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My Blogging Concept And The Year 2015 In Review

Meadow

So Many Raindrops

If my blog would be a meadow, and my visitors raindrops, I’d say it rained a lot and the grass grew tall in 2015. My blog was viewed about 800,000 times in 2015 and I’d be surprised if the year 2014 wouldn’t have looked very similar with around 600,000 views. But when I look at the all-time statistics of 1,655,339 page loads, I am very surprised, because I started this blog as an outpost where I can drop some thoughts or where I can share some ideas or content I created, and the numbers are quite crunchy for a personal blog. I am not proud about the numbers, I am proud about my approach not to listen to any self-proclaimed blogging experts. There is something I would praise, there is no surefire blogging strategy, the only thing that matters is your personal idea about blogging, because you need to enjoy it, not somebody else. If you pay too much attention to others and what worked for them, you will play against your own preference, and this will slow you down.

You Are Your Own Expert

A personal blog, especially a very broad blog can not generate traffic, that is what so-called experts say. I didn’t listen, and I am happy that I didn’t listen. I experimented with niche blogs, and I don’t want to question that they have some advantages over broad blogs, but I experienced the advantage will be very small if I don’t enjoy it to manage multiple blogs at once. If you pay attention to your personal preference, you will have a much bigger advantage, you will do it for a very long time, you will not stop to keep your blog updated. So, here is something I want to praise: Don’t pay attention to people who think they have found the surefire blogging strategy, pay attention to what you want to achieve, set it up so that you enjoy it, that will keep you going.

So Much Pixels

While I wrote about all kind of topics in 2015, so much different topics that it would be hard to list them all, I still managed it to be focussed in some areas. If there is something I did a lot, then it was taking pictures and uploading them with some thoughts or small stories to my blog. I do enjoy that, photography makes me go out, it helps me to relax, it makes me discover new things, it makes me play more with Photoshop or Lightroom, and it inspires me heavily to come up with some daily or weekly thoughts for my blog. Cling on tight! I uploaded 570 pictures in 2015, that’s about 2 pictures per day on average. The 570 photos did take up a total of 81 MB, surprised about the small space taken? If you didn’t know how to do it, here is a tip, resize your images!

Patience You Must Have

I told you so, I dislike self-described blogging experts, but I make one exception. Yoda from Star Wars is truly a master in blogging, although he didn’t write a single blog post. He said “Patience you must have”, and that describes blogging so well, if you set up your first blog, the visitors won’t overrun your site right away, it takes a long time to reach that point. He knows more stuff about blogging, he said “Do. Or do not. There is no try”, and he is so right, with blogging you have to start to create content, you shouldn’t think too much about how it will turn out, and as mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t spend all your time on blogs about blogging to find “100 Surefire Tips To Get 1 Million Visitors To Your Blog”, listen to Yoda instead and just start to create content on a regular basis, experiment and see what happens. On October 9th I broke a daily record and received 7,793 views at that day, most on this post, things like that can happen, work on your ideas!

Water The Plant

People do often say that you have to stick to a pattern when it comes to blogging, and I have no idea how this is possible unless you are inspired every second of a year or unless you have a team of writers. If you ask me, it’s not really a problem to skip some days, maybe even a week at times, and I question that any human can be inspired nonstop. Your blog is like a plant, and you will need to water the plant to make it grow, otherwise it will dry out, but I don’t think that you have to set an alarm to do so. I don’t set myself dates and times to write, I write when I am inspired, and I leave out days, but overall there is a consistency so that I end up with enough written posts per month. There is no pattern, a graphic about my post interval would look like a random scheme. I did publish 309 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 1,296 posts. My longest streak was writing 8 days in a row without a day pause. The only pattern is that I like to write on Thursdays.

Top Five Most Liked

One of my articles was freshly pressed, it was a rather simple post where I mentioned 40 brutally true cat quotes, even if the article was written in 2014, it was still the number one in 2015 with 470 likes. WordPress made some really strange design decisions in 2015, especially when they released the new beep beep boop editor, however, I wrote about a solution to get back to the good old editor, and 270 people liked it. Still related to the WordPress community, my WordAds review was well received too with 109 likes. Apart from that 61 bloggers liked my entry to the weekly photo challenge with the motto Eye Spy, and I was happy to see that a photo of my cat Shyna received so many likes. But I must admit that likes are not the indicator that I take too serious.

