End of Month Traffic Report November 2014

Traffic November 2014November for many is a busy time! It can also be an expensive one. I took my final 5 days of annual leave during the 24th – 28th, enjoying some time up in London with my girlfriend and just generally making the best use of 5 days (with some lazy mornings thrown in). November overall has been a light offering from Blog Prefect with only 2 posts published. This is below my standard minimum of 4 per month and the lowest output so far for the Blog. I haven’t seen the crash of traffic that I might normally see however, and the time I put into each post has paid out much better than on previous months, quality has definitely out-trumped quantity this time out.

A Shout Out

Thanks once again to Andrew Warner of Shadeofinfo.com for your epic content and interest.

Thanks to Saikat Hazra of socialnetworkingking.com for your comment!

Thanks to Brian Ciampa of brianciampa.com and @brianciampa for your social sharing this month!

If you’d like to feature in the shout out and be tagged with this monthly article make sure to contribute. It helps me help you!

Post listing

OctPosts14

This was the month of 2 posts, shock, horror! The slow down had come about for many reasons but had been particularly sparked by a need to work smarter on what I am pushing out. I have been grateful to receive another subscriber to my mailing list and move on with providing value and good quality content. The EOMTR is the basic stable of blog prefect’s monthly remit so is provided as standard. The other post was created in response to Andrew Warner’s article from shadeofinfo.com. I had more drafts in the works but none were in a place where I was happy to release them.

The Dashboard

Dashboard Nov14 vs Oct14
Despite being quite a weedy month in terms of a reduction in overall content, this month has performed better than last month with 4 fewer posts in most of the key areas. So if that is anything to go by, quantity isn’t always king. Post performers as a factor, is in a particularly happy place. It is not the highest value for the year but is a good improvement on where the number has floated.

Bounce rate has crept right back up into the red zone again and yet continues to be conflicting with the following Alexa stats.

 

Alexa Stats

AlexaRankNov14

The tumble has continued owing to the low post rate at the moment. I would like to halt this decline before I poke back over the 1M mark as I had made a good stab into the numbers this year.

Some more positive information is provided by this element of the Alexa Rank:

AlexaRankSENov14

This is a good number so I am happy with this progress. 🙂

End of Month Traffic Report November 2014 – Core Statistics

EoMTR GAF

ATOS – Average Time on Site, GAF – Provided by Google Analytics

8 minutes 9 seconds or 489 seconds, inverse 28.68%

Up another fair shake on the last two months. Excellent 🙂

Bounce Rate – Actual Traffic data, not filtered – Provided by Google Analytics

83.33% inverse 4.16%

In the danger zone once again above my happy safety valve level of 80% for GA figures. I will have to monitor this level. As always Alexa indicates a much different figure than the one presented by Google.

Page Views – Provided by GAF and WordPress stats

WordPress:  967 inverse 455.75%

GAF: 67 inverse 4.69%

WordPress stats have gone nuts this month, I’ll go into this in a bit more detail in my summary. GAF was up by a small degree which is a good indicator that visitors were slightly more engaged this month than last.

Visits (Now known as sessions) – Provided by GAF and WordPress Stats

WordPress: 368 inverse 178.79%

GAF: 22 adverse -15.38%

A very small dip on the GAF front this month but when numbers are this small it is quite noticeable in percentage drop. WordPress stats are loco and I’ll go into more detail about those shortly.

Visits per Visitor

2.63 but……… …..there was some odd goings on this month.

Referrals – Provided by WordPress

NovemberREF2014

There has been a predominant success with Google Search and it is nice to see other Search engines represented. Twitter is the surprise because it is starting to get close to Google+ numbers with much fewer followers. I have spending more time attending to Twitter over the last couple of months and this is noticeable within the climbing numbers of referrals.

So What!

Firstly the somewhat anomalous WordPress blip

I noticed a large blip between the 7th – 17th November with a large upswing in visitors and views on WordPress. The numbers were much larger than they have been in months and on 1 day I received more views than I have in my best performing month. These views however were relatively low quality and didn’t even register on Google Analytics.

Nov14PuneEffect

I would love a true increase of that sort of scale but it was clearly anomalous data triggered by some sort of crawl on my site. I noticed tons of my posts getting checked out at fairly regular intervals indicating an automated activity. This activity was clearly something WordPress could not filter out. Fortunately I had some data along this line to compare from a previous paid advertising campaign I trialed at the start of the year and they seemed similar in behaviour. The peaks occurred on the 15th, 16th and 17th and after that point the data returned to normal.

