So I have started to pull down some of my stats from 2013. While most people are somewhat secretive with their analytics, I can show mine and share some of what I’ve learned over the last year, and what I did right, as well as what I did wrong.
The Raw Numbers
Ok, this is probably your first question:
These numbers are pretty much what I expected. 2013 was pretty much when my traffic “leveled” out. 2012 I had a lot of publicity on my site, hitting the front page of Hacker News, Lifehacker and Wired several times really threw my stats off (in a good way of course). But 2013 was pretty much the residuals of that publicity with some extra SEO love thrown in.
I think overall I did pretty well, considering this just some silly personal blog that I hardly update enough, and I’m not a celebrity or anything like that. Here’s how it breaks down:
- Average Visits per day: 3,059
- Unique Visitors per day: 2,432
- Page Views per day: 4,311
Ok, so obviously this isn’t a huge powerhouse of a website, but again not bad for a personal blog. What surprises me is the amount of new visitors. 79% of the people coming here are new, that’s pretty amazing. As anyone would likely guess, the majority of that is search engine traffic. Let’s see:
Last year Google has been doing some shaking up of the Analytics and it shows here. “Not set” is likely search engine traffic too. Even if we disregard that we can see the traffic we do know about is still search engine traffic. Interesting stuff.
Why So Much Search Engine Traffic?
This is an easy one to answer, especially if you’ve been going to the site for a while. My background is in SEO, and a few years ago this was an SEO blog. While I don’t do a lot of these days, I still know it fairly well. I decided to take a hands off approach to SEO and go with a “build good content and make sure Google can find it” strategy, and it works well. But here’s a few more things that contribute to good search engine traffic:
- Semantic Crawl-able Structure
- Text heavy content
- Friendly URLs
- Fast Load Time
- Heavy Social Media Presence
- Odata tagging
- Google Authorship
Yes folks, there is my secret sauce for SEO success in 2013. Do all of these things, and put out lots of content and you’ll reap the benefits. If you put out better, more popular content with a lot of frequency you’ll pass up my numbers easily.
But is there anything else helping? Most of what the search engines hit is tutorials. If you think about that, it makes perfect sense. I don’t have tons of people searching for the topics when I write a general article, like something about Technical Debt or Single Responsibility Principle. While these do gain some aggregate traffic, what really does well is “How to _____”. When people look for tutorials they hit the search engines to find how to do something. This is truly the bread and butter of my traffic and what I truly love to do with this site.
Teach people how to do something, and the search traffic will come.
What did I do right this year?
I can’t really point to anything I really succeeded at this year, as it seems most of what I did right was in 2012. I found some popular topics, did cool stuff and lots of people noticed. I did my best to post some good stuff last year, and I kept active on Social Media. While 99% of what I post on there is not my own links, when I do post it there is a pretty good response. Another thing I may have done right was speed up the site as much I can. This is a work in progress and material for a future article.
What did I do wrong?
This list is a lot bigger. I’m honest enough with myself to know I’m not pushing this site to it’s potential. I should have posted more, but a busy schedule meant I could post a few times a month at best. Also, the Raspberry Pi stuff is by far the hottest content on the site, and I haven’t done enough with that lately. It’s not that I don’t love it, the Raspberry Pi and the project behind it is something I’m very passionate about, I just haven’t had the time to do it. Had I posted 10 tutorials last year, I’m sure my traffic would have been significantly better.
What I’ve learned so far is I have a good steady stream of people coming to look for tutorials on things and I need to keep that momentum. Blog posting is not “work” for me, but something I really enjoy. However with all of the things I have going on during the day it’s harder to do. This year I’m going to really push myself to do more tutorial based content, because that’s my passion. I love teaching others, and learning while I teach. I’m also going to try to find some up and coming technology stuff to keep people interested. Stay tuned!