It seems like ages ago, and was in fact seven years ago to the day that I began this blog. So, as is my habit at this time every year I take the opportunity to review my blog’s progress over the past 12 months.
Up until two years ago my blog had grown steadily year on year until it was unexpectedly savaged by Google. This seemingly unwarranted savaging manifested itself with a 50% drop in traffic! During the last year however this trend thankfully seems to have reversed itself and not only am I back where I was, but possibly even slightly ahead of the game again with my traffic levels.
In the past twelve months I have continued blogging, albeit at a very minimal pace, and I have also continued on various social media platforms, in particular on the Google+ podcasting communities. Yet, despite my frankly dismal posting frequency on this blog, traffic has rocketed. It doesn’t seem to make sense, but hey, traffic is traffic and people are finding my blog, so who am I to question, let alone understand the inner machinations of Google.
When I began blogging I foolishly thought I could write a blog post a week. Needless to say this ridiculously optimistic aim didn’t last very long. My current posting frequency is now sitting at 1.2 posts per month (14 posts in the last twelve months). This is down from last year’s posting frequency of 1.75 posts per month.
Every month I produce a podcast for Zen Internet which is syndicated on this blog. So effectively 12 of the year’s posts and already accounted for, which means in reality I only wrote 2 posts during the last 12 months. This has got to be my worst posting record ever, and yet it has been an excellent year for my blog traffic wise, making up for all of the lost ground over the previous year. Bonkers!
This last year I didn’t made any significant changes to my blog, but I did added a few additional plugins to enhance it’s functionality.
Limit Login Attempts
Doing what it says on the tin, this plugin limits the number of login attempts that any one person or IP address can make, helping to prevent the possibility of a brute force attack on the administration section of your website.
The WordPress database can become a little cluttered over time, resulting in sub-optimal performance of the site. This handy little plugin sweeps the database clean of unused, orphaned and duplicated items and also optimizes the database tables.
My thanks to Dustin Hartzler who mentioned this great little plugin on his WordPress podcast “Your Website Engineer”, without whom I would never have discovered it. If you’re into blogging and particularly WordPress then I can highly recommend Dustin’s podcast.
Statistics for the Year
After being savaged by the Google menagerie (Panda and/or Penguin), my blog has rallied valiantly with its traffic now eclipsing its previous peak. I still have no idea what caused this, other than Google hated me for a while and now likes me again; clearly a love hate relationship.
Perhaps my strategy of just concentrating on writing the blog for myself, hopefully with articles that interests others, and ignoring Google paid off.
WordPress Statistics (Totals)
- Posts: 151 (137 last year)
- Comments: 1,034 (924 last year)
- Spam Comments: 258,539 (240,240 last year)
The number of spam comments that my Akismet plugin caught this year is down by 65% over the previous year. Coupled with the fact that my blog’s traffic has soared this past year, the significant drop in spam is especially amazing and very welcomed.
The following graph shows the overall spam comments caught by Akismet since I started my blog:
Like most bloggers I use Google’s free web analytics tool to track my website’s traffic and its visitors. Over the past year my blog received an average of approximately 14,600 visitors per month viewing over 17,900 pages every month.
Last month’s visitor and page view statistics were both well over double for the same time last year:
Over the last year my blog received almost 176,000 visits and over 215,000 page views.
The following graphs are for the past year.
Both direct traffic and referrals have increased in their share of traffic this year, with direct traffic jumping from 5.8% last year to 9.6% this year.
Countries of Visitors
The United States and the United Kingdom continue to dominate and remain the same as last year with a combined total of 54% of the blog’s overall traffic. Australia and India have swapped places with India moving up to fourth place compared to last year.
I continue to use Google’s FeedBurner service to supply my blog’s RSS feed due to the useful statistics that it offers, plus its ability to offer my RSS feed as an alternative e-mail subscription option. Despite many pundits predicting the demise of Feedburner following recent closures of other free services offered by Google, it seems remain for yet another year…
My feed currently has 118 subscribers (51 of whom subscribe by e-mail). This is a modest increase of 6% over last year’s 111 subscribers.
The following graph shows my RSS subscriber levels over the history of the blog:
Last year my blog suffered a catastrophic loss of traffic (down by 43%) for no apparent reason (other than Google hated me). This year however I’m pleased to report a much healthier state of affairs with my site’s visitor numbers increasing by 52% over last year’s rather dismal figures.
You can view my five previous year’s statistics at:
- Happy Birthday Blog
- Blog Hits the Terrible Twos
- Happy Birthday Blog: Three Today!
- Annual Blog Review: Year 4
- Annual Blog Review: Year 5
- Annual Blog Review: Year 6
My blog’s most popular post remains Embedding Album Art in MP3 Files, which receives 35% of the blog’s total traffic, down again from the previous year’s 47%. Having such a well performing post is very nice, but it’s also good to see that over the last few years the overall percentage of traffic that this post receives has steadily dropped, meaning that my blog’s traffic is not as reliant on a single post.
My top 5 posts have changed positions a little with the Top 5 Pieces of Free Podcasting Software post moving up from 4th position to 5th and Song Capacity Calculator for MP3 Players moving from 5th place to 3rd place. The first and second places have remained unchanged:
- Embedding Album Art in MP3 Files (74,979 views)
- How to Check if your Speakers are Wired Correctly? (58,443 views)
- What is Joint Stereo? (14,124 views)
- Song Capacity Calculator for MP3 Players (15,599 views)
- Top 5 Pieces of Free Podcasting Software (7,422 views)
Ironically, in the past 12 months I have been rather inactive on my blog and yet this year’s figures have completely reversed the trend over last year.
I’ve got no concrete plans to do anything spectacular with this blog over the forthcoming twelve months, other than to continue as I have for the last year; although who knows, things can change at any moment.
Life goes in cycles, and while I fully intend to keep blogging, for the moment I seem to be pulled in other directions and am currently enjoying doing some electronic design again, something I never thought I’d be able to do again after my accident fifteen years ago.
So, as another blogging year passes I’d just like to say a big thank you to all of you who have left comments, or who have subscribed to the blog. It really is genuinely nice to know that people are finding my content useful and I may have helped a few people along the way.