Visitor Statistics for a Personal Blog

This blargh has been running for just over a year now.  It’s about time I analysed its performance and statistics.  It might even give you some insight should you be interested in running your own website.

Genre and Target Audience

As blogging genres go, Majaama definitely falls under the ‘personal’ category.  I write for myself and I share with my family and friends.  I’m not a food blogger, I don’t publish a ‘Daily Photo’ sort of thing.  I definitely don’t have an overarching theme to my posts.  My topics have ranged from Ekta Kapoor to Sherlock Holmes to Twitter, which is about as broad as it gets.

Blog topics on a parchment

Common sense dictates that this is an immediate blow to reader retention.  If I visited your website because I’m a duck enthusiast who discovered your photo of a duck, I’m going to feel thoroughly cheated the next time I visit and find dumplings instead of waterfowl-based portraiture.  (a) I won’t bother to return to your site, and (b) I won’t bother to tell my fellow Anatidae zealots about it.  Poof goes your reader retention.

Update Frequency

Over Majaama’s 13 month lifespan, I’ve published 2-3 posts a month.  That’s pitiful as blogging efforts go.

Imagine a reader who re-visits your website a few days after their initial foray and finds no updates.  Bah it’s dead, they’ll say and leave, never to return.  If your dependent variable is ‘size of readership’, you’d better believe that ‘frequency of updates’ is an important independent variable – with the obvious moderator being ‘quality of updates’.

Relationship between readership size, update frequency and update quality

Networking

If you want people to discover you, you have to be out there on the internets, glad-handing other bloggers, getting them to link to you, ensuring your social media profiles are active, etc etc.

Hand holding some giant elephant garlic

I wanted a photo of people shaking hands to represent ‘networking’, but I don’t have one. This photo has a hand in it, so it will have to do. That’s elephant garlic, in case you were wondering.

To my own detriment, I haven’t done any real self-promotion.  About all I do is throw up a link for my friends on Facebook.  Whoever sees that and follows it, hooray and thank you!

Performance

So with a triple death-knell tolling for Majaama, how did it do?  Am I languishing in some corner of the internet, unheard of, unvisited, all lonely in my solitude?

Well, yes and no.  Almost entirely yes, with a faint, lingering bouquet of no.

By the standards of successful blogs, I have zero traffic.  I’m sure real bloggers get as many hits in an hour as I do in a month.  No one will call Majaama ‘the Voice of This Generation of This Decade’ and no songs will be written about its grandeur.  And in spite of this, I managed to surprise myself.

Numbers to follow.

Visitor Statistics for a Personal Blog

Period of consideration: 1 Dec 2011 – 30 Nov 2012 (12 months)

Caveat:  The dataset from Dec 2011 – Jan 2012 is dirty.  That’s roughly when I realised I should be filtering myself out.

Number of Visitors to Majaama

It looks like 1,266 different people have visited Majaama.  Sounds great!

Except this is not at all accurate. The actual number is lower than 1,266.

You see, Google Analytics tracks unique visits via cookies, and this is a big problem.  There is no way for Google to know how many of you manically delete your cookies, or run cookie-cleaner programs, both of which render visitor statistics invalid.  So the rest of this paragraph is going to be pure conjecture.  Let’s assume widespread cookie clearing and cut the number of unique visitors to 1/3rd, i.e. 422 unique visitors.  After accounting for visits via search engines (discussed later), that’s still over 300 people who’ve dropped by.  Now, I have friends and family, but not that many friends and not that much family.  So Majaama still has readers outside my inner circle.

Again, remember, that was all conjecture.  Things could be much better.  Or much, much worse.

Next up is the graph of ‘visitor arrivals over time’ taken from Google Analytics.  Reminds me a bit of the top half of an ECG.

Graph of Visitors over time

Fairly low traffic all the way until mid-September when things died completely.  And then mid-October, bam!  Back with a vengeance.  In fact, the numbers spike consistently higher that point onwards.

Given that this is an article on visitor stats, I decided to find out what happened in September and October.  I had a feeling the October spike would be because of the ‘Windows 8 hotkey‘ post bringing in more search visitors.

