With help from Dean Baquet and Clay Shirky, I set an all-time traffic record on my blog this month.
Posts relating to Twitter use by Baquet and his Times colleagues contributed more than 10,000 of the more than 40,000 views on the blog this month. My curation of Clay Shirky’s “tweet rant” about people who see new digital platforms as “the next Facebook” contributed another 3,000-plus. Together the topics contributed nearly one-third of my traffic for the month.
Leading the way was Baquet’s guest post questioning whether I and others were creating a “new priesthood” with “new rules for entry,” regarding who is a journalist.
It was an overstatement at best and an inaccurate metaphor. But it drew a lot of interest: more than 6,700 views in the month, including nearly 4,900 the first day, when I set a single-day record for views on the blog.
My initial post, saying that Baquet and other editors who attempt to lead their staffs in innovation undercut their efforts when they aren’t even active on Twitter, also got a good ride (though not even half the views of the response), with 2,800 views. Two other posts relating to the matter combined for another 1,000+ views:
- Dean Baquet may just lurk on Twitter, but he’s clickbait on my blog
- A NY Times editor: “Having the top editor active on Twitter is important’
Baquet’s guest post and my curations of tweets by Shirky and Lexi Mainland of the Times totaled more than 10,000 views. Perhaps I need to just post other people’s writing to the blog.
The October traffic exceeded the record I set in February, when I had 36,179 posts. And I passed the record by Oct. 28, so the longer month didn’t play a role in setting the record, just in pushing the total past 40,000, which I topped last night. I should end today a little over 41K.
Though the Baquet guest post was the giant of the month (if anything on a blog this small is a giant), I had two other days over 2,000 views and 16 more days of 1,000 or more.
Other observations about the month’s traffic:
- This was the fourth straight month with more than 3,000 views for my 2013 post about Twitter’s refusal to allow reasonable ways around its stupid limit of 2,000 accounts most people can follow. It can’t be good for a company when thousands of people are looking for solutions to your bad decisions. But Twitter doesn’t care.
- Archives still drive lots of traffic for the blog. A post on attribution, one on accuracy and two posts on the 5 W’s combined for more than 4,000 posts. Another 25 posts from previous months topped 100 views. Social media is important in attracting attention to fresh content on my blog. But archives and search keep people coming back when the content is not fresh but is timely to someone.
- My Oct. 6 post saluting Matt DeRienzo’s leadership for Digital First Media topped 500 views. Other posts that got a few hundred views told about next semester’s class on interactive storytelling tools, different ways of viewing the size of Twitter’s user base and Planet Princeton’s effective engagement.
- With 18 posts in the month (this makes 19 and it’s the first one this week), this wasn’t nearly my busiest month (on this blog, at least). I had 30 posts in January and 37 in October 2012 and set personal traffic records in both of those months. Both months got boosts from guest posts and October 2012 also got help from reposting some old posts from my old Training Tracks blog.
- I also set a record for unique visitors, more than 28,000, breaking the record of 23,508 that I set in September.
I also set personal records for traffic and unique visitors on my much smaller blog, Hated Yankees. Though the Yankees, the usual topic of that blog, haven’t done anything in October, my second-favorite team, the Kansas City Royals, had a pretty good month, and I turned my attention to the Royals last month.
The month started with a guest post from my youngest son, Tom, a diehard Royals fan from when we lived there in his childhood. He shared his thoughts and emotions about the Royals’ incredible come-from-behind playoff victory over the Oakland A’s. That was the third most-read post of the month, with 122 views.
Hated Yankees had never topped 1,000 views in a month before, and it topped 2,600 views in October. My post on keeping my 29-year-old promise to take my oldest son, Mike, to a game in the Royals’ next World Series got more than 700 views and gave me the single-day traffic record on that blog, 510 views. And my post about going to this year’s Game Two got more than 100 views.
Part of this month’s big Hated Yankees’ traffic, though, was a 2010 post debunking the myth that strategy is more difficult in the National League. Somehow that has become the No. 1 Google result for “strategy National League.” Maybe the World Series prompts some searches relating to strategy and the designated-hitter rule. Anyway, a post that never topped 100 views in a month got over 600 views in October. Maybe someone linked to the post (though I didn’t get a pingback). At any rate, that post became the most-read Hated Yankees post, passing a 2009 post about Graig Nettles.
I don’t know what November will bring, but I presume this will be one of the least-read posts of the month. My post about September’s traffic topped out at 79. But I try to practice transparency and I think you should study what’s working and what’s not, so I post this bit of navel-gazing now and then. I’ll probably update the numbers on the weekend, after the month is over.