Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Look at Blog Traffic and the Overall State of the Blog

Readership is up.  I'm not sure exactly how much, and I have no way of knowing who exactly is reading, but I do know that folks are coming by and checking out the blog.  If that's you, welcome!

Let me just say, I'd love for you to drop a comment or two if you have the time, and you see something you like.  First, because--as I said--I've no way of knowing who's here.  Second, because if you don't let me know why you came, I don't know what to do more often.  Third, because I think a blog works best when there's a sense of community amongst readers, and though I've tried to foster that here, we're not there yet.  And finally, because although I have a few metrics that hint at what my total readership is, the reality is that they're crude tools.

Tools & Visitor Counts
Blogger has a visitor's metric.  It tells me how many hits the blog has gotten in the past day / week / month / forever, and it tells me where my traffic is coming from.  That's great, but it's prone to thinking that search-bots and/or spam-bots are real people, meaning that it may tell me I have a hundred fifty visitors on a day when I really have just a dozen or so.  It also doesn't do a good job of tracking RSS Feed Readers, although who knows, maybe it is capturing those guys, but I don't think so.  Truth is, if you're reading this on an RSS Feed, that's fine, but I think it's going straight under the radar, and I'm not picking it up.

Google also has an AdSense metric that tells me how many readers have looked at the blog's ads, but it only picks up desktops and high-end tablets; I think it's missing phone traffic entirely, and if you use a browser plug-in to block ads, you're also not being counted.  Still, I tedn to have a bit more faith in the AdSense metric because it's at least not prone to believing in ghosts, even though it's also obviously not picking up on at least some traffic.

The past week's AdSense Metrics.

In any event, Dan & Sally's Digital Domain gets anywhere from two dozen to two hundred readers per day, depending on what we've posted and how hard we've worked to get our posts out there.  Most of our traffic comes from either Google+ or Google Search, with the later being people looking for something specific that we've covered in the past.

Format matters.  Which is to say that I've noticed that people really like lists.

You guys can't get enough D&D.
Whenever I post something in list-format for one of the Google+ Communities that I follow, we'll usually see an upswing in traffic for that specific post.  That upswing may last for up to a week or more depending on the Community for which it was written.

My favorite G+ Communities are the D&D Next Community and the Triathlon Community; that has as much or more to do with the netizens who hang out in these communities as it does the subject-matter covered.  I've also found the Fantasy Writing Community to be helpful and occasionally really interesting, but I think I'm practically the only guy who posts over there who doesn't have a whole series out in print already.

What're Folks Reading?
Short answer?  Anything and everything I write about Dungeons and Dragons.

Folks have also shown an interest in:
With this in mind, it is perhaps no surprise that the top posts in the history of this blog are about three I wrote covering the Top Ten Forgotten Realms Novels.  That one's a list, it's about D&D, it's a book report, and it's about a set of books in a specific genre.  In short, it's everything that other people like about this blog.

I like D&D, I like reading, and I don't mind turning out the occasional book review, but I also obviously like to write about other stuff, as well.  So yeah, I get that you guys want more D&D, but I'm already putting out about as much D&D as I can handle on a per-post basis, and unless Wizards of the Coast offers me some kind of sponsorship deal, that's not likely to change.

What Do I Wish Folks Were Reading More?
Short answer?  Five Things on a Friday.

You guys have shown a general lack of interest in anything that concerns more serious topics.  Finance?  Politics?  The economy?  It's always crickets around here for that stuff, even from my classmates from the Academy.

Truth is, I think my classmates have by and large given up on me as far as serious topics are concerned ever since I got out of the Army.  That's their right, of course, but it's a shame because my personal opinion is that they could use the occasional outside opinion on their collective thought processes.

I mention my friend Alan Evans by name
frequently because he writes a webcomic
that can use the publicity.
Of course, this blog would be a completely different thing if I started writing about my work, but trust me, that is never going to happen.  I've recently started posting links to energy-sector related articles that I like to my Facebook friends, but that's about as close as I'm willing to get to putting my personal opinions on that stuff out there.  The issues are just too fundamentally politically charged, and I don't want folks to start equating my personal opinions with the opinions of my employer because that would get me fired.  So for my own safety--and also because I think my employer and I get along better this way--I stay away from my work as a matter of Editorial Policy.

Other Editorial Policies?

  • I always mention my friends by first name only, unless they are published authors whose work may benefit from whatever exposure they get on my blog.
  • I don't post pictures of other people's kids without permission.  Even then, it's very rare.
  • I don't generally do long-form reviews on things that I don't like.  For example, there are no negative beer or book reviews on this blog, nor do I write race reports for races that I thought were run poorly.
Anybody got any questions or comments about things you'd like to see more often?  

Let me know.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.


  1. Thanks as always for the plug! (And glad you got to see the Towers of Terror show up on the latest chapter) XD

    I, for one, LOVE Five Things on Friday, especially the political climate. It's possible it's quiet on those posts because anything hot (political, socio, religious) can degenerate pretty quickly so maybe out of respect for you, they just keep quiet? I listen to NPR regularly now because you suggested it, for what that's worth.

    I LOVE D&D but I'm hopelessly stuck on 3.0 and anyways, my friends and I have been playing DC Adventures for the past two years. I wanted so bad to jump in on the adventure you just wrote.

    Always dig the commentary on SHIELD and ARROW.

    I might have to check out this Fantasy Writing community.

    I think it comes down to writing what you like because it shows.

    1. We'll, Sally says we need more Cowbell, so I guess that at least gives me something to work on.