End of Year blogging and tweeting: how I went in 2011

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Last year I wrote a post about how I’d gone with my blogging and tweeting. Given that I’ve been blogging here since 2008 and elsewhere since 2004, I thought I’d share a few insights as someone who operates a very, very niche blog about union campaigning and politics.


Blog stats for 2011

This graph shows monthly readership (each bar represents a month, the first is January and so on). As you can see, I’ve had a topsy turvy year. This is largely due to inconsistent blogging, and the very low month in September represents when I turned off the blog while electioneering. The low December reflects the fact that we’re only half way through this month.

So, what are the top posts for 2011?In order, they are:

  1. What union members want from their union’s communications
  2. Performance pay for teachers is a terrible idea and here’s why
  3. Short book review: The Whites of their Eyes by Jill Lepore
  4. Amazing social media campaign: “Iceland Wants to Be Your Friend”
  5. Social Media for Unions E-Book
  6. Free E-book: Introduction to Email Campaigning for Unions
  7. Four effective “calls to action” to use on your union campaign website
  8. Best practice use of Facebook for unions
  9. The term “queue jumping” encourages people smugglers
  10. Eight union websites worth checking out

These posts reflect only and new content. My Social Media for Unions e-book for example was released in December 2010, but continued to gain strong interest throughout most of this year. Similarly, What union members want from their union’s communications was written in February 2010 and Best practice use of Facebook for unions was from 2009, but were viewed many times each week this year. The high ranking of my book review The Whites of their Eyes by Jill Lepore gains number three ranking due to a few links at StumbleUpon.

Last year, a lot of my traffic came from the Federal Election. This year, most of my traffic seems to have come from long-tail search results. I also got a lot of traffic from my email newsletter, which has continued to grow (more on that later).

My top referrers are:

  • Google (organic search terms)
  • Email (my e-newsletter)
  • Direct (people writing in the URL directly)
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Creative Unions

Blog referring traffic overview


A few other interestings stats. People read an average of 3.7 pages when they visit and spend 2:31 minutes reading. 64.14% of my visitors are first-time visitors, and my bounce rate (the number of people who read just one page) is 3.37%.


I can’t show you my entire 2011 Twitter growth, but I can do so for the last three months.

Twitter Growth 2011

I started 2011 in January with about 510 followers and have grown now to 775, at a rate of about 1 subscriber a day. Again, I can’t pick a specific reason for growth, although I have been actively involved in several of the major Twitter hashtags of 2011, including the Qantas dispute and Occupy Melbourne. Looking around, I suspect that word-of-mouth and recommendations is very important — so when someone with lots more followers (in the thousands or tens of thousands) comments on what you’ve tweeted (or retweets you), you pick up followers.

Klout in 2011

My Klout has been a bit varied, which I think reflects periods of high activity and engagement, and periods of relative silence (September for example). Changes to the Klout algorithm is the cause of the large increase and fall in Klout.


Email subscriber growth in 2011

This year I have made an effort to continue my subscriber growth from the explosive growth from December 2010. The large growth has principally been in January through the release of my Social Media for Unions e-book, which required subscribing to my list to download. Since then, most of the growth has come from people wanting to download one or more of my three e-books. About 37 people subscribe each month, and 3 unsubscribe, so that’s a good growth rate. I’m now sitting just under 1000 subscribers, which for a niche blog about union campaigning and politics, is not too bad. My subscribers are also fairly diverse, with most coming from the USA, Australia, Canada and the UK (in that order).

2011 in a wrap

Last year, I said “content is key”. This year, I’d have to say “add value”. The e-books that I’ve written have been a key source of interest for my readers, subscribers and followers. I’ve focused on trying to provide useful resources that fill gaps for union communicators, focusing on social media, email and online campaigning. I’ve tried to highlight interesting research and promote best practice digital and social media communication techniques for unions. Moreso than 2010, this year has been about trying to provide that assistance to the union movement.

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