I started keeping track of the stats on this blog in earnest back in late 2010. Back then, I was getting about 30-40 page views per day and as the year came to an end, I decided to see if I could get that number up to 100 page views per day by the end of 2011. That turned out to be easier than I thought. By April of 2011, I was seeing 100 page views/day and by the end of 2011, I was seeing 300 page views per day. For all of 2011, according to Google Analytics, I had about 80,000 page views. I was pleased, but came away worried that I wouldn’t be able to top it in 2012.
I needn’t have worried. In April 2012, I began my weekly Going Paperless posts and things kind of took off from there. I ended 2012 with more than 4 times the page views of 2011, about 347,000 of them! This was very close to an unheard of 1,000 page views per day. Of course, I thought, things would level out in 2013.
Well, the growth slowed, but did not stop. Last year, 2013, I had a total of about 840,000 page views, more than double what I had in 2012, and which amounts to about 2,300 page views per day. It seems that I had managed to produce content that a fair number of people liked and returned to consistently. I felt pretty good about this and one side-effect was that I became less obsessed with my blog stats.
But I didn’t forget them entirely. Yesterday, I took a look at the numbers for the first quarter of 2014 to see how they compared to 2013. So far, between January 1 and March 30, I’ve had 357,000 page views. That amounts to roughly 4,000 page views per day almost double 2013. You can see the difference in this chart:
The blue line are the day-to-day page views for 2014. The orange line represents the page views for the same period last year. The plot is fairly spiky, and those spikes represent the days on which a new Going Paperless post comes out. (The big orange spike in early March of last year was when I was featured on Lifehacker’s “Ask an Expert” series.)
I don’t know if these numbers will hold steady for the rest of the year or not. They seem to be sinking slightly the last few weeks, but that happens sometimes. If the numbers do hold steady, I’ll come in at around 1.4 million page views for 2014. Of course, who knows. The blog audience has grown from year-to-year and it looks like that is continuing, but I imagine there is a point at which it will plateau.
All of the numbers listed above are based on data collected by Google Analytics. It does not count readers who read the blog solely via an RSS feed. I have some Feedburner numbers for this, but I take them with a grain of salt. According to Feeburner, I’ve had an additional 135,000 page views in 2014 from people who read the posts via RSS. If those numbers are right, then that bring the total page view fro Q1 to just under half a million page views.
Page views, of course, count the number of times a page is loaded. Google Analytics also counts visitors, and so far as I can tell, my unique visitors for Q1 of 2014 is also up from the same period last year:
Right now, it looks like my unique visitors hovers between 1,800 – 2,000 per day, which means that on average, each visitor looks at roughly 2 pages per day. I’d say that’s a fairly healthy audience, and I’m grateful for every last one of them.
Occasionally, I’m asked what I did to make my blog a success. I’ve answered this question before, but I’ll reiterate a few things here.
- Provide good content. Over the years, the scope of what I write about here has narrowed, but that lets me focus on doing my best to write well about a few things that really interest me.
- Do #1 consistently. Although I used to obsess about missing a day of blogging, I allow it to happen now and then. But more often than not, I am posting every day, and sometimes, more than once a day. I’ve written almost 5,600 posts on this blog. Quality-wise, they aren’t all consistent, but I try to make sure that new content is continually appearing. And I think the quality has gotten better over the years.
- Keep at it. As I mentioned at the start of this post, it was way back in late 2010 when I decided I wanted to try to increase my audience. Looking back on it, my goal seems modest, going from 30 page views/day to 100 page views/day, but when you think about it, that’s more than tripling what I had. It took me four years of posting nearly every day to get to where I am today.
- Understand that your best marketing is word-of-mouth from your readers. I have wonderful readers, and I find that more often than not, new readers come to the blog because other readers have told them about it. I do telegraph new posts to various social media outlets, but I think the true growth comes from people who like what they read telling others about it.
Any questions about the blog stats here? Let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.