Tuesday, May 31, 2016

State of the Blog 2016: 200K and counting

Beaky -- the new official unofficial mascot of Raging Owlbear
So 2016 has been a bit of a hard year for the blog. It'll be June tomorrow and I will have only posted 16 articles for the entire year so far... Life can sometimes be demanding in ways that kill my ability (or sometimes desire) to post frequently...

And yet, my page views are as high as ever.

I can't entirely explain this phenomena, except to say that, of the articles I have posted this year, a couple have been very well received and reshared (a good page view driver over the long term), a couple have been controversial (a good page view driver, but only over the short term) and a couple have spiked for reasons that just can't be explained other than "the interwebs are weird". I also have been lucky in that there are a few older articles that consistently drive decent numbers every day due to D&D related web searches, and I think that may be the one key thing that keeps my blog relevant.

One of the most (peculiarly) successful articles from 2016 is Hey, Did You Know D&D 5th Edition Is Free?

This article went crazy in terms of views (for my little corner of the web, that is) which is weird for two reasons:

1) The article wasn't "news" in that the PDFs had been out there for months so it wasn't like it was a current hot topic.
2) Some people found it "controversial" that I actually suggested using the SRD as a free resource for playing D&D which, to my mind, is crazy talk. I mean, the SRD is there... Why not use it to get more people into the game? (or bring back grognards?)  Sorry... I won't rehash that topic here. Go read the post comments.  ;)

For whatever the reason, that post had a small viral spike among RPG related groups and it has done over 10,000 views over the last few months.

The other one that has done quite well is the Encumbrance Made Easy post, which I knew would do pretty well given that it was a fun new (sort of) way to handle a rule that's a pain in the butt. People love that stuff. I know I do when I see these kinds of things on other blogs.

Other posts have done reasonably well given their occasionally esoteric nature (i.e. - My Little Pony), and would likely have driven more page views had I actually been working on and promoting the blog more actively.

In April, I quietly crossed the 200,000 page view mark just prior to the blog's two year anniversary. That was a nice little perk and I almost missed it completely because I haven't been as active. Compared to some bloggers, it's not much at all, but I felt good about the milestone. Thanks to my readers!

In case you are curious about the actual numbers, what the heck: 

13.6 K
17.5 K
10.5 K
8.6 K
7.5 K

As you can see, the numbers took a nose dive when I ignored the blog.

Final Thoughts

If you want a reasonably popular blog, you really need to post once per week at the minimum. However, even moderately successful numbers can be had if you have good evergreen content. Quality reviews do well, as do house rules or monster conversions. GM and Player Advice generally performs well, but you should try to touch upon topics other people generally don't cover in order to get maximum exposure.

Does the blog make any money? F@#% no, but I have picked up a few DriveThruRPG PDFs on credit and sometimes you get lucky enough to get a free miniature.

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