November wasn’t a tough month despite a production of only two posts. I have been consolidating some of my activities, trying to get ahead on my final module of my university degree and trying to smarten up my approach. I’ve also been actively writing an eBook so have been busy. I have also become more aware that I need to forge allies, link things up and drive some reciprocity in order to start climbing the rungs of blogging godhood.

For next month

December is one month where I performed badly last year (2013). I tried quite hard to build up steam but it came more to fruition in January. With that in mind I might decide to be a bit more tactical over the December period and am opting to down tools between the Christmas week and build up to New Years. I expect to be working in the background and hope to have my eBook ready for show in the New Year. I am looking forward to a very happy and productive 2015!

Onwards and upwards peoples!!!

Related articles:

End of Month Traffic Report October 2014

Traffic October 2014

October, October, October. When you reach this month, you know the march to the end of the year is on. This month was a tough one for me, not through a lack of motivation but because I had a cruise ship of work to do. My post offerings (as shown in the post listing) were sparser but as a group performed better than last month. I took a dip in traffic which leaves me at the exact same number I attracted last year but I’ll go on to mention that in the dashboard section.

A Shout Out

I introduced this section last month and see no reason not to continue 🙂 Of course, there is going to be a point where I can’t thank everyone but at the present time I can 🙂

A thank you to Andrew Spence of AndrewSpenceOnline.com for being the first to comment this month.

Thanks also to Andrew Warner of Shadeofinfo.com for your continued warm words through the month.

A warm thanks to Mi Muba of Beamoneyblogger.com for your comments this month! Thank you sir!

Double thanks to Noel Worli from India7.org & Lovequotes.net.in for your 2 comments this month, much appreciated!

Finally thanks to Steven Wilson from Highpoweredseo.com for your comment this month.

If you’d like to feature in the shout out and be tagged with this monthly article make sure to contribute. It helps me help you!

Post listing

TraffOct14Posts

This month I only put out 6 posts which is quite a low count. I had a rough start to the month due to an exam which required complete concentration on revision. I had no reserve posts that I could run with at the time and very little spare time so overall my output suffered. However, I have often found that quantity does not equate to whether the audience actually like what you are jammering about and often it is better to focus in on popular topics. Needless to say that I had a bogie post this month but at least it got one view, I had no total eclipses.

The Dashboard

Dashboard Oct14 vs Sep14Stats are really mixed on this level. On my meaningful side all has gone rather well, on the other uncontrollable side it has all gone the shape of the pear. That’s why I have opted with the no significant change because whilst I have seen a flash of green, I’ve seen a splash of red too and in areas where my growth is questionable.

 

Alexa Stats

AlexaOct14

It is starting to tumble because my post rate has begun to drop. I had been expecting this to happen so am not surprised by this jump up.

End of Month Traffic Report September 2014 – Core Statistics

EoMTR GAF

ATOS – Average Time on Site, GAF – Provided by Google Analytics

6 minutes 20 seconds or 380 seconds, inverse 106.75%

More than double of last months numbers.

Bounce Rate – Actual Traffic data, not filtered – Provided by Google Analytics

79.17% adverse 2.12%

This is a happier picture, below the menacing 80% and down once again on last month.

Page Views – Provided by GAF and WordPress stats

WordPress: 174 adverse -19.07%

GAF: 64 adverse -8.57%

Down on last month more considerably in the WordPress stakes than the GA stakes.

Visits (Now known as sessions) – Provided by GAF and WordPress Stats

WordPress: 132 adverse -23.26%

GAF: 24 adverse -15.38%

Another drop in overall statistics. Oh the calamity!

Visits per Visitor

1.32 or just a smidge below 1 and a third.

 

Referrals – Provided by WordPress

OctoberREF2014

Well it seems my streak of purple is no more and unfortunately the number has dipped under the wire this month. An interesting spread of referrals however. Some of the websites you’ll find in the Shout Out section above.

So What!

