On January 11th, 2021, the Games:Tech:Blog has counted its 25,000th visitor since the publication of the first article in March 2015. This is not really an impressive number, but since blogging is no more than a hobby of mine this is nonetheless very satisfying. Now it is time for a quick resumé and to discuss some insights and statistics.
Let’s start with the raw numbers. Since the launch of the blog I have published 22 articles, eleven of which were written both in English and German. That’s between three and four articles a year – significantly less than I had aimed for in the beginning. The reason is, of course, that a reasonably well researched post requires several hours for writing. If you have only a couple of hours a week for your hobbies, it’s clear that this is as far as you can get.
In average, I had a little more than 12 visitors and about 16 page impressions each day. That means that each visitor viewed about 1.3 pages. Bear in mind that I removed all visitors from these statistics who viewed more than 20 pages. Those are very likely search engine crawlers and thus not what I am interested in.
Naturally, the number of visitors changes and evolves with time. The number of published articles and their visibility in search engines (aka Google) increases the number of visitors. At present, the average number of people browsing my blog is 16 per day. In March 2015 I started with 69 visitors – per month.
The surge in visitor numbers at the end of 2019 will always stay a mystery to me. From October on already the numbers went up. The peak was reached in January 2020 with 2380 visitors. But especially in this time period I had kind of a creative break and was publishing very few articles. What’s more, no single post shows a more prominent rise in page views than the rest. So I assume this is just going to stay a secret of Google’s algorithm.
Most popular articles
As you can see in the following ranking of the most viewed articles, my readers have a distinct preference for a certain topic:
The contributions to my blog can be separated into two areas, game development and board games. Quite obviously, the first is the one which most people are interested in. It seems that especially in multiplayer games development a lot of questions pop up regularly. Some of those are hopefully answered by the first three articles in the list above.
It is, of course, quite remarkable that there is such a big difference in views between the first article and the following ones. Unity programmers seem to regularly stumble over the problem described there. The interesting thing here is that this is the only post I know of which has an external link that I did not place myself. This link can be found in the Unity forums in the answer to a question about this topic. This may also be an indication for how valuable external links can be.
Do multiple languages make sense?
The Games:Tech:Blog is in principle bilingual, English and German. Before I knew how much time and effort blogging actually requires, my goal was to translate all my articles in order to reach more potential readers. However, I soon realized that this would not be feasible, since translating a more extensive article may require a couple of hours, too. Nevertheless, I kept up the bilinguality so far. But now, if I want to publish a post quickly, I usually write it in German. If I want to take my time the post will be in English. The consequence was that articles about board games are usually in German, while the category game development mainly contains English articles.
Unfortunately, this strategy has a couple of drawbacks. The figures on page access naturally show that English articles are read far more often than the ones in German. The article about my WebSocket relay server, for example, has four times more views in English than in German. This ratio is less pronounced for less popular articles, but maybe this is just an indication that there is a certain base number of web crawlers which do not care about languages.
Additionally, the separation into two languages with missing translations has the disadvantage that on the start page, you get the impression that the blog is only half as active as it actually is. To remedy this, I translated only the introduction of some of the articles and added a forward link to the English version at the end.
Anyway, my recommendation is that you should consider carefully if you can handle the additional effort for translations before offering a multilingual page.
Blogging for its own Purpose – Feedback
There are three reasons why I started blogging. Firstly, I am a statistics fan and was curious how my blog would evolve and what impact certain actions would have. Experimenting with this, connecting cause and effect (or philosophizing about it), is fun. Secondly, I do not only like to play games, I also implement video games in my free time, like my experimental game Coopong For Kids. A blog with some reach can be the first building block for free advertising. And thirdly, I like writing, the more so if I can publish what I have written. The most rewarding about this is, of course, getting some positive feedback.
So, what about positive feedback? Well, to be honest, you should not expect too much. My figures regarding reader’s feedback is roughly as follows:
- Three companies have inquired whether I would publish a sponsored article written by them.
- About once a month a spam comment with questionable content is posted below one of my articles.
- One reader has written me an email with a question about our Civilization house rules.
This is not really much feedback, but at least enough to know that the Games:Tech:Blog has a few attentive readers out there. So not everyone of my 25,000 visitors was a web crawler or a lawyer specialized on dissuasion, who just browses through imprints, data protection and legal notice pages (which add up to 2,000 visits after all).
With this I will stick to the advice of so many web experts and will ask you a question: how many of my articles have you actually read and which one did you find the most interesting? Leave me a comment so that I can get a feeling for who actually reads my blog!