The end of 2016 is finally here, and I know that many of us will be happy to see it go. I thought I’d share some positive stats from this year, as well as the ten most-viewed posts for my Science in Sci-fi, Fact in Fantasy blog series.
Author Website Stats
I wrote 55 blog posts this year, which is slightly fewer than 2015 but still about one a week on average. I took off the month of November, which was one reason for the reduced productivity. And The Rogue Retrieval came out this year, which took a lot of my time away.
At 208,000 page views, I’m still a drop in the bucket compared to John Scalzi’s 5.2 million page views, but up about 1% over last year. There were three visible traffic peaks; the latter two coinciding with #SFFpit events in June and December.
The earliest peak, in February, coincided with the post Bipolar Disorder: What Writers Should Know, by Jon Peeples. I posted it to the /r/writing subreddit, where it received 185 upvotes and 34 comments. The article had over 1,500 views over the course of three days, making it one of my most popular for the year.
All told, my website had 121,000 unique visitors. According to Google Analytics, here are some demographics of the audience:
- 66.2% of visitors were female. That’s right, the women outnumber the men two to one. I think this reflects the fact that most of my audience are writers and readers, which also skew female.
- 63.8% were under age 35. In other words, the majority were younger than me. That’s a little depressing.
- Top countries were the USA (64%), the United Kingdom (7%), Canada (6%), Australia (4%), and Germany (2%)
- Top cities — New York, London, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Sydney — largely reflect population size.
- There were almost as many mobile users as desktop users (44% versus 47%), with tablet users a distant third (9%).
My main takeaway from this is that I should pay more attention to my site’s appearance on mobile devices, since that’s what nearly half of visitors are using.
Where Visitors Came From
These statistics can be a little dodgy, since many users’ privacy settings prevent Google from seeing where they came from. Notably, my top referrer was Pinterest, which brought 31% of visitors. I attribute this to two principal factors:
- All of my posts have a Pinterest-friendly header image that naturally draws traffic. I make virtually all of these myself with Photoshop, which takes a bit of time but has paid off.
- I was an early Pinterest adopter, so I have a decent number of followers (3.7k). My Writing & Authorship board has around a thousand followers.
The other major sources of traffic were Google Search (25%) and direct referral (22%, a mixed bag of visits via RSS feeds, author blogs, forums, websites, etc.). Twitter is a distant fourth, at about 5% of my referrals. Facebook was less than 2%. I rarely do much on FB outside of a few private groups, so I’m not surprised by that.
Top Ten Science in Sci-fi Posts
Here are the most popular posts in my Science in Sci-fi, Fact in Fantasy blog series by number of pageviews.
- 10 Things Writers Don’t Know About The Woods by yours truly (32,970 views). This went viral on Pinterest and Tumblr. A lot of writers have found it useful.
- On Dothraki and House Elves: Developing Fantasy Cultures by sociologist Hannah Emery (13,203 views), a guide to creating realistic world cultures.
- A Quick And Dirty Guide To Feudal Nobility, by Jerry Quinn (11,367 views), which walks you through the ranks and behaviors of the blue bloods.
- Medieval versus Modern Archery, by Dan Koboldt (10,195 views). In which I compare traditional and longbows to the modern marvel that I use for bowhunting.
- How to Write Convincing Death Scenes, by science reporter Bianca Nogrady (8,322 views). Apparently we writers have a morbid fascination.
- Bipolar Disorder: What Writers Should Know, by psychiatrist Jon Peeples (5,336 views). It really is a wonderful article. Redditors agree!
- Horse Misconceptions in Fantasy Writing, by horse trainer Karlie Hart (5,005 views). Most views come from people searching for “how to describe horses”
- Designing Realistic Magic Academies, by sociologist Hannah Emery (3,994 views). Everything you need to create your own Hogwarts.
- Realistic Fighting Abilities in Fiction, by martial artist Eric Primm (3,905 views). A practical guide from someone who teaches martial arts.
- Mental Illness In Fiction: Getting It Right, by psychiatric N.P. Kathleen S. Allen (3,864 views). Lots of great tips for accurate portrayal of mental illness.
I notice at least a couple of possible trends here. First, I should ask Hannah Emery to come back and do another post, because her articles are super popular. Second, two of my top ten articles are related to the portrayal of mental illness in fiction, which is clearly an important topic in this day and age. I’ll reach out to those contributors as well.
Wishing You A Happy 2017
Have a wonderful new year, friends. May you always find water and shade.
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