It has not been great but it has not been awful either, if compared to some of my truly dire months, October looks healthy. My only disappointment is that overall it is a slump on what has been a pretty awesome couple of months where my highest monthly totals have appeared. I’ve lost my period of referral purples but my 2013 data does indicate that there is a seasonal effect in play with my kind of content and that it tends to pick up in momentum in January. Also, December is a great time to write those big hitters. I had great success at the start of this year with 2 very substantial posts that were released in January. I am trying to improve the overall draw of this site to make it more like what I can image the audience wanting rather than what I enjoy showing the audience.

 

Related articles:

How to prevent blog post fails before you publish in 6 steps

During my regathering month, I’ve been taking some time out to look at other people’s blogs as part of trying to understand how I want my blog to work better. Andrew Warner from Shadeofinfo.com (like a number of people that I like to keep up with) is rather gifted at inspirational ideas and I believe the recent article he published should stand up as what people class as a “Pillar”.

As part of analysing this, I wanted to cover humility in my own reflection because I believe that is an important leverage point that all bloggers can play on with their audience. I also point out the pitfalls of over playing that strategy.

How to Prevent Blog Post Fails before you publish in 6 steps.

How to Prevent Blog Post Fails before you publish in 6 steps

Image Source: Commons circa 1911

As a note this is a follow up to Shadeofinfo.com’s

“Why The Blame Game Won’t Magically Make These Mistakes Disappear”

Andrew put together a great analysis of the ability for you to fail before you’ve even published. Like Remmington, I liked this article so much, I almost bought the company so thought it was worth re-iterating Andrew’s key points.

Just before I settle into my stride with this article I wanted to touch on a point of debate, Andrew, hold that thought!

Humility

Humility is something that we all take in different levels.

My level of humility is different to yours.

True Humility

A classic quote from C.S. Lewis who wrote the Lion, the witch and the the wardrobe.

Image source someecards.com by dancingdaisies

There is a large camp of people who consider admitting mistakes to be a cardinal sin. There are those who go beyond that point and have a blinkered denial of their failings, carrying on as they started, oblivious to the damage they are doing to their property along the way.

There is another camp who can take their mistakes, share the process of replication, and teach others how to learn from those mistakes.

Everybody, whether they fall into either camp, will actively search for those who try to help. This is why search engines exist, because often you know that at least one person in the world knows the answer to your question. Whether we announce that we are in search of help or whether we sneak behind our shortfalls, we go in search of help, the only alternative is to give up.

  • People go in search of help!
  • Those who don’t prescribe to ever voicing their wrong doing are much less likely to leave comments of thanks for people giving out free help.
  • There is no harm in admitting you are wrong (occasionally).
  • You harm yourself if you admit you are doing wrong too often.

Denying that you make mistakes is okay to a point. It will get you so far. If you deny mistakes frequently and ignore the warnings of others eventually you will run into hot water. There is no harm in admitting you are wrong. It does not damage your position. You aren’t a president on the stand losing approval points, those who show a bit of humanity and weakness are far more widely accepted than those who are “whiter than white” (in a metaphorical sense).

I’ve even seen Pat Flynn issue an apology to the members of Niche Site Duel due to the lack of his interaction within the forum this year. Even the big boys (and girls) admit their mistakes.

But what about admitting mistakes?

There is another debate that you shouldn’t play on your mistakes too often because it exposes you to the wrong kind of scrutiny.

If you always appear to be airing mistakes this doesn’t always translate as a winning formula.

Those who view your continuous mistakes will start to doubt those articles you write because you actively challenge your own authority. You should use your own mistakes sparingly preventing them being turned into ammunition against you.

A troll with ammunition is like a room full of monkeys with guns as this picture below indicates:

Monkeys with guns

They sure do!

There was a blogger that I followed for a number of months, this individual often played on his mistakes, started many new things and failed with 95% of them. It is true to say that in order to become more successful you have to increase your failure rate but you don’t have to tell everyone about it.

The thing was… …this guy was successful, had an enviable number of followers, and earned a large monthly sum (still does!).

So what’s the point?

Psychologically this mistake-sharing-blogger ended up turning me off their blog even though they were successful, even though I had learnt a fair bit from them.

What I’m saying is that mistakes themselves have a limit to audience appeal.

It gets to a point where you start damaging your credibility with the audience.

“Hey, isn’t it that guy/gal who is always failing? Screw that!”

You never want to become the word-cancer that people want to remove from their RSS feed, unsubscribe from, and summarily disavow all knowledge of. You want to be that dependable guy/gal, who on the rarest of occasions, shares a failure that your audience can learn to avoid.

