thus-far have been me. That’s okay, that’s how self-promotion works, right? Gotta start somewhere. I started a Twitter account.  Now I’ve added it to the blog. Seeing how many of the referrals in have come from sharing on Facebook is telling – my best days by far were days when I shared on Facebook. All of my comments from others have come from shares on Facebook. Meanwhile, WordPress itself does a good job reblogging its blogs, and I have gotten some good referrals from there – and that is where all of my followers and likes have come from. These two sources have done much better for me than web searches – there I turn up either with specific questions about video games (which my general posts do not answer, and which is not the focus of my blog), or else questions about Amelia Earhart. Seriously, I get so much Amelia Earhart traffic. Anyone else from the class see this in their stats?
  3. Most Popular Posts: Let’s face it, this started as a blog for a class, without a true identity of its own. I would like to focus on writing, and this has pulled in a number of the readers from WordPress. However, I think of lots of different types of writing, and have written most especially so far about video game writing. And that has gotten reads and comments too. The most popular posts seem to be the most personal ones. So talking about something people already know about? Boring, right? Talking about things just to talk? Eh. Writing something fake for an assignment? A little interest. But my posts about the assignments, my thoughts and plans about them? Way more popular than I could have imagined. What I have unique to offer is not a blog, there’s lots of those. But my thoughts and approaches are unique (I hope, or unique enough at least?). This is worth reading. Or can be, if I work at it. BUT: don’t work on it too hard. Natural is best, forced is obvious. Blogging is more organic. So follow the most popular posts, and it can lead to what your readers are actually reading. Then, write more like that.

Tools to Track the Statistics:

Okay, so I thought I had found a neat new tool to track my statistics, and was totally ready to add Google Analytics to my WordPress site:

Then I went to do so and found that the Plug-Ins are gone, and have been replaced by the widgets. The Blog Stats widget only seems to show hits. Not a lot else to play with there. Not seeing a Google Analytics widget. Also not seeing any difference to the widgets with a new theme.

However, WordPress has built in a lot of really good statistics already. The handy visitors graph that sits next to your blog name in the toolbar above the page… yeah, that’s the one. Great statistics from there. I shared a bit of them before here. Sadly, that still describes my best day for the blog. I think these statistics tools will help me track my main needs, of referrers in, links out, and most popular pages.

Anyone else know of any good tracking tools that currently work with WordPress?

Biggest Challenge:

Here, I have a bit of a story to tell, statistic to share. Something. I have one commenter who did not come from Facebook, but instead from, I am assuming, WordPress. A fellow blogger. Who I then replied to, and who then, with my replies, shared them in the form of a blog post. A bright, shining moment where a fellow blogger started a conversation, and it went somewhere. This ties in with everything: referrals in, linking, popular posts… the thing I am going to have the most challenge with is leveraging these things to write posts that people find and comment on, and which grows a conversation like this again. In short, the problem is community.

After all, this post ended up on WordPress, which then led to links in. I also had another blogger linking in to me. Following, liking things. Maybe even a reblog. All of this WordPress makes easy for its community to do, meaning that a blog about writing might most want to attract fellow blog writers – and WordPress itself is the vehicle for doing so. Meaning I need to read more blogs, comment, discuss, like, follow. Even maybe review and link back to them.

In other words: I need to invest more time, and not just time sitting here writing. I am looking at my word count. I’m over 1000. If you made it this far, thank you! Like the post! You’re a star, and the like button is star-like and your prize for getting here. Thank you, and hope to read a blog from you soon.

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About CompGeekDavid
Co-founder, editor, podcaster, web comicer, forum moderator, and writer for Comparative Geeks. Father, husband, geek, nerd, gamer, librarian, Christian, Libertarian, Science Fiction philosopher, and probably a number of other descriptors.

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