Monday, August 12, 2013

1000 Posts

For my 1000th post I thought you might find it interesting to see some statistics.  I've never used anything but blogger itself, so the data I have is pretty crude, but here, after a bit over four years of OSR blogging, are my stats :

Traffic Sources
First, I have no idea what the difference is between the two categories "Referring URLs" and "Referring Sites."  Is one coming from a blogroll and one from a link in a post?  No clue.  With my many image posts and silhouettes I get a lot of general Google traffic.  From within our community I get the most from Jeff's Gameblog and D&D with Pornstars.  Underdark Gazette changed names to Dreams of Mythic Fantasy.  Eternal Keep was a blog aggregator that seems to have gone dark.  The Nowhere Collective link is a list of random tables and has a couple entries from my blog.

I used to get a lot of traffic from the Lamentations of the Flame Princess blog, but Mr. Raggi did a blogroll cleanup a while back and I was one of the blogs he removed.  I was never linked at Grognardia.  And finally, there is starting to be more and more traffic, the majority outside of Google actually, from . . . me.  I'm guessing that means people following links from my index.

As for the Search Keywords, not too much exciting there.  The many searches for my name could be an argument for having a unique name, or it could just be me checking my blog for comments from my friends and family's houses.  Turner's Cubes are a practice work for machinists that I did a casual post about.   It shows up again as one of my most viewed posts and I suppose shows that something mildly interesting to our community might be fantastically more interesting to some other community.

# Of Pageviews
Pageviews all time history = 488,448
Top Ten: 

This section is almost worthless to me.  The all time most page views are from old posts that get a lot of hits from outside of our community or at least a steady amount of hit for a long time.  Monthly traffic is more meaningful as a measure of what my audience inside the community finds interesting, but blogger doesn't archive that (as far as I know).

So, for example, #2 is a picture that gets tons of hits around Valentine's Day, and #5 shot up in the ranking I think only because it has the word "hobbit" in it right around when the Hobbit movie came out (that was not intended).

Another reason that these are less interesting to me is because my most popular stuff is not things I made.  The slave angel is a picture from Deviant Art, #3 is a picture of a braided tree that I did not take, etc.  I suppose there is a case to be made for curating content, that folks would find value in seeing links through the lens of my expertise and personality, but those links took little effort and were just something I thought were fairly interesting at the time.

I would be more interested in knowing what people within the gaming community, especially the OSR and DIYers think of my ideas and resources I've made.  The next two categories get a lot closer to that I think.

# Of +1s
  1. My OSR
  2. 83
  3. Fear What You See
  4. 20
  5. Misc VII 
  6. 17
  7. Map Insets
  8. 14
  9. Achievement-Based Level Progression
  10. 13
  11. Trackless Wastes
  12. 11
  13. Vancian Spell Ideas
  14. 11
  15. A PocketMod Portfolio
  16. 10
  17. Complex Monsters II
  18. 9
  19. PlayerHUD
  20. 9
This category is more recent.  If I remember correctly G+ was open to the public in the Fall of 2011.  Before that there was some way for people in Google Reader to "like" a post (like or +1?).  And if you subscribed to your own feed you could see those (that reminds me, before it was killed, Reader showed ~537 people following my blog's feed.  I don't know what people are using now or how I would know).  But for Blogger, +1s are relatively new.

It feels good that the top entry is what it is because it was something I put a lot of time into, concerns the community directly, and that I feel strongly about.  Maybe it's also an example of a blog at its best, meaning a kind of essay incorporating personal history with a viewpoint. 

#2 is curation again so it is hard not to feel a little cheaty about it.  I'm probably most proud of 6, 7 and 9 as examples of me contributing ideas to the community that you turned out liking.  If I were to criticize my own blog it would be for the way I tend to just throw out ideas, ideas I haven't tried, ideas that I won't return to.  But it's hard to separate that from posts that function as drafts, that help me progress my ideas.  #8 is an example of something impractical that I don't use, but that I posted about before Jensan made Telemonster, which I do use all the time.  It was one of several posts that helped lead to Telemonster and so were important for that.

#3 is an example of why +1s as a gauge of audience are problematic.  That post has four ideas in it and I have no idea which people were reacting to or why.  For that reason, comments might be the best indicator of what you think of what I write.

