How my blogging went in 2013

How has my blogging gone last year?

Each year, around this time, I look back on the past twelve months to see how things are tracking compared to previous years. You can read my earlier posts from 2010, 2011 and 2012.


Below are two graphs. The first shows my monthly blog traffic for each year from 2010 to 2013.

Blog traffic 2013 - Alex White

The second graph shows the cumulative monthly traffic for each year from 2010 to 2013.

Cumulative blog traffic for 2013 - Alex White

You can see that 2012 was the year of real gains in blog traffic, and that 2013 only saw a marginal improvement of 5% compared to 2012. Meanwhile, 2012 saw a massive 62% increase in traffic compared to 2011. Last year I had over 90 blog posts, but this year I managed only 52. I think the increased blogging rate in 2012 contributed to the greater page views. Simply, with more articles being added to my blog, the more people could search and read.

Of course, this year I also started to blog for The Guardian at Southern Crossroads. I’ve aimed for a blog a week, and have been blogging there since February 2013. While I originally reposted my Guardian blogs at my main blog, I’ve stopped doing that more recently.

The top ten most popular blog posts of 2013 in order were:

  1. Quick Book Review: Hardball – How Politics Is Played Told By One Who Knows The Game by Chris Matthews
  2. NationBuilder picks a side; progressives should stop using it
  3. Twelve well designed non-profit websites
  4. Performance pay for teachers is a terrible idea and here’s why
  5. Why 2013 will be a bad year
  6. What union members want from their union’s communications
  7. “You look where they look”: research on design
  8. Debunking nine union communications myths
  9. Eight union websites worth checking out (2010)
  10. Five ideas for union recruitment of young people

Like 2012, this is a mix of new and old (evergreen) articles. Some like the Hardball review, topped the rank for 2012 as well as last year. Rather than having a single big day, these appear again and again through the long-tail of search engine rankings.

My busiest day, and my single most read blog post of 2013, didn’t make my top ten.

The top referrers for 2013 are very similar to 2012.

  • Google (organic)
  • Email (my e-newsletter)
  • Direct
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Facebook mobile
  • Andrew Elder’s blog (this link)
  • Bing (organic)
  • Google (images, etc)
  • Yahoo

Last year, I wrote that my bounce rate had sky-rocketed, from 3% to 16%. This year it was also very high, up to 78%. This was because of the way I have set up several of my links to e-books and subscribe pages.

I am also attracting new readers to my blog. 76% of visitors are new to my blog, whereas it was 71% in 2012. However, the average time spent on my site has also dropped, from 2:24 minutes to 1:30 minutes.


Twitter follower growth - 3 months

In November and December I experienced quite remarkable growth in followers. I attribute this to my blogging for The Guardian, and some high traffic blog posts. I would say that 99.99% of the new followers I have gained are due to my Guardian blogging.

I’m tweeting at the same pace as last year, around 21 tweets per day, so I can’t attribute increased tweeting to more followers. I’m still using the Buffer App, which I find to be excellent.

Klout 2013

While social influence scores are rubbish, they’re still a number to report on. My Klout has recently risen to 64, again attributable to re-tweets from The Guardian. Last year, my Klout was 59, so that’s increasing, but the algorithm changes all the time, so it’s almost impossible to compare over time.


Email stats 2013

You can see that in February there was a large increase in subscribers. In January I released my latest e-book Guide to Online Campaigning for Unions, and offered a sample download with an email gate. I think this is responsible for the growth in my email list subscribers. In 2012 I released several free e-books, but the paid version, which was much longer and more substantial, saw much higher growth in subscribers.

