So I like taking nice big kalend-y events as a chance to look back on what I’m doing and why. Mostly that’s the monthly blog review. It used to be WordPress also gave us a cute little animated representation of the year, showing each post made as fireworks, and somehow representing how popular posts were by how dazzling the firework was. That’s been gone for years. I don’t know why or whether it’ll ever come back. So I’ll do my own little version instead.
So, wow. 2018 was my biggest year by far around here. I don’t think it was entirely from Roy Kassinger discovering my writing and putting up comments on stuff from, like, five years ago that I’d forgotten existed. For the sake of putting things up in a format I can more easily lose later here’s exact numbers about how much I posted, and what kind of response it all drew:
|Year||Posts Published||Page Views||Unique Visitors||Likes||Comments|
So that’s all an exciting-looking trend in growth, if we take for granted that growing is a good thing. Well, who doesn’t, if they’re trying to do something for a mass audience? The thing I can’t understand is the stuff I think of as measuring how engaged readers are. The number of likes offered, the number of comments offered. Both are below the 2015 high point. The number of likes in 2018 were about half those of 2015. The number of comments in 2018 was close to 2015’s total. But considering the growth in page views, and unique visitors, that’s a relative decline. 2015 was juiced, though: that was the year Apartment 3-G finally collapsed. I got many readers in looking to understand what was happening in it. And I got a huge burst, all at once, when Joe Blevins — who I thought was a friend from the MST3K fanfic community — mentioned me on the AV Club, giving my blog a name without actually mentioning me.
I can tell you what was popular in 2018. Five of the ten most popular things were even published in 2018. But what people really like to find is my recaps of story strips. That’s fair enough. Every day there’s people discovering that, say, Alley Oop still exists, and wanting to be caught up. And some of the story strips have well-established and easy-to-find snarking communities. But if we’re not talking about Mary Worth or Mark Trail, then where should people go? Here’s where they did go, last year:
- What The Heck Happened To Nancy and Why Does It Look Weird?
- Comic Strip Piranha Club Ending; Nancy Possibly Ending; Bizarro Shifting Bizarreness Source
- What’s Going On In Gasoline Alley? And What Happened To Jim Scancarelli?
- What’s Going On With Judge Parker?
- I Don’t Know What’s Going On In Apartment 3-G Anymore
- Is Ray Davies A Normal Person?
- What’s Going On In The Amazing Spider-Man?
- What’s Going On In Judge Parker? Is Something Happening In Apartment 3-G Suddenly? March – June 2018
- What’s Going On With Rex Morgan, M.D.?
- S J Perelman: Insert Flap ‘A’ And Throw Away
So, I’ve learned how to write headlines that look like questions people might ask. That has to help readers figure out Nancy‘s deal. The S J Perelman thing is from a habit of mine that’s almost fallen by the wayside, where I’d post something from the public domain. I used to think this was a good way to show off some of what’s shaped my comic sensibilities and save me the effort of thinking up and writing something. It turns out that selecting a good piece and curating it, so as to make the case that something is worth reading, is at least as hard as being original.
I’m glad that Is Ray Davies A Normal Person? made the top ten. I originally imagined this blog as a way to write one long-form, roughly 700-word piece, once a week, with everything else as little stuff to support the weekly essay. That’s drifted, so now the blog is basically stuff propping up my story-comic recaps. But the weekly essay is still the part closest to my heart. And most of my essays I come away feeling dissatisfied with: that I’m carrying out a good idea poorly, or that I’m making the best of a weak idea. The Ray Davies one was an exception. That felt like a good idea carried out well. So I’m glad that people seem to agree. Or they’re trying to learn about Ray Davies’s health and I’m getting in the way. Whichever. It all works.
There were 144 countries of the world sending me readers in all 2018. 29 of them were single-reader countries. 20 countries sent me more than 100 page views. And for I’m guessing the first time there were three countries sending me more than a thousand page views. That feels good. Here’s the whole roster:
|Hong Kong SAR China||110|
|Trinidad & Tobago||20|
|United Arab Emirates||19|
|Bosnia & Herzegovina||4|
|Isle of Man||1|
|Papua New Guinea||1|
|St. Kitts & Nevis||1|
|St. Vincent & Grenadines||1|
So this helps me focus my energies this coming year on being a bit more interesting to readers in Sint Maarten. I don’t know how to do this, but will make a halfhearted attempt a little too late to do anybody any good. It’s important to have a plan.
The Insights page reports that I published 233,338 words over the course of 2018. Don’t think I’m not burned up that I didn’t publish five fewer, or 99,995 more. That comes to an average of 639 words per post. So, yes, when I started this out I figured I’d do one, roughly 700-word, essay once a week and then some quick little jokes in-between. Except for 2016, though, my average post length has been growing year after year. So I’m doomed, yes. But the challenging part is I need to embrace the doom.