Top Five Most Viewed

The WordPress annual report says that my writing has staying power, because my top five articles of 2015 were written in the year 2013, except the one article I wrote in the year 2014. I wrote an article in 2013 where I explained how to create a meme with Photoshop, the article is the number one in the top five, people shared it like crazy on different social media platforms and some major sites mentioned my article when they wrote about internet memes. As a Battlefield 4 player I knew how popular the series is, and it didn’t surprise me that so many people wanted to learn how smooth Battlefield 4 runs on their gaming machines. The third most popular article was a guide about useful Battlefield 4 configuation commands. Very popular was also one of my articles where I explained how frames per second limitation works in Battlefield 4. People also wanted to know how Battlefield Hardline performes on their machines, written in 2014 but still fifth place in 2015.

Article Discussions

There is also a top five of the articles that got the most comments, but it doesn’t make sense to mention them, because they are the same articles that I mentioned in the previous paragraph. However, there is something else I noticed. Most of my visitors find my articles via Google, but they usually come here to get certain information’s, they don’t stay to discuss the content I provided, it’s like maybe every thousands visitor drops a comment if at all. But the affected articles still get the most comments over time, but that has to do with the fact that the articles get so much traffic. By contrast, it’s more likely that people of the WordPress community will drop a comment, especially on posts with photos attached or small and fast to read posts, and often they will come back if you publish something new. The articles that are listed in Google have staying power and the articles won’t dry out, WordPress bloggers however are more loyal and will check my fresh material.

How They Arrive

I mentioned already, almost all of my visitors come here via Google, and that really by a big percentage. That was always the case and this didn’t change in 2015. The undisputed number one referrer is the Google search with over 600,000 views. On the second place is Reddit with around 3,300 views, and then Facebook with almost 1,200 views. So, the views from the second and third place are tiny compared to the traffic I get via Google search. But to be fair, the rest of the traffic came from tons of different other sites and led to 595,500 page views. I summarized all others as every individual referrer didn’t even cause that much traffic as Reddit or Facebook, and it wouldn’t have made sense to mention all referrers because the list would even be too long to read.

Top Five Nations

Most of my visitors are from the Unites States, they did load my blog 280,000 times. The second place goes to the United Kingdom with almost 60,000 page loads. If my blog would have been written in German, I would have lost around 50,000 Germans who preferred to read information’s written in English by a German. I like Canada, and it seems they like me, that’s at least what I take from 40,000 views. Same counts for Australia, with the fifth place they made the WordPress server work over 30,000 times. All the other page loads were caused by many more nations.

Most Active Commenters

I want to mention my most active commenters, and when I say active, I really mean active. At the same time I do also want to suggest that you go read their blogs, because they share very interesting photos and stories too. I noticed most of them have something in common with me, it’s either the interest in photography, the love for pets and nature, some similar ideas, the fact that we all have staying power in the blogosphere or different other reasons. Also most of us keep things very mixed on our blogs, so, please visit the blog of Marilyn, please visit the blog of Vanda, please visit the blog of Trisha, please visit the blog of Vera and please visit the blog of Nia! If you like to look at photos from different places, if you like to read stories and private blogs, you will like them all. I sometimes wish a day would last longer, as same as our energy, because there are so many interesting people and blogs out there, that it’s hard to keep track of them all.

2015 Changes

By the end of 2015 I finally did something that I wanted to do for a very long time, I changed the theme of my blog. I am a creature of habit, I am happy for a very long time with the things I am used to, but at some point also I do realize that a change is needed, but usually when that happens, it’ll take me quite some time to make the change. I’ve never been happy with a few improvements, I do only change things if the impact is very big, and that is why it took me so long to make a change. I sorted out a major issue, and the new theme motivates me a lot.

2016 Changes

As I mentioned in earlier posts, the previous theme was not the only major issue, my recent domain name is an even bigger issue. It’s set in stone, I will redirect my recent domain to a new domain name this year. The bigger the choice, the harder it is to choose, that is why it will take me a lot of time to make the next move. Apart from that I want to let pass some time so that Google understands what happened to my blog, because it’s never good to make two big chances at once, because that’s how you really can mess up your rankings. I think I will not do the last move before February, but it could also happen that I make the move by the end of the year. I am patient, and I want to do it right, I want to find a name that will last long, because I don’t want to have the same problem again in the future. I have many ideas, the name will be short, and at the moment it looks as if the term “pixel” will be in the name. The term does describe all my interests so well.

