Scent of a Gamer

From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.

Blog stats and decisions

I’ve already spoken about the overall performance of this blog in 2019. However stats are little more than wallpaper unless you use them to inform your own decisions.

After taking a deeper dive into the stats, I made a few decisions about how the blog will change – and some of those changes have already been made. I wanted to share my though process here.

First principles

When I’m making decisions about the blog, I try to start with the reason why I started this blog. I wanted an online place to track and share my miniatures painting projects, but a space I could control more than a series of forum posts would allow.

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

This decision was justified early on when a forum I used to post my projects on regularly died in a fire due to hackers.

Fast forward a few years the blog has done a great job of increasing my painting productivity. The real value though has been the connections I have made with other bloggers doing the same as me. This is what I want to do more of.

Decision: Post more on other blogs, showcase blogs on Scent of a Gamer, seek out new blogs, and participate in monthly challenges and the like wherever possible.

Result: I’ve already started doing mid-week posts, many of which are reblogs of other hobby bloggers. Hopefully this is already working to increase their audience too. Participation in Fembruary 2020 is an example of something I want to do more of.

We are all our own salesforce

I took a closer look at where hits were coming from last year:

Search engines were once again the single most important source of incoming views. Whether that turns into regular reader I can’t tell. This is a hobby for me, and so ‘promotion’ is very low on my list of priorities, however, this list drove a couple of changes.

Decision: delete Facebook, promote other blogs. This may seen strange given Facebook’s position on the list above. I started an experiment in January 2019 – for the entire year I posted on the Scent of a Gamer Facebook page every day, and responded to every comment made. The result was one additional like for the Facebook page, and not that many more views from Facebook compared with Pinterest and YouTube, sites where I had made zero efforts in terms of promotion. Facebook can go, it’s not worth the effort.

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

Result: In place of the Facebook I used the ‘posts’ I like widget, which displays the last 10 WordPress posts I have clicked the like button on. Clicks out of Scent of a Gamer have already shifted to show people clicking something in that list they think looks interesting. That’s a plus in my book.

More of what’s popular; less of what isn’t

It’s undeniable that the single most popular series of articles last year (and ever) was my walkthrough series of the Bard’s Tale trilogy remaster.

In many ways this shouldn’t be surprising as these are the articles most likely to be useful to others, and most likely to be searched for online – remember how search engines were the major inward source of views? It’s often people searching for solutions to these games.

Decision: More walkthroughs in 2020, but only for classic games I have enjoyed in the past. This will keep the content genuine, based around me replaying old games I like.

Result: Nothing yet, since I haven’t posted or written any new walkthroughs as yet. I am currently playing the Wasteland remaster, and there will be a walkthrough coming in due course.

Decision: a different approach to art articles. In the past articles on fantasy art and especially Magic: the Gathering art, have been popular. For 2020 I have decided to write fewer of these articles, but go into more depth on each one.

Result: I have posted artist articles on John Avon and Greg Staples, both of which have been popular (plus I enjoyed writing them!).

Making the old new again

2020 will be the eighth year of Scent of a Gamer, and I have a back catalogue of over 1,000 articles. Some of these would benefit from their own remaster, or simply being highlighted again.

Decision: make better use of old blog content

Result: Nothing yet. I haven’t decided how best to re-use my older content. I like how fellow blogger The Imperfect Modeller does his Memory Mondays to showcase some of his own older work. Perhaps I should do something similar, like… Once Upon a Wednesday, or something.

the first painted miniatures posted to the blog

Pattern matching

When I first started this blog, I made sure the phrase ‘updated each week-end’ appeared on the front page. It’s still there now, and over the past 7 years, come what may, I have added at least one post each week-end.

I’ve used a self-imposed maximum of 4 posts per week-end, since I don’t want to overwhelm any readers with a deluge.

What this has meant though is that I’ve not posted outside of that week-end commitment.

Decision: Use mid-week posts for anything extra as a result of other decisions

Result: Adding mid-week posts has allowed me space to reblog, and also to respond to emerging new or interesting events without waiting for the next week-end slot.

A navigator, not a driver

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Overall, WordPress stats are useful to guide or inform decisions, but I would never let them drive the blog’s direction.

Stats can show where other people’s interest is, but blogging is personal and ultimately you have to follow your own path.

20 comments on “Blog stats and decisions

  1. theimperfectmodeller
    March 7, 2020

    I like the idea of Once Upon a Wednesday. Your blog has been going much longer than mine. The reality I guess is that some of your followers weren’t there at the start and some are probably no longer really following now. In addition you attract new viewers who will probably look at what you post currently and if they stick with you will go forward not back. Those are the conclussions I reached so by putting older posts out I thought I would attract new interest and so far that has proved correct. Some nice comments, a few questions and generally a great reaction. My stats don’t hit your dizzy heights but Memory Monday is quick and easy and in my opinion worthwhile.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. John@justneedsvarnish
    March 7, 2020

    An interesting read, Dave, and good to see you have an action plan! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • davekay
      March 7, 2020

      I have a few things for this year planned out to September, which has not been the norm before!

      Like

  3. Bookstooge
    March 7, 2020

    Way to leverage the limited data WP gives us.

    I have found that interaction is the best way for growth on my blog. So I’ve actually pulled back on the number of people I follow, as I’ve reached a placed where I am comfortable, with the number of followers, number of posts, etc. Of course, search engine hits only get me about 10% of my traffic and I’m not on other platforms. So for me, it’s all about interacting with those who follow me and those I follow. Which is ironic since I’m a confirmed introvert and people hater 😉

    Where did you find the widget for “recently liked posts”? I’ve seen it on others blogs as well but have never seen anyone talk about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • davekay
      March 7, 2020

      The widget was in the default list I had to choose from in my wp dashboard, it might be there for you too (I think the options change based on the template your blog is based on)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pete S/ SP
    March 10, 2020

    Interesting post… should consider your approach for my blog.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • davekay
      March 10, 2020

      Thanks Pete, I think they key is to think about what the stats are telling you as well as what you want from your blog, and work out some actions from there

      Like

  5. backtothehammer
    March 18, 2020

    I’ve also been in a bit of a quandary about the blog recently so it’s interesting to read your thoughts about yours. Mine is whether to move over to blogspot and if so, to what extent. I love the community here and seeing the diverse offerings put up but it seems the google site is where the majority of Fantasy players seem to congregate. It may be that I move some activity over there to try it out. As it goes I’m more proficient in posting on insta and a dedicated 8th ed. forum nowadays. Decisions, decisions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • davekay
      March 18, 2020

      I must admit I like WordPress far more than blogger as the Reader function makes it easier to find other bloggers and for readers to find you. I know I miss out on some interesting blogs but without decent options to follow them it becomes hard

      Liked by 1 person

      • backtothehammer
        March 18, 2020

        Good to know on the reader. I might start one up just to try out the functionality

        Liked by 1 person

      • davekay
        March 19, 2020

        Sounds like a good idea. You know, I held off writing this article for almost a month because I felt it was self-indulgent and wouldn’t interest anyone. Instead it has had one of the strongest responses of any article I’ve written!

        Liked by 1 person

      • backtothehammer
        March 19, 2020

        Lol isn’t that always the way

        Liked by 1 person

  6. goldblockcareer
    March 26, 2020

    This is great, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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  9. tangibleday
    September 1, 2020

    Interesting reflection on your blog! I’m a fairly new blogger myself and love seeing how other bloggers in the hobby see this written medium. I’d love to show off your work on my site, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • davekay
      September 1, 2020

      Thanks for the kind words, also feel free to Reblog any time you like!

      Liked by 1 person

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