I’ve been blogging for just over 2 years now; my first posts were on December 26, 2006. Like many bloggers, I definitely had a slow start: only 44 views in all of January 2007. Now I’m averaging over five times that every day. My numbers aren’t nearly as impressive as someone like Stephen Downes, but I’m not doing this to set records. I’m still quite pleased with the growth I saw in 2008 over my first year of blogging.
Views and Subscribers
Take a look at these comparisons:
- Total number of views for the year
- 2007: 16799
- 2008: 61062
- That’s 3.6 time more views in 2008
- Average daily views
- 2007: 46
- 2008: 121
- Highest daily average in a month
- 2007: 91, in August
- 2008: 223, in September
It’s hard to do a comparison of feed statistics. WordPress quit providing statistics in June of 2007, instead recommending people switch to Feedburner. I’m approaching 300 subscribers on Feedburner now, plus another 200+ on my main WordPress feed. If I could consolidate my subscribers, I’d have over 500. My subscriber numbers have grown a little faster than my views; they don’t seem to dip the same way my views have a couple of times, as you can see in the chart above.
My growth hasn’t been steady, but 2008 was steadier than 2007. Some of the bumps are from external links. June 2007 is when I posted my series on Instructional Design Careers, which generated a link from Don Clark and a lot of great discussion. April 2008 is when I liveblogged the TCC 2008 conference. Stephen Downes linked to me then, and I posted more times in that month than any other month (42 total posts). Since then, I’ve been mostly gaining momentum.
The recent large dip you see in the chart is August 2008, when I only wrote one non-bookmark post. It’s possible there was a problem with tracking that month too, since the numbers seem out of line with the trend. I expect that December dipped because of a combination of less posting and the holidays. The last data point on this chart is January, and since we’re only a few days into the month it’s still pretty low.
My 2008 top posts by views:
- One Keyboard and Mouse, Two Computers (4,893)
- Instructional Design Skills (4,516)
- What does an instructional designer do? (4,306)
- Technology Skills for Instructional Designers (2,890)
- Telecommute Instructional Design Jobs (2,500)
- Getting Into Instructional Design (2,453)
- Is Instructional Design the Right Career? (2,315)
- Professional Organizations and Career Opportunities (1,569)
- New Features in Captivate 3 (1,567)
After that are the pages for Instructional Design Careers and About Me, and the views drop off significantly.
The top post on that list gets a lot of search engine traffic, but no comments. I don’t expect that gets me many long-term readers either. Other than that and the new Captivate features, everything in the top rank by number of views is about instructional design careers. Only 2 of those top 9 posts were written in 2008 (#1 & #5); maybe the more established posts actually have more links to them and therefore rank better in the search engines?
Top Search Engine Terms
These are the top searches which brought people to my blog:
- instructional designer (584)
- instructional design jobs (276)
- instructional design skills (186)
- instructional design career (167)
- cyber bullying quotes (167)
- what is an instructional designer (163)
- one keyboard two computers (163)
- christy tucker (142)
- instructional designer skills (118 )
- two computers one keyboard (110)
Many similar phrases turn up too, plus a few interesting ones like “dirty comments,” “ubiquitous learning,” and “birthday reflections.”
Google Reader and the Google custom home page are the top two referrers to my blog. Pageflakes and the WordPress dashboard also rank highly.
Here’s the top blog posts that send traffic to me. Cammy Bean gets the prize for being on this list twice:
- The Value of Instructional Designers by Cammy Bean
- Getting Started with Instructional Design by Manish Mohan
- Predictions for Learning in 2008 on the Learning Circuits Blog
- Getting Started in Instructional Design by Cammy Bean
- Clive on Learning (Clive Shepherd’s blog–referrals come from his home page, not a specific post)
What do the patterns tell me?
- Lots of people are interested in learning about instructional design as a career. My posts on getting into the field and the skills created an initial bump in traffic and are still getting traffic and comments 18 months later.
- When I post more regularly, I get more traffic–mostly. Sometimes my traffic still grows even when I don’t write as much as long as what I write is interesting. But, there’s a general correlation between number of posts and views.
- External links are critical to building traffic, especially early on. Maybe I should be doing more to link to new bloggers myself to pass that traffic along.
- Search engine traffic is getting to be a bigger driver of traffic for me. I’m not particularly doing anything to optimize my blog for search engines, so I think just writing good content is enough for the kind of traffic I’m getting.