# Of Comments
Total number of comments = 4901
Top Ten: 
  1. Rules That Make You Go Huh?
  2. 33
  3. West Coast Bloggers
  4. 31
  5. Procedural Lockpicking
  6. 25
  7. The Problem with Psionics
  8. 23
  9. Easy D&D Village Maps
  10. 22
  11. My OSR
  12. 22
  13. Fairy Tale Spell Names
  14. 20
  15. Slaves?
  16. 20
  17. Medieval America, Punters, and the D&D Endgame
  18. 20
  19. Creepy Combat Commentary
  20. 19
It takes more effort to post a comment than to press the +1 button, so you could say it means more when people leave a comment.  But people usually only leave comments when they have something more to say than "I like it."  As a blog that posts a lot of images, I probably see fewer comments than I might otherwise because what else can you say about an image you like.  Also, I try to respond to every comment, so you can subtract a lot of these comments as they are not reactions to my post but me.

So what do people have things to say about?  The top entry is a post allowing people to rant about rules they don't like.  #2 is just people saying they are on the West cost of North America and took no creativity on my part. There is a subset of posts that involve community creativity where you ask folks to contribute an idea or table entry (7,10 and several that didn't make the top 10).  Sometimes people get excited about them, sometimes not.  I feel less responsible for those as well, it seems another kind of curating.  #8 and 9 are examples of contentious issues that get people talking.  I think forums are traditionally the venue for these kinds of discussions.  If a person has a lot to say, rather than comment they might go back to their own blog to respond, which can fragment the conversation but also spread it.

Being timely with a post can lead to more comments.  #3 came when people seemed to be interested in talking about the subject.  In fact my post was a response to another and it in turn generated its own responses.  Taking part in those kind conversations is what I love most about this blog and the community.  It is also the hardest to track and record.  Often folks have made response posts that I found only much later.  Even if it's a blog you read, if you get busy with work you might miss someone's response.  And if you stumble upon a cool old post you might miss out on much of the atmosphere and context it was developed in.

As an example of a post on the identical subject of #3 that happened outside of a big community conversation, my post Procedural Lockpicking Revisited only has 188 pageviews and 1 comment.

One other thing that I can say about conversations is that they are the primary fertilizer of new ideas for me, not my own mental capacities.  #10 is an example of a popular table of mine.  It has been linked several times and adapted into a booklet, but if you go back and look, it sprung from someone else's comment to a previous post.  I did not have some Eureka moment in the bathtub.  I saw what someone said that was interesting and then tried to push its implications, develop it into a whole chart.

Well, that's it.  If you have questions feel free to ask, but this is most of what I know about my blog's statistics.  I intend to keep on trucking but have no control over how many other folks are still interested in conversing about Adventure Gaming, D&D, and DIY.  Here's to another 1000 posts.


  1. Do you get much traffic from shady sources? I've been getting a (relatively) large number of hits from a website that is nothing but a video about dieting, a "website value appraisal service", and a site that is just an ad for a book on blogging.

    1. I occasionally get trackbacks from such sites. I think their deal is that they link to random blogs, hoping to receive an automated link back.

  2. >>I have no idea what the difference is between the two categories "Referring URLs" and "Referring Sites."<<

    The first could potentially be multiple pages with links to your blog *from the same site*, the second is just the sites regardless of how many different pages of that site might have links to your blog. This would be easier to recognize earlier on -- at this point the small numbers have all dropped out of your top ten in each category, so it just looks like two similar but different lists...

  3. @M. Diaz: Unfortunately, yeah. I still don't know how it helps them any to have a fake link to me. I thought they needed links pointing to *them* to move up in the SEO ranks.

    @bygrinstow: Thanks. It's complicated by blogrolls because basically every page at D&D with Porn Stars has a link to me. It would mean much more if it were an actual mention in a post Zak had written than just the link in the sidebar, but I don't think Blogger can distinguish that.

    @Tim: Thanks, fellow post-1000 blogger :)

  4. Congratulations on 1000 posts! That's a huge milestone. Here's to 1000 more!

  5. congratulations!

    there's a lot of interesting stuff to be found on you blog. keep up the good work! :)