Monday, October 6, 2014

How Do You Measure a Year?

In blog posts, in retweets
In comments, in to-tal rewrites
In searches, in sources, in keywords, in spam
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life?
~Seasons of Love - RENT (filked by yours truly)
Hooray! Gamer by Design turns 1 year old today! I started this blog October 6th, 2013, in response to the Newbie Blogger Initiative. Well, I've wanted to write my own game design blog for years, but the NBI provided me with the perfect opportunity to get off my butt, because it made networking my blog so much easier. After the first month, I was graciously awarded the Promising Star, which according to the website is described as, "This is awarded to the overall most outstanding Newbie Blogger and is the NBI’s highest honor. Your blog has been acknowledged for its style and content."

I can only hope I've lived up to that expectation, but the ride has definitely been fun, and I plan to continue it. Since I've started I've quit my previous job, became a game dev, gone to GaymerX, PAX East, PAX Prime, made a tonne of new friends, and managed to both get things off my chest and talk about what topics I think are interesting--and a few others think were interesting as well.

So stealing a page from The Ancient Gaming Noob's book, I'm going to talk a little bit about the stats on my blog for the year, because as we've already established, I love numbers. Now, I've been using Google Analytics only since mid-November last year, so the first month and a half's worth of data is missing, so this isn't a perfect look.

Who's Sending Me Traffic?

There's a fair bit of data there, exported raw from Google Analytics. Clearly the top dog is Google, sending me tonnes of traffic. But based on the average time folks spend, plus the sheer number of new sessions, the majority of users are likely just stopping by to grab an image and then moving on. Looking at the keywords via Google Analytics, literally almost nobody sticks around, making Google a great way to have folks strip images from your blog. I'm not really complaining, but I don't really think people use Google these days to find information they want to read, rather, they use other people's recommendations via social media for that. Or I'm just bad at Google.

Next is direct traffic, which would be either no tracking info on the URL or typing the value directly into their browser. Maybe someone shared a link (likely me) that didn't have a tracking parameter on it. There are a fair number of new sessions, and returning folks as well, so link sharing is still handy.

Blessing Of Kings, a great blog and a fixture of the WoW blogging community. Rohan's blog roll is, for many people, a replacement for RSS feeds (myself included for a very long time). No other blog roll compares to his for traffic redirects, or at least, not one that I'm on. And based on other metrics (average session duration, average pages hit), those users come back time and time again. So, thanks Rohan!

Twitter and Facebook are 4 and 5 respectively, showing the value in being active on social media. Well, except for Google Plus, which is way lower on the list.

The Blogger referral is likely my own clicks going through from editing pages, especially with only 3.82% new sessions, so I wouldn't look too hard at that figure.

Then, outside of different languages for Rohan's blog, we have other blogs. Balkoth's Word, Herding Cats, MMOGypsy, Bio Break, Me vs Myself And I, and Murf Versus. It's important to interact with others in the blogosphere, and frankly, they're all friends that I've met through blogging, so it's nice to see we have some back and forth.

There's a couple of one-offs, though which really show how powerful a single link can be. Tobold's blog linked to me once, and that was a significant spike for my traffic. WoW Insider, I posted a single comment which generated a fair bit of traffic. The Stonewall Family is my guild's website, and I cross-post there on occasion. Finally, Feedly is a new RSS replacement for Google Reader that has gained some traction.

So lessons I've learned? Talk to people; be active on Twitter and Facebook (not just posting links, but participating in the community); get on blog rolls; comment on other people's blogs.

Most Popular Posts

Over the past year, what have been my most popular posts? Sadly, there were a couple before I started using Google Analytics that hit the viral jackpot, specifically one where I initially talk about the game I'm now working on (Eon Altar), which would make spot 2 on the list.

Page Title Pageviews
WoW: Fiction Has a Horde Bias 1226
Dear Blizzard, I'm Not Asking For a Quest About Woman's Suffrage or the Stonewall Riots 758
[WoW] Clueless vs. Jerk, Who is Silver for Heroic 5-Mans Solving For? 449
Cloning, Splicing, and Cross-Breeding. Pokémon Geneticist! 400
Banish(ed) The End Game 379
[WoW Beta] UBRS 5-Man Dungeon as Holy Paladin 349
WoW: Will the Item Squish Quash Our Ability to Solo Earlier Raids? 324
[WoW] Right in the Heals 317
Holy Paladin, Batman! WoD Alpha Patch Note Discussion 286
Complexity and Depth, or Why WoW Devs are Axing Abilities 273

By far, my most popular post is about how and why Horde dominates WoW's story. Then we have Dear Blizzard, which was linked like crazy through Twitter. The third one on the list, Clueless vs. Jerk, was linked by Tobold. The Pokémon Geneticist post is actually from before I started Google Analytics, but it ranks super high on Google searches, so it still gets a couple hits every once in a while even today.

Most of the top 10 are from WoW, which isn't really surprising given how popular the game is. The one that sticks out to me is the post about Banished. Not really sure why that one got a lot of hits, but it did. Perhaps not that many blog reviews out there?

What if we measure by comments instead of pageviews?

Page TitleComments
In Support of Support Classes32
Complexity and Depth, or Why WoW Devs are Axing Abilities28
Dear Blizzard, I'm Not Asking For a Quest About Woman's Suffrage or the Stonewall Riots19
Complexity and Depth Part 2: Conflation Station16
Aw, Do I Have to Replace My +4 Awesome Sword with that +5 Slightly More Awesome Sword?15
[WoW] Clueless vs. Jerk, Who is Silver for Heroic 5-Mans Solving For?15
[WoW] Should Monolithic Expansions be Obsoleted?14
Flexible Raiding by Rigid Numbers13
Purchasing Level 90s in WoW: It's the End of the World As We Know it, and I Feel Fine12
A Tale of Two Raids12
[WoW] Raiding in Warlords: The Good, The (Maybe) Bad, The Strange12
[WoW] Right in the Heals12

Again, mostly WoW posts, but a mostly different list. Actually, when you look at the comments, it is all WoW posts. It's fun to see both my Complexity vs Depth posts up there, because lots of people have lots of differing opinions, which is fun. Most of my most popular posts to comment on happen to be about the cross section of Game Design and World of Warcraft, which I admit are fun to write, even if I haven't written one in a while.

But given that there isn't a tonne of crossover between the two lists, apparently posts that generate discussion don't generate page views, and posts that generate page views don't really generate discussion? I'm not sure that's actually true, but for my year of blogging that seems to be the pattern.

 A Year of Blogging

Unlike Wilhelm I haven't really tracked how many paragraphs or words I've written, so I don't have that data. But I have written a total of 92 posts, so about 1.77 a week, and I'm pretty sure I've never missed a week, though some months I do better than others. February 2014 in particular was a really slow month for me.

But here I am, still blogging, still playing WoW, and am a game developer, so I plan on writing more blog posts and continuing to participate in this lovely blogger community. Here's to another year!


1 comment:

  1. Awesome! Feels good to have a larger measurement of time by hitting these types of milestones. Here's to many more years in the blogosphere!