Update after an eight months’ hiatus

My intention was -and still is- to publish on this blog on a regular basis. But I have to confess, life got in the way. That is a bad excuse, but I’ve had some challenges that many starting bloggers will recognize. I’ll give you an update about the highlights and the lowlights:

Lowlights

  1. Consultancy work: during the last eight months, I got an assignment that unfortunately took a lot of mental bandwidth. It didn’t quite work out as I had hoped and while I’m grateful for the positive experiences, I’m glad it is over. I just started a new assignment that looks a bit less challenging. At the same time I hope to cut down a bit on the number of hours I will work so that I also have more time, energy and mental space for the blog.
  2. Subscribers: Four months ago I lost my first subscriber, and in a dramatic way. This was my father who passed away due to lung cancer (smoking is baddddd!). Besides the emotional load this also gave a lot of practical headaches. The practicalities are now solved and gradually the emotional side will probably also fade away.

Highlights

  1. Subscribers: despite not doing any serious promotion, I have 2 new subscribers. Welcome guys! I hope more will follow soon.
  2. Visitors: before the eight months’ hiatus I tuned the pages on this blog using the YOAST plugin. I didn’t get around to also update the blog posts yet. I had not expected any traffic that the site would generate. And to my surprise, the WordPress app on my iPhone showed some traffic, also on the blog posts.

Traffic in depth

If I look at the last six months (excluding December), I see:

MonthViewsVisitorsViews per visitor
June4085.0
July35132.3
August39192.1
September45123.8
October110392.8
November85283.0
Average59203.0

And in the last seven weeks:

WeekViewsVisitorsViews per visitor
22 – 28 Oct1081.3
29 Oct – 4 Nov32112.9
5 – 11 Nov2664.3
12 – 18 Nov 30103.0
19 – 25 Nov431.3
26 Nov – 2 Dec1572.1
3 – 9 Dec1535.0
Average1972.8

Introducing retention

I didn’t discuss the number of views per visitor before and I introduced this metric here:

Retention = Number of views / number of visitors

This metric gives an indication of how interesting a site actually is for visitors. Google and other channels may lead visitors to a site, but if the site isn’t attractive (e.g. because of insufficient content, bad looks or clumsy navigation), visitors will quickly leave again. Because of this, one should aim for a high retention. On the other hand, if frequent visitors just quickly want to read the latest content, they should find it easy. This is an argument for a low retention rate.

I once read somewhere that a retention of at least 1.5 views per visitor is a good value for building a community. Considering that the average retention as I found is close to twice that, I’m happy with this value. On the one hand, I want to add more quality content and replace the stock pictures with my own photographs. I want to increase readability of the existing blog posts and maybe find a better WordPress template. All this should result in that visitors will stay longer.

At the same time, I hope to have recurring visitors on this site who will quickly pick up the latest content. I’m okay with that they may not stay very long for each visit.

Towards the next level

Let’s remember the the traffic related criteria for blogger level 2 “apprentice” as I defined in my blog post from 2018-02-14: 10 page views and 5 visitors a week. We can see that these goals on average are met for the last 7 weeks, and are consistently met from 26 November.

Regarding content, level 2 requires 15 blog posts. Including this post, the total is 12. So three more to go to the next level.

Note: I’m going to ignore the requirement of 650 words since there is no easy way from the WordPress dashboard to see this statistic. I will continue to aim for quality content and it seems like the most meaningful posts will be at least this long anyway.

Once the blog reaches 15 posts, I’ll think of new goals for level 3. I will drop requirements on the length of blog posts and add 2 new types of requirements: one regarding retention and one regarding the number of subscribers.

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