2006: A Lookback at Favorite Posts

I began this blog August 30th, with a pledge to try and write something everyday for 30 days. I didn’t actually hit my target for frequency, as there were just some days that were too busy for blogging. But the volume was there, and now here I am, writing my 140th post to close out 2006 and welcome in 2007.

I continue to find the statistics for my blog fascinating.

Some basic blog stats:

Total Page Views: 13,766
Most Page Views in one day: 951

Here are the search engine terms that led to the most page views yesterday, December 31st:

SearchWords2006

What you’ll see here is fairly interesting at a number of levels. First, none of the numbers is very big. People are still finding my blog in ones & twos. My page views are now averaging about 200 per day, but vary somewhat with the number of new posts I’ve written in the past couple of days.

WordPress.com only keeps stats on hand for 30 days, which is unfortunate because it has been fun to see my average daily page views creep up from the low single digits to several hundred. But, for posterity, here is what my page views have looked like for the last 30 days:

Obviously, you might be wondering what caused that spike on 12/23. The answer: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Or should I say Hollows? It turned out that my misspelling was common – so common that I continue to be a high ranking hit for people who type the misspelled title into Google, Yahoo, etc. I wrote a post about it in the days following.

Now, this is my personal blog, so I have not been optimizing it for economic return. I have no advertisements, no profit motive. But I admit to liking traffic, so I guess at some level I’ve been optimizing for repeat visits and daily visits.

My biggest question continues to be, what should I be blogging about? I find a lot of topics interesting… if I based my blogging on articles that “spike” my traffic, I would stick to Harry Potter, Battlestar Galactica, Nintendo Wii, and Apple rumors. When I look at repeat volume, however, the stats seem to tell another story. Check out my top posts for December:

(By the way, the current top five posts on my blog are always displayed in a list, to the right of the blog homepage)

It’s very interesting to me, that if I categorize my top ten posts, actually, there are a number of “slow & steady” favorites that make up the list.

Sure, the first two are basically:

  1. Harry Potter
  2. Nintendo Wii

Both hot topics that have driven a lot of media-related volume to my site.

But look at the next three:

  1. 529 Plans
  2. Roth IRA
  3. New Vanguard Fund

All personal finance topics that are timely for the end of the year, and also all topics that seem to drive regular volume on an ongoing basis.

Rounding out the next 7 (yes, I’m going to 12 since there is a natural drop-off there):

  1. Battlestar Galactica
  2. Coins
  3. Apple/Mac Software
  4. Nintendo Wii
  5. Battlestar Galactica
  6. Coins
  7. Apple/Mac Software

It’s interesting to me. Some of the posts seem to be getting traffic because no one else is writing about them. The article on the Vanguard Dividend Fund and the iPhoto Library issue were written specifically because I was having so much trouble finding the information on them myself.

I’m a bit surprised that the Coin articles have been as popular as they are, although given the media attention to the new dollar program starting in 2007, maybe they are just timely.

Part of me wants to look a the above and say – go with Personal Finance. The articles seem to be popular, have staying power, and reflect a genuine personal interest in how people (irrational) deal with money (rational). But, the truth is, I like having a forum to post some of the random topics that I find interesting day-to-day. I don’t post them all, but for some reason, it’s rewarding to write them down, and have them published.

I wish I could see statistics for my blog on a per session basis – I’ve been experimenting with including links to past articles in my new articles, to help people find more interesting content. I wish WordPress.com had a feature that would include my “last 3 articles” with the same tags below every article.

As a last thought… notice what’s not driving traffic or pageviews? My eBay-related articles. Now, to be fair, I haven’t posted on the most controversial topics. That would take me dangerously away from the safety of a personal blog, and turn this into a professional one.

In any case, I’m still getting the hang of comments, and how to best utilize them to write new articles and gauge the interest of my readers. I wish I had some sense of who my readers are, and what they genuinely prefer. Anecdotally, I’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback for the personal finance pieces (like the one on employee stock programs).

Anyway, thanks for reading during this very public experiment in 2006. I’m going to continue it into 2007, as I’m still learning a lot from it.

Happy New Year!
Adam

4 thoughts on “2006: A Lookback at Favorite Posts

  1. Adam!
    Don’t you know that in order to obtain the most hits you have to post funny, intimate short pieces of your family life? Or, you can be like The Dooce who wrote about her previous job and got fired, “dooced.” Or, you can keep a Chris Anderson approach of “The Long Tail.”

    Posting photos of your dogs would draw traffic for a couple posts. 🙂 Speaking of which, we got a pooch that is half Beagle and I was wondering what tips you have for keeping a Beagle’s mind happy while I’m away for the day? Any hints are welcome!

    Peace,
    Anneliese

  2. Hi Anneliese,

    Don’t you know that I have a separate site for all those cute family pictures of babies & puppies? Maybe I’ll post a picture here.

    Our first Beagle Newton was quite lonely when we went to work… so we solved the problem by getting him another Beagle. That’s how we ended up with two – Newton & Darwin.

    Adam

  3. Yea, the wordpress tags under the title of an article should have 2 links, like flickr tags: The first goes to YOURS, the 2nd, a globe, goes to EVERYBODYS.

    That way, they could click a tag and see your other stuff, without having to go to the sidebar……….

  4. I finally tracked back to this post to see your response – two dogs as the answer!? Yeah, I’ve heard this many times, but I don’t know if we’re quite there yet! 🙂 It’s only been a month of us having Meatball, so who knows how we’ll change our minds down the road.

    The sniffing Beagle focus makes dogwalking “challenging.” And his digging of carpet or couch makes us laugh, until we try to get him to stop. Don’t want to trash the house.

    And yes, that is true, you got a separate personal site for all those cute family photos…I forgot. 🙂

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