Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's annual performance review time - how did Blogger-HAT do in 2011?

This article is an review of Blogger Hint and Tips's performance in 2011, and includes a some statistics, and plans for 2012.

2011, the year in review 

Most jobs have an annual performance review.   Done well, this is a chance to look back at what you've acheived, what worked and what didn't, what you have learned, what you need to learn, and what you want to achieve next year.

So it makes sense for a blog to have an annual review too.   Here's mine.

Thanks to BloggerSentral, whose 2011 Statistics post inspired me to write this.

The numbers

The tools don't tell me what the subscriber numbers were in 2010, but at the end of December 2011, Blogger-HAT had


The number of visits per month per month:

Conclusion: traffic grew pretty steadily through the year:

Top traffic sources:

Google / organic (ie search results)7935157% / referral (ie Help Forum)4109229%
Google.XXX (search from various countries own Google sites)30962% / referral8271%
Feedburner / feed7181%
Search / organic3970%
Google translation2800%
Facebook.com1540% / referral1000%
Ask / organic870%
Aol / organic760%
Feedburner / email670% / referral580%
Yahoo / organic (ie search results)580%
  • This blog is very dependent on Google, and gets almost no "Binhoo" traffic (ie from other search engines) - I'd be worried, except that it's reasonable that most Blogger users will use Google to search.
  • Almost third traffic comes from questions I answer on Blogger-help-form:  this is worth doing.
  • BHAT is starting to get links from a range of other sites: this is probably something to work on.

The most popular posts were no surprise - you can see them in the widget on the sidebar.

The bounce-rate is quite high, though (between 55 and 70%) - and it's been increasing steadily.   This is probably something to work on, it may be related to the number of articles that need updating for the Sept-2011 interface change.

Screen resolution
People keep saying that this matters, and that we need to design for smaller screens.   And personally I've been using a Netbook a lot recently, because it's just so portable.    But it doesn't look like Blogger-HAT visitors are working like that:

Screen Width (px)% of total visits
Less than 320 wide0.33%
300 - 767 wide0.76%
768 - 1023 wide1.56%
1024 - 1151 wide15.62%
1152 - 1278 wide1.86%
1280 + wide79.88%
Grand Total100.00%

Mobile may be "hot" - but small screen aren't being used when people want information about how to use Blogger.   Personally, I'm picking that most of my 80% of visitors using wide screens do have small screen devices - they just use them for different things.


The big success of the year was a re-write over every single post:  during 2011, every post in Blogger-HAT was reviewed:  the format was standardised, and the contents reviewed.   For many articles, this meant a complete re-write, or splitting one post into 3 or 4 smaller topics. This process started in late April, and finally finished on 31 December with a total re-write of Combining a forwarding-address and mail2Post, so you know who posted what.

This is also the year when I started to take social media seriously:  Blogger-HAT's activity there is still small (I'd rather focus time on researching new content), but growing.

Plans for 2012:

I'm just about to launch Blogger-HAT-Lite where I can share quick but unresearched notes about announcements form other products that may affect Blogger users.

Updating existing articles to include "new blogger interface" info is a big priority.   Anything tagged   YY - needs Sept11 review  still needs to be done.   Right now, that's 149 articles.

I think that customizing mobile and dynamic templates will be a hot topic in 2012 - although very niche-specific.  I'd love to investigate this, but not sure if I'll get time to work on it.  But I noticed recently that  Southern Speakers has been doing a good number of posts about how to modify dynamic template blogs using CSS, so maybe I won't bother.

Lastly, I've started another blog that involves cataloging music and song books on a very specific topic.   Blogger is a fantastic base for sharing this material, especially the "detailed song information" behind it.   But I'm  building the content for a detailed database, and maybe I'll be looking for a tool that lets visitors request   structured database queries (not just searches) and then shows result sets inside posts.   Any hints on options for this are welcome.

What do you think?

At the end of most annual reviews, the boss looks over his/her glasses and says "Overall, I'm ranking your performance as <whatever>" for the year".

I'm a bit short of bosses in this "job" - but would love to hear how Blogger-HAT could do a better job in 2012.   You know where to find the comments-box, just under the page-links section, so please let me hear your thoughts.

Related Articles:

Combining a forwarding-address and mail2Post, so you know who posted what.   (2011's last edited post)

Removing the attribution gadget from your blog   (this year's most popular post, by far).

Adding a Facebook Like, Send or Share button  (in 2nd place)

Setting up Google Analytics on your blog   (if you want to get your own statistics)

Finding out how many email subscribers you have

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