Happy Birthday #8 – State of the Blog

8th-birthday-imageIt’s hard to believe that as I write this of Dice and Dragons is turning eight and as I have done the last few years (here’s a link to 2012 and 2011 for comparison if you’d like)  I’m marking the occasion, as I have in past years, with a look back at the last year.

It’s been an interesting year to say the least. I’ve have had, and continue to have, many challenges in the offline world that are impacting my ability to focus on the blog but through it all there are those of you continue to support the blog, occasionally promote it, and even give me the chance to take on new challenges. For all of that I thank you all.

So where did I end up against my goals for 2013?

  1. Post more frequently – As in past years I’ve missed the target I set of 52 or one a week but this year I did improve over last year. In 2012 I managed just seven posts while in 2013 I’m currently at 10 (counting this one) and I hope to publish at least one more before the end of the year. While I would have liked to hit the goal I’m improving my frequency year over year so I’ll take it as a win.
  2. Start a new campaign – A total miss here. I did take some time and toy with a few ideas, make a few notes, and come up with some possible story hooks but a campaign was not started.
  3. Increase blog traffic by 10% – A HUGE WIN. According to my Google Analytics account this blog saw an increase of 29% year over year. When I look at the chart it’s interesting that traffic started out lagging behind the previous year but then starting in March came on strong through the remainder of the year. I have to thank you, my readers, for even with a low post count you kept coming back.
  4. Participate in a blog carnival – Another win as I participated in not one but two carnivals in 2013 (I’m still thinking about one going on this month so this might bump to three). In addition I hosted my first carnival in October which I thought did well and I’m looking forward to hosting another in the future.

So, tallying things up, one total miss, two solids wins and an area that improved but still hasn’t hit the mark. It would appear that 2013 was a good year for the blog, thank you again loyal readers.

The statistics:

Yes, I’m still crazy enough to share the stats from behind the scenes, does this make sense? I have no clue but I’m hoping that by sharing these pieces of information it will help others to understand that writing a blog is in fact, real work. You’re not going to get rich over night with one and in fact many write a blog for the enjoyment of it or to just give back to the hobby or industry they love.

Total visits: 5,321

As I mentioned above, this represents a 29% increase from last year which is when I saw my single biggest drop in traffic, 44% from 2011 (the high water mark at 7,289). I like the direction things are going, as upwards is always good, but the question is, is the blog simply returning to its natural traffic level or is this an indicator of things to come? Only time will tell but I hope it’s the latter.

Pageviews: 9,703

It wasn’t surprising to see this number to up, after all if you have more visits you should have more pageviews. It was surprising to see that pageview per visit stayed almost the same which means that accessibility to related posts and other materials is still solid, but could use a bit of improvement.

I should also note that the average length of a site visit also did an uptick, by 23%. Some of this is due to some of the longer posts I did this year but also I’d like to think it’s because folks are reading more than a post or two.

Goals for 2014

As I look forward to 2014 I find myself again wanting to keep the list of goals small and continue to focus on improving the consistency I post at and the quality of the posts which should in turn increase the traffic to the blog. I also want to get my offline gaming back on track as it can only improve what I write here and hopefully the reverse will also be true.

  1. Post more frequently – I know, I know, I put this up every year but as I still haven’t hit the bar I’ve set, 52 posts or one a week I feel it still needs to be here.
  2. Increase blog traffic 10% – While this year saw some really strong gains in traffic I’d like to grow it a bit more. I know that the numbers have seen some big swings the last couple of years but I’m hoping things stabilize a be more going forward.
  3. Host a blog carnival – This year I jumped in to help out as a host was needed, something I was glad to do and was a good experience. In 2014 I’m looking to do it again but with a bit more planning and prep so it will hopefully be an even greater success.
  4. Start a new campaign – I had this on the goal list for 2013 and while I dabbled with some ideas and thoughts it never materialized. For 2014 I’m going to make a effort to get this off the ground and running. I’m going to define the “start” as the campaign is laid out and the members of my group are interested in playing in it and character discussion is underway. Do we actually need to have played a session? No, but it would be great if we do.

As in past years I’m keeping the list short as Murphy has had his hand in more than a little of my life of late and continues to create “challenges” for me. If things go well this list will be more about gaming than the blog starting next year as I hope to be able to focus more time on this area of my life as other responsibilities I have are winding down.

Do you have any RPG goals you’ve set for yourself? Care to share them in the comments?

May your dice roll well.

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