Self-Deprecation

This is actually something that most of my countrymen and countrywomen are famous for being that I am from England.

Self-deprecation is the act of belittling, undervaluing, or disparaging oneself. – The free dictionary

This blows in the face of an article I recently wrote about Tooting your own horn as a blogger.

  • You should pacify negativity by fixing the problem.
  • You should be discrete in your apologies.
  • You should not draw attention to stupid mistakes unless you have a worthy solution to prevent them happening again.

 

Back to Mr Warner.

Fortunately for Andrew Warner, he is providing some good key thoughts on how you should avoid this principle mistake. It is a mistake that you want to minimize.

Now before I let Andrew speak, have a think about the following:

If you consider how much time you might pour into a post and if you were to think of your hourly rate for producing that work, seeing it fail out of the gate effectively burns that money.

To put that into a visual context:

headboy hourly rate

headboy hourly rate circa 2014

In my current job I make roughly £10.30 net per hour or in US$16.48 (and yes, I am aware I’m below the national average) so for every post that fails I am effectively losing that much per hour spent.

Flopping from the Start

Being Headboy at Blogprefect, I cannot deny that I have written some articles that just plain flopped from the start. A lot of the time I’ve been experimenting so for me, that failure hasn’t harmed me in a detrimental way. Often I have rebelled at trend based titling because it steers me away from writing about what I want to write about.

For those articles that have their genuine merit and stand up to the test of time, there has been sweet sweet love but for those where I got a bit creative, a bit off the beaten track and didn’t look to capitalise on the true content, I have had to swallow the bitter pill of failure and choke down the unpleasant after taste of fail sauce.

It would be disappointing for any blogger to have nil response, nil pois.

Nil Pois

The dreaded number for any Eurovision song contest entrant. The UK has been there many times.

I have expended many great hours on content. It is only those posts that I have put the most amount of effort into, or have found to resonate greatest with the audience, that have risen to the top.

Andrew’s Checklist according to Andrew, the 6 steps

This conjures me to create a check list based on Andrew’s key points because they resonate with me:

  1. Engaging Images and complimentary ones (Because images are simply more appealing than text alone will ever be, we humans are wired to process images ahead of text, that will never change)
  2. Headline is boss (so spend longer on it because people don’t have long to think about the best payoff even if the content is epic)
  3. Include internal and/or external links (Google sayeth links are important, thou shalt put thine links in thine post, shan’t thou?!)
  4. Engage your reader (don’t be boring, be the Fonz of blogging, make it a conversation, exactamundo!)
  5. Proofread your post (proofing doesn’t extend purely to spelling and grammar. It also has to do with readability. If you can’t read back your article happily, then how is somebody else going to comfortably read it? Posts have to be digestible, in some ways easy to scan, classic long paragraphs of yesteryear should remain there.)
  6. Don’t repeat your mistakes (as in learn from your previous ones and follow the checklist before publishing)

That is a simple list which Andrew goes into much more detail about so I recommend that you have a look at the article. The link will open in a new window.

For Best Results, Don’t Ever Make These Mistakes Before You Publish Your Post

 

In Conclusion

In my personal summary I would advise bloggers to generate their own checklist and to include the 6 steps above as core steps.

I would go on to add that when thinking about your publishing process, you shouldn’t think about what you’ve published as the final step. There is a serious process of publicity that goes on after you’ve launched your article into the universe. There is no magic that would make your article appear on page 1 of the Google organic traffic searches on the day of its launch. Blogging is not always a linear process, traffic flows can be sporadic and unpredictable. An article is not dead until you stop referencing it!

Spam comment censor dilemma solutions

Ladies and gentlemen, if you are sitting comfortably, I am proud to present a rather unusual topic for a Thursday which requires a bit of history before you understand the dilemma.

Facts about Blogprefect.com:

  • It is a WordPress Blog
  • It has a Simple Captcha plugin employed to prevent spam commentators (you will see this if you go to make a comment as it will ask some form of mathematical question)
  • It uses Akismet, another plugin, to actively remove spam comments before they even make it for moderation

Occasionally through bad spelling and grammar some of what Akismet classifies as spam is actually not spam. Also through unusual “hair-brained” linking schemes, Akismet throws a fit and tosses out some comments.

Thus I have to vet spam. I do so on a bi-weekly basis because I believe comments are gold dust.

