Thursday, January 1, 2015

State of the Owlbear Blog 2014

It's been a good year. I started blogging back in May and my readership has really taken off thanks largely to a fantastic Google+ RPG community and a few key mentions by sites like ENworld (thanks +Russ Morrissey).

To take a page from +Charles Akins (, I'm going to post my stats from Raging Owlbear and relate some things I appear to have done right and wrong.

Sometime during December 30th, I crossed 50,000 pageviews for the 8 months the blog was active. I'm not a huge fish in the rpg blog pond, but I think I've done pretty well for my freshman year.

Some general trends I observed:

1) Articles on industry news tended to do well. My opinion pieces about about D&D Basic and Codename: Morningstar announcements did fairly well even in the early days before I had many followers. I don't intend to be a rpg "news" blog, but it helps to keep on top of what was going on to stay relevant to the audience, given the high interest in D&D 5th Edition.

2) Critique articles did well. I was fortunate that there was plenty of new product coming from Wizards to review and discuss.

3) When I post, it's better to promote the articles in phases to different G+ communities over the course of several days as opposed to spamming all the role-playing groups at once. People who may have missed the posts on one day might spot them on a different day. This also makes the blog turn views consistently rather than in spikes.

4) Regular posting is critical. Even if I can't post more than once a week, I need to post at least once each week, if not twice, to help keep readership growing.

September got very busy for me and the blog numbers took a dive. Though I posted 4 articles, one of them wasn't until the last day of the month, so did not contribute much to the totals. October went really well as I posted some very well received articles and had 2 things to promote each week on social media. I wasn't able to keep up the posting schedule in November, but the quality of the primer articles really helped keep the readership high.

5) I prefer long-form articles. Many bloggers will post very short 2 to 3 paragraph posts in order to post more often. My articles are a bit more magazine-like in scope. This often takes more effort on my part, and there is a danger that the "wall of text" effect may lose some readers. I may need to adjust my style to better fit my free time.

6) I don't make much in the way of advertising, but I did make about $25 this year in Amazon referrals (mostly from friends and family), which was enough to buy me a gaming accessory. This is not something that you do to make money.  ;)

Top 10 Owlbear Articles

Nothing too surprising about the above, except for the #1 entry. It was a post that was a quick observation on the numbers, not an in-depth analysis, but it set off a bit of a tiff in the ENworld forums... mostly because I used the word "efficacy" instead of "progression" in an off-the-cuff sentence (I thought the context was more than obvious). I don't even consider that post one of my best (quite the contrary), but I guess I'm glad it gave a good amount of attention to my blog. I rather do like #2 article, but I am disappointed that it's follow up post didn't make this list (it was close, but not quite). I guess a lot of people like Bards, too.

Thanks to all of my readers for an excellent freshman year. I hope I will continue to find the time to keep the articles informative and entertaining, and perhaps I will make enough from Amazon in 2015 to buy an entire board game!   ;)

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