With almost five months of blogging behind me, a few observations. (This is probably only of interest to diehard readers, close friends, or other bloggers.)
I continue to make a lot more posts than I thought I would, but: I’m a fast writer, I have a lot to say (for better or for worse!), I continue to post here many things that I would have posted on Facebook and commented at length there about, I have a lot of interests that don’t make a good fit for my column, etc.
May was by far the busiest month for Savannah Unplugged (still not sold on that name, but there you have it), with an average of 340 page views per day as we enter the final week. But the median daily page views is closer to 190 I think. That’s because of spikes in hits related to two topics: Westboro Baptist Church (which I wrote about in a grand total of four posts in May — less than 10% of the month’s posts, although that was far too much for some readers) and the appearance of Cold War Kids at SCAD’s New Alumni Concert in Forsyth Park on June 3rd. Just yesterday, I found out that The Dirty Guv’nahs would be the opener for that show. Lesson: people are looking routinely for hyperlocal, up-to-date information about goings-on like those.
I keep playing around with some of the layout elements. I don’t make much ad revenue from those Google ads, but after I experimented with more columns on the home page back in April, that small amount of ad revenue plummeted. So I’m back to more or less the same basic layout that I started the blog with back in January. Humorously, since I have Adsense set up to run the ads, I got a card in the mail from Google with a voucher for $100 worth of Adwords, no strings attached and no further commitment. So, even though I don’t sell anything, I’ve got an “advertising campaign” going for the blog, which so far has resulted in over 20,000 impressions and 33 clicks. Here are the keywords that have resulted in two or more clicks: “savannah ga”, “savannah history”, “flannery oconnor”, “telfair”, and “census georgia”.
As of this morning, I’ve also added the feedburner capability to the list of links/recommended sites, so you can see the titles of the most recent posts on those blogs and other sites. Over five months, pretty much no one has clicked on those links in the sidebar, which is too bad. Calculated Risk and a couple of other economics sites are part of my internet routine — those interested in sober, serious economic discussions might want to check them out. I hope the additional info in the sidebar will help get people to dig more deeply into some issues. For Georgia politics and breaking news, I often check Jim Galloway’s Political Insider blog at the AJC and Peach Pundit, so they are both included there as well.
I have also added recently a WordPress plug-in (very easy to install, set up, and manage) that lists automatically generated related posts (some more related than others) at the end of each post. That’s a feature I appreciate sometimes on other blogs, and it’s one way to address my very high “bounce rate”, which on most days runs 75-80%. In other words, the vast majority of readers pop in and look at one post that they have found via Facebook or, increasingly, via an internet search — and then they leave without going to any other page on the blog. That’s fine if people are getting the information they’re looking for, but I just want to make sure I’ve got all the bases covered without things getting too cluttered. And let me be upfront about something else: while there is plenty of variation day to day, ad revenue is directly proportional to page views.
Re: search engines. Back in January, I got almost no traffic from search engines — obviously the newness and the smaller amount of content were major factors. Now about 30% of the traffic seems to come from search engines.
While there have been 98 sources and mediums of referral in May so far, three dominate: Facebook (36%), search engines (29%), and direct hits, probably in most cases by previous visitors (22%).
Anyway, if any regular readers have thoughts or ideas on what they’d like to see more of here, let me know. I’m still, by the way, hoping eventually to get some guest posts by others and maybe even a handful of regular contributors.