99% of Akismet’s slam dunks are entirely justified. Thumbs up all the way!

But…

Occasionally I get a comment that does make me pause.

Now, before I move on, I strongly urge that this isn’t a character assassination, nor do I see it as a good practice to try to divert negative comment by making someone out to be a laughing-stock. Negative comment can sometimes teach you a lot. There are some reasons, however, why I will not approve this comment and why Akismet was right. I have omitted the contact details of this individual so that as a collective you don’t go and beat this individual up. The only reason I have left in the URL is to display reasons why this comment appears bogus.

 

Pittsburgh electric company

Figure 1, the unapproved comment.

So on the basis that this is indeed spam, there is a lot of evidence that points to this being the case.

WTF tally:

  1. “Pittsburgh electric company”
  2. “spamvilla.com”
  3. The unusual use of a non standard “h” character on the second line.
  4. The unusual use of a non standard “d” and “h” character on the fourth line along with”you” being spelled incorrectly.
  5. The unusual use of a non standard “b” character on the fifth line.
  6. The unusual use of a non standard “h”, “k” and “o” character, and the incorrect spelling of “see”, “they” and “headlines” on the sixth line.
  7. The unusual use of a non standard “o” on the seventh line.
  8. The unusual use of a non standard “w”, the incorrect spelling of “pic”, the unnecessary use of “‘ve” after everything, and the wrong grammatical use of “too” on the eighth line.
  9. The unusual use of a non standard “a”, an unrecognised character for “o”, and the incorrect spelling of “blog” on the ninth line.

First of all, who the hell calls themselves the Pittsburgh electric company? That’s just weird.

Secondly, Spamvilla.com, who on Earth would be fool enough to take out a domain name like that and seriously try to run a business?

Then we have the unusual non used ASCII characters that replace normal ASCII characters in the comment. This almost makes me believe that this has somehow been translated from Cyrillic and if I were to reveal the name of the commentator this would make even more sense.

So the primary analysis proves that this is spam.

The second test is normally the acid test.

Something that WordPress have introduced fairly recently is the ability to preview the links attached with the URLs from commentators. All you have to do is hover. This eliminates you having to go to the website.

commenturlpreview

In this case spamvilla does appear to be a real site rather than something hastily pasted from a Google search. The site however is dodgy. Dodgy with a capital Damn that’s dodgy.

The biggest qualifier of this is the “Bots” element in one of the menu buttons.

All of the “supposed” testimonials are broken at the bottom of the page with no images of people. The contact us page has a poorly written tag line and the assigned contact is a guy called “Kelvin the Champ”. Yes, “Kelvin the Champ”. Okay so maybe I’m just being harsh seeing as I refer to myself as the Headboy. I might as well have titled myself the master and commander. Champ is a bit close to chimp in my book.

Vilification and stern looks to the side, why did I pause?

I paused because the comment had some truth to it. Blog Post Comments: A by the numbers rant was a rather pants title.

Spam comment censor dilemma solutions

You may have a ton of super heroes in your content but it still doesn’t matter if your headline is pants!

Image Source: Flickr courtesy of AngrylambieNo superheros were injured during the taking of this picture

 

The truth is, with a bit of research I could have found a better title for this article. I had bought an expensive marketing tool that still remains fairly unused, which is capable of keyword research, and which many people trying to sell through affiliation, swear blind over.

The suggestions aren’t that bad on reflection. Videos are always good. I generally see a much warmer response when a post contains a video of one form or another, regardless of what platform it is housed on (YouTube, Vimeo, etcetera).

Some of the content doesn’t suit pics as well as you might think. To be a good article it should stand up without images. Images just add a bit extra. Whilst I have waxed lyrical that images are kick ass, you shouldn’t rely on that.

The mention of Yahoo is a fair one. Yahoo invested a lot of time in understanding the psychology behind how people react to certain headlines. Yahoo are one of the big remaining portals that still pump out plenty of epic content. A lot of prolific bloggers swear blind by one particular Yahoo style guide that has sold umpteen copies. But I have to say that is also a bit of a cookie cutter observation.

I humbly admit that there are a number of posts with poor headlines that fail to convert passers-by to readers. For every blog post I write where I get a minimal take up on day one, is another waste of effort.

What next?

delete permanently

Bin that comment but… take on board the critique and try to improve the end product. Avoid making the same mistakes again.