A little digging around revealed that, strangely, this was not the case.  In fact, there seems to be no pattern I can discern, either regarding the September death or the October resurrection.  The numbers seem unrelated to post history, site outage (there wasn’t one), searches, and any other variable I could think of.  Something must have happened, but I can’t figure out what.  Inscrutable are the ways of the internet, I guess?

(Edit from the Future:  I just discovered a possible cause.  The resurrection coincides exactly with an update to the Google algorithm.  It seems they came down harder on link-spam sites, and pushed sites with actual content further up the Pagerank hierarchy.  Could I be one of the 0.3% of sites affected?  Only Google knows.)

Visitor Demographics

Majaama visitors by country

This makes sense given the profile of my family and friends.

Majaama visitors by browser

Poor IE.  It really is blazingly fast these days.  If only it was a bit more customisable.Majaama visitors by operating system‘Other’ seems to be a blend of Blackberry, Windows Phone and something Google Analytics couldn’t even identify.

Comments

Over the 12 month period under consideration, Majaama received 91 legitimate comments and 590 comments from spammers.  Five Hundred and Ninety.  For a blog that doesn’t update daily or even weekly, that’s ridiculous.  Can you imagine how much comment spam the big blogs must attract?

Comment spam in blogs

All hail Akismet which successfully blocked every single spammy spammer.  Take that, spambots.

Search Traffic

About 10% of all visitors who hit Majaama are referred via search engines.  Mostly Google, with a few stragglers from Bing, Yahoo, Ask and Yandex.

Google Analytics has hidden the data for about 50% of the searches from me, I have no idea why.  The rest of the search data shows that Majaama is very highly regarded by the niche set of people who like…

Popular search terms that lead to Majaama

Fear not, my friends.  I shall not let all the acclaim go to my head.

Some thoroughly interesting people also landed on Majaama while searching for…

Weird search terms that lead to MajaamaI suspect their patience was sorely tried when Majaama could not provide what they asked of it.  Forgive me, people with interesting searches, for I have failed you.

Moral of the Story

So what do these numbers show?

They show that EVEN if you break every cardinal rule of blogging, EVEN if you disobey every single bit of SEO advice out there, provided you write vaguely interesting stuff, people will find you and give you a chance.  Readers will find you even if you do very, very little to promote your website.  It’s bizarre and I’m very grateful.

So THANK YOU everyone who’s dropped by Majaama this past year.  I appreciate your visits and your emails and your comments.  I hope you were entertained and will return in the future.

And while we’re on the topic, have you considered following me on Facebook or Twitter, or added me to your RSS feed?  You definitely should.

Stay majaama now.

Manasi
I'm the Manasi behind Majaama. I created this website on a whim and fell in love with it. It's my baby, my preciousssss.
Manasi

11 Responses to “Visitor Statistics for a Personal Blog”

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  1. Lotho Sackville-Baggins says:

    I’ll take one ‘cute Malayali babies photo’, now.

    To go, please…

  2. Sree Harsha says:

    I Loled at the OS statistics.

    “How Majaama changed the power struggle between crappy software companies” :D

  3. debajyoti says:

    after the disastrous performance of my current post, i decided to read a blogger who probably doesn’t even know the color of my blog (whereas, i should be frantically reading those now who commented on my post [as per blogging rules]). absolutely love your blog and that’s why i go through your blog archive whenever i have the time. i am going to write about my favorite humor bloggers in my next post.

    don’t bother about google analytics (it doesn’t make any sense) or SEO. i hate organic traffic. you wouldn’t even know who is reading you and why.

  4. Millard says:

    Pretty nice post. I juset stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that Ihave really enjoyed browsing your blog posts.
    In any case I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you
    write again soon!

  5. Assaf Koss says:

    Ha! I had about 100 unique views per month on average (total ~1200), for my first year, which is generally very similar to your experience. :-D I’ve seen some other blogs mention similar numbers. The social-internet is well reflected by statistical analysis!

    I should look around, seeing that this post is from 2012, and find updates. See if it still matches my blog’s progress, or lack of. heh

    http://www.AssafKoss.com

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