A Second Year of The Analytic Eye (2011 to 2012)

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The Analytic Eye is now two years in existence. The blog launched September 26, 2010.

You can read my first yearly wrap-up of The Analytic Eye here.

Fun milestones this year included getting published in the Business Book of Awesome, getting a celebrity reaction to a post, launching a redesign for the site and reaching 100 human comments.

All fine and fun.

But here is the hard data for your inner web nerd.

By the Numbers

  • New posts: 31, up from 25 in the first year. I will aim for 45 next year.
  • Visits: 11,000+,  a 409 per cent increase
  • Unique visitors: 9,800+,  a 450 per cent increase
  • Page views: 16,400+, a 348 per cent increase
  • Average Time on Page: I’m proud of this one especially given the traffic increase. It’s up 13 per cent to 2:41.
  • Bounce rate: 79 per cent, which is up 8.55 per cent. I don’t know how that compares for a blog. I would be horrified for a non-blog, but the reality is a lot of my readers jump in to read something and jump out. Considering the traffic expansion, I can live with it.
  • Regular posts: With the exception of last week, my editorial calendar has been consistent compared to previous performance. My baseline of traffic has noticeably increased in tandem with this change.
  • Most single day of traffic: August 14, the day after I published Dear Higher Ed Communicators: John Tesh is Kicking Our Asses.
  • Social media referrals: This is so ridiculous I cant resist the urge to post it. My social referrals are up from 13 visits to 2,342, which is an increase of 17,915 per cent.
  • Best social media driver: Facebook referrals are up 575 per cent (seriously). Twitter is down 38 per cent, even though the numbers went up six times over last year. I prefer Twitter so much more, but I should take the lesson here and do more with Facebook since the conversion rate is so high. LinkedIn is not a factor. Digg and Reddit are, but not enough for me to say much about them.

Is Blogging More Often a Good Idea?

There are two schools of thought. One says yes, and do it every day. One says no. Blog only when you have something good to say.

I take a hybrid approach. I blog weekly.

Analytic Eye Traffic Graph 2011 to 2012
The little blurb things are notes I use to tell myself when I posted a new blog post. Notice that when they get really close together, the general traffic increases. That is the power of a regular editorial calendar. (Toward the end of the year, I got lazy about adding notes for posts. Note to self: fix.)

Doing more than that isn’t possible in my world (e.g., work, small people, having a life, etc.).

Doing less gives readers no predictable reason to come back.

Having a schedule also forces me to write when I might otherwise not. I always have a good reason not to blog.

The data pattern seems to substantiate this practice.

I would love to blog only when I had an awesome post. But without writing discipline, that would be never.

Returning Visitors

My goal when I launched this site was to have a monthly visitor rate of about 1,000. I’m slightly below that now.

I expect getting published helped a lot.

This year, I suspect I will make good on my original goal based on the upward trajectory in my traffic.

My new goal is to increase my percentage of returning visitors.

Last year, I had 400+ returning visitors, which was just under 20 per cent of my traffic.

This year, I had 1,400+ returning visitors, which was 13 per cent of my traffic. My goal is to up that percentage back to at least 20 per cent.

The fact that the returning visitors tripled, coupled with the things people do to be stealth ninjas and protect their privacy, encourages me.

Google Analytics Goals

When I created goals in my Analytics reports, I arbitrarily decided each goal would be worth $0.25. One tracks number of clicks through the site. The other tracks the length of a visit.

Last year, they generated $93.75 in imaginary revenue with a 16.85 rate of conversation.

This year, they generated $657.25 at a conversion rate of 23. Google tells me that is a 39 per cent increase, which makes me happy, but hardly ready to quit my day job.

I’m also experimenting with Events.

When we redesigned the site, Richard Rudy helped me create a screen depth event, which tracks what percentage of screen depth people scroll through individual articles. Considering that my posts are long, I expect this will yield good data.

It hasn’t been running long enough to generate substantive metrics. Look for it in next year’s traffic report.

Five Most Popular Posts

  1. 5 Viral Takeaways from Nightmares Fear Factory (new post)
  2. Why I read Lainey Gossip: 5 Elements of a Compelling Blog (up 750 per cent)
  3. How to Find the Lowest Possible Price on Air Canada’s Website (up 767 per cent)
  4. Dear Higher Ed: John Tesh is Kicking Our Asses (new post)
  5. Moneyball, Dating Websites and 6 Ways Data Can Help You Avoid Irrational Decisions (new post)

Thanks

So if you’re one of my regular readers, thanks for visiting. I’m glad you find my content worth a second look.

I’d love to hear more about what you like. Feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment.

Or let’s hang out on Facebook. (Squirm. That just feels wrong.)

Anyway, here’s to another year!

4 Responses to “A Second Year of The Analytic Eye (2011 to 2012)”

  1. Sonnet

    After just returning home from a conference, I can visualize the conversation I could maintain in the blog that I have been turning over as a possibility in my head. I haven’t started because I don’t want to start something public like that and then peter out. But your overview of how you stayed on your work and upped your posts is not just inspiring but the figures help me ‘see’ the scope of work even better. Thanks, emw! Congrats on a great two years!

    Reply
  2. emw

    Thanks, Sonnet.

    If you’re considering blogging, I recommend writing seven to 10 posts or so before you launch. Will help you get a feel for the tone/topics that will work for you.

    Reply
  3. LyssaK

    Very interesting Facebook vs Twitter numbers. Just the opposite of what we have been led to expect.

    Reply

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