June’s traffic underscored a blogging lesson I learned a long time ago: You need to produce fresh content to keep people coming back.
Through the first 20 days of the month, I was on pace to approach or pass my all-time record of more than 31,000 views, set in April. I wrote only two more posts the rest of the month and didn’t quite reach 25,000 views. It was my fourth-best month ever, on the strength of the 15 posts I wrote in the first 19 days of the month.
At least that’s the way it looks according to my monthly stats from WordPress. However, something has happened to significantly boost the syndicated views on my blog. I don’t know whether I’ve had a huge boost in RSS syndication or if WordPress has done something to boost syndicated readership (I’ve checked in WordPress forums and haven’t seen an explanation). In a quirk of WordPress stats, figures for individual stories show syndicated views, but total monthly stats include only on-site views.
For instance, my best-read May post, about copy editing, has had 5,623 total views: 5,163 on-site and 460 by syndication. This was a fairly typical pattern for most of the time I’ve had this blog: several times’ more on-site views than syndicated views, with most of the syndicated views coming in the first four days and the first day’s syndicated views being the largest total. Which makes sense, with people reading my posts in their RSS readers soon after I post.
But the pattern changed in June. My post about Bill Keller’s ignorance about Facebook has had 787 views on-site, but 1,895 syndicated views. And the syndicated views have topped their first day’s total on three other days, including today, 19 days after I posted.
And that post isn’t an aberration: My post about engagement on the vagina controversy in Michigan has had 506 views on-site and 1,652 syndicated views, again with an uptick today. My post on career lessons from Daniel Victor’s swift ascent to the New York Times (the month’s most-viewed post) had slightly more syndicated views (1,919) than on-site views (1,724). In fact, the only leading post that didn’t have move syndicated views (703) than on-site views (2,828) was my keynote speech to the Pennsylvania Press Conference, which I posted Sunday, June 3. I suspect something changed after that, but I don’t know what.
If you know about any changes in syndication or WordPress stats, let me know. WordPress doesn’t tell me how many people have subscribed to the RSS feed, so I can’t check whether that number soared for some reason in June.
If this increase in syndicated views is real, I probably set a record on the blog this month. Since I don’t understand what’s going on with my stats, I won’t try to analyze them further.