Closing Words

I am very thankful for the comments, likes, shares and page views I  received. I am thankful for the friendships I could make in 2015 or earlier because of my blog. I am thankful that I could learn from you, and I hope you could learn something from me. I am thankful that you gave me feedback on my photos and stories, and I am thankful for your stories and photos, they kept me interested and inspired in boring times. I totally love the internet, and it’s wonderful that we can share interests and that we can connect even if we live in other places. Happy New Year!

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8 Comments »

  1. Dear Dennis, this is so beautiful review post, I loved how you shared. Congratulations. And Happy Blogging on the New Year too. Thank you also for your mention about me 🙂 This is my second language, guess if it were my nature language what would be!!!! I love to talk and I love to write… I want to do more because you share such a beautiful things with us in this blogging world. But there are two points for me, time and my rich language 🙂 Happy New Year, Love, nia

  2. Hi Dennis, thank you for the recommendation. I am glad you have enjoyed reading my posts as much as I have enjoyed reading yours. You make some good points about blogging. I think the best one is to do what works for you. For myself I enjoy writing and sharing information and photos and this motivates me more than rankings although it’s been very pleasing to see my traffic grow in the two and a half years since I started blogging. I will look forward to reading your blog again this year and seeing how you implement the changes you plan. I’ve learned some new things from reading your posts too. Happy New Year.

    • Hi Vanda. As you have read last year, I did spend a lot of time with the idea to create a second blog, and I think it can work for some people, but I realized I can not split my time more, especially because I am involved in some other web projects with friends together, and then there are also other tasks in life. So, I thought my tip in this post might help someone else in the future… if they have time left to manage several blogs, and if they enjoy it, they should do it, if not, they should skip the idea as soon as possible, because only the thinking and the back and forth will already kill time, productivity and the fun, that’s my personal experience.

      Here is a fun fact, the point that you enjoy writing and sharing more than watching at your statistics, is most likely the reason why your traffic is growing. I say that because I started with the opinion that I couldn’t care less if someone would read my blog or not, that’s how I really started, I just wanted to get some ideas online out of boredom back then, I started to enjoy it, that led to more content over time, and thus to more traffic. The number one reason why bloggers give up, is that they demand traffic or money, but since this takes years to build, they can only be unhappy. If you are passionated with a hobby, you don’t have these problems. So, your idea about blogging is the same as mine, you keep the stuff going no matter how the traffic looks like, and now you see it growing, and you deserve it. 😉 Keep it going, that’s the right way. 🙂

      Happy New Year.

  3. Frohes neues Jahr!
    Wow that’s an impressive overview of your year 2015. I found you via Google and hit the follow button after I read one or two posts. I definitely do not regret that decision as your blog is fun to read!
    Have a great 2016!

  4. Salut! Thanks a lot! And thanks for following! I am glad you liked my posts. I checked out your about page and noticed you speak a lot of languages, I had french in school but couldn’t keep track of it after school 😦 My plan was always to catch up on it, but it’s difficult. I do also see that you post photos, I am interested in them and will follow you on Twitter and your blog 🙂 Frohes neues Jahr und viel Glück und Gesundheit!

  5. Reading about your year in review is very inspiring and your stats very impressive! I, too, started out with trying to blog on a single topic and I just didn’t enjoy it, so I rarely posted. It’s good to know that a personal blog that covers a variety of topics can be so successful. Congratulations and best wishes on the changes you make in the coming year! And thank you for mentioning my humble little blog. 🙂

    • Thank you Trisha, yes it’s absolutely personal preference, and I know people who enjoy to write on multiple blogs at once, but I can not do that, and people should just do what they enjoy, that’s how it can work. You are right, I experienced the same when I experimented with niche blog, I didn’t get the inspiration to post consistently on my niche projects, but with my broad blog it’s the opposite 🙂 It’s often said that it’s harder to make a broad blog work, but I think it’s not true at all. Best wishes to you too!

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