LATER THIS YEAR, I'll mark the 10th anniversary of actively blogging but before that day arrives, I'm drawing several conclusions about the effectiveness of my online writing. One of the first facts worth considering is the gradual decline in blog readership. As the screenshot from Statcounter shows, my blog readership has tanked. However, when considering actual engagement, I think my online presence remains as strong as ever. I've 3.3m recorded page views for my weblog and nearly two million more views or listens in other places. Here's the breakdown:
-- 3,311,313 page views on my blog
-- 1,882,619 views of my Flickr images
-- 51,129 views of my Qik videos
-- 4,176 listens to podcasts and Audioboos.
It's important to consider all these touchpoints because virtual messaging is a transmedia adventure. Some people join my narrative by seeing the title in Twitter and then clicking into the whole article. Others never visit my blog but they comment on my blog posts inside Facebook. That engagement does not register in my webstats (annual summaries here). I often summarise ideas (like this blog post) in a caption on Flickr (where the image for this post resides). Some get the essence of the blog post by reading the caption and I can pull in the total Flickr views from both of my Flickr accounts as part of my aggregated stats. My Qik videos can attract up to 500 people per clip and several of my Audioboos have recorded more than 200 listens.
When I put all these data together, it really doesn't matter that my blog readership is declining because I can see the explanations. I know that more than 300 page views each day in the first four years of my online life could be traced to comment spammers. They have been crushed by Typepad's anti-spam tactics and my page count it down as a result. I'm not an active player in the Irish web awards scene so I don't get the benefit of link lists or blogrolls anymore. I no longer write a weekly column for a national newspaper so my URL has disappeared from a traditional media outlet. The only major spikes I get in traffic comes from writing link bait or in being blessed with a fluffy link. The big spike of 5000 page views in 2008 occurred when I correctly speculated about the cause of a BA jet landing short at Heathrow. If I make those kinds of speculations today, it's in 140 character tearaways on Twitter.
Next semester, I'm using my decaying blog as a case study in a Web Analytics module. There are lessons to be learned about visibility, speed of the site loading, reach, monetisation strategies, mobile reconfiguration and copy enhancement. I'll share the findings of those case studies through my various media as the semester unfolds and we try to find out what people are looking for when they visit my blog.
"It's what upstream that counts", February 25, 2010.
"388 Visitors every hour", April 25, 2006.
"Waking up outside Twitter", July 18, 2009.