Monday, October 26, 2009

Blog Visitors

I've previously mentioned the recent redesign of this blog. Through that process, I also spent some time looking at visitor metrics and usage. I did this first out of curiosity, to see what visitors to this blog were looking at and what they weren't. Beyond that, I also wanted to double back to the original goals of the blog and guage if the site was serving its intended purpose.

Roughly stated, I conceived and maintain this blog for the following reasons:
  • to comment about books and movies, for my friends and anyone interested
  • to provide general commentary, for my friends and anyone interested 
  • to stay connected better with my friends
  • to write and generate content
  • self-expression and indulgence
Looking at the analytics from the last two years, I was struck by a few prominent leading indicators:

Most of the visitors (81%) to this site come from search engines

No big surprise here. I suspect this is the same with most blogs that have been on their feet for more than a few months.

Visitors aren't interested at all in posts about books or authors

This one surprised me a bit. No so much that there's less interest in books compared to other blog topics, but that visitors regularly access my other (non-book) posts, but almost never continue their site visit by checking out a book post.

Given that the majority of my posts have historically been about books, it was revealing to see only one book post score in my top ten of all-time most viewed posts.
Further, the lone book post seemed to attract visitors -- based on the referring keywords -- from searchers looking for information about the upcoming film adaptation of the text.

While of course many people are interested in books and authors, it appears that a lot of this traffic directs through Amazon and similar portal sites that for a long time now have featured reader reviews embedded with book listings.

Some of my posts score high on Google and bring in lots of visitors

This makes sense when you think through how Google is setup, but I found it pretty odd how some random, hastily authored posts brought the bulk of the visitors to the blog.

My ability to retain visitors is weak

This blog isn't a commercial venture, and I make no effort to guide visitors down some path for conversion. Still, it's clear that many first-time visitors hit my blog looking for specific information (e.g., about the HP Photosmart C4380), read what I wrote about the topic, and then leave and never come back.

Conclusions

I'm still assessing this data and am mulling making some further changes to this blog and what I post about.

While the blog is a success in some respects in that it allows me to connect with friends and express myself, the relative lack of visitor interaction dampens my ongoing motivation for continuing in the same fashion.

I'm unsure about the way forward. I might stop posting book reviews, or maybe I'll continue as I have.

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