2017: The Year That Was

Before I forge on into this New Year, I had one more task I wanted to do here on the blog. I thought it would be interesting to examine my stats (helpfully supplied by WordPress) on how I am doing here.

It’s a bit humbling, to be honest, but ho hum. The truth hurts! The good news is the number of views per post is finally starting to go up a bit.I’ve had a few posts get over 100 views this year, so that’s a nice change.

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Here’s the details, in unforgiving black and white:

  1. Most popular post on the blog – the post that has been viewed the most (239 times) is my review of “The Last Kingdom”, the Netflix miniseries about the Dark Age warrior Uthred,  based on the Saxon books by Bernard Cornwall. This appeared on the blog in 2016, so it doesn’t count as the most popular of 2017, but it’s tops over all, so I thought I should mention it.
  2. Most popular post in 2017 – my recent post on Kings and Queens of Anglo-Saxon England got the most views in 2017, with  196 views. That was up on the blog in December and was my last post this year on Anglo-Saxon people and culture. I’m glad to see this topic resonating with readers.
  3. Second and third most popular in 2017 – those go to Penda: King of Mercia (165 views, from February) and What They Wore: Clothing in the 7th Century (110 views, from August). Again, I’m happy that these posts are generating some interest.
  4. Least favourite from 2017  – the dubious honour for this goes to my Year of Fun Reading: Wrap Up (10 views). But that’s probably because that was only a week ago and it was posted in the week between Christmas and New Year. So I’m not sure the lack of views means that people weren’t interested.

It’s interesting to have a look at the numbers, but I find it hard to do any kind of useful analysis on them. It’s probably (hopefully) not true to say that a post is no good judging by the amount of views it gets. Lots of other variables factor in, including time of day you post, and how many people share the post (thank you SO much to those who have done this!). But in general I will say a few things strike me as I look at these stats.

  • The number of views are generally increasing. So, I will take that as a positive.
  • People are liking the posts on Early Middle Ages people and culture. These tend to be the most popular posts on the blog.
  • Book reviews, such as my “Year of” reading challenges and other reviews, are fairly popular, and posts about writing, are slightly less popular that those. And less popular than both those are the posts with my original fiction. That’s not so great for this aspiring writer!

I have tried to do a better job of promoting my blog on social media, mainly via Twitter. I have used Hootsuite to schedule posts so that there is more from me on Twitter but this is something I could definitely improve upon. So I will try to be a little more intentional about that this year and see if I can get my readership continuing to grow.

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The whole spectre of marketing my work is a huge area that I know I can improve upon. There is reams of advice out there for bloggers on how to do that, so I will take some time to work on this in 2018.

However, there is a delicate balance here that I find tricky. I really enjoy writing here on the blog, and I try to do a decent job of crafting interesting posts. Each post probably takes from two to four hours to write. Depending on the topic and the amount of research I have to do, it might be longer.

But I’m also trying to get a novel published. Definitely my writing here detracts from that, just because time spent here is time I’m not spending on my book.  I really enjoy posting here, and the connections I have made through my blog are wonderful, so I don’t want to give it up. And I can see that WHEN I get my book published, it will be good to have this space as a place to connect with readers. So I have to be careful with time management for it all to work.

Last year I developed a writing schedule that I managed to stick to fairly well, but I will spend some time this month revisiting that. I find that setting goals really helps me. I really want to be able to publish in 2018, so I need to get my ducks in a row. And I need to do some serious work on figuring out strategies for effective book launches, and marketing of said book, etc.

There’s lots to look forward to in 2018! Thank you to all my faithful readers, and double thanks to those who take the time to comment or share my posts. You all are a great encouragement and blessing to me, and I look forward to continuing to connect with you here on The Traveller’s Path in the year to come.

Onward and upward!!


Feature photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

6 thoughts on “2017: The Year That Was

  1. Write well, and in a way that pays off for your writing. The other blogging stats stuff serves that (when relevant). Honestly, most hits I get are random Google-driven visitors, bots, or people looking for pictures. Recently, the plagiarists have shown up.
    One thing I would say, though, is that you are probably cutting your potential growth in half by publishing on Fri-Sun rather than Mon-Thurs. It’s weird, but blogs are not like newspapers, and readers of the sophistication you are aiming at de-digitize a little on the weekend.
    Cheers,
    Brenton

    Liked by 1 person

    • L.A. Smith says:

      Hmm! Interesting! Didn’t know that. I’ll try mixing up the days I post and see if it makes a difference.

      I do agree, though, that it all starts with the writing, for blogs or books. 🙂

      Like

  2. So happy to have come across your blog and looking forward to reading more. You analysis of your stats is important work. Even if you don’t really know what to do with the results, it’s great that you’re paying mindful attention to them. At some point, they will become really relevant. If for no other reason than it becomes really encouraging when you see them growing over time! 🙂 Blessings, L.A., I hope to read more of your work soon (and your book?!?).

    Like

  3. One more quick thought–is there a section anywhere that features your writing samples or sample chapters? You’d mentioned that these weren’t as popular but could it be because readers can’t easily find them? I did a quick search and couldn’t locate (though I have been known to miss the obvious on more than one occasion!) and didn’t see them as a “tag” in your tag cloud. I’d love to read a sample if you’ll point me in the right direction.

    Like

    • L.A. Smith says:

      Sorry I’m a bit tardy at replying to this! I’m on a winter getaway at the moment…There is a link to my writing on the sidebar of the blog, under “where in the world is my words”. You can also find a sample chapter there. Good idea for adding a tab for stories featured on the blog, though, I’ll work on that! In the meantime if you search “Saturday Short” or “Fiction Feature” you should find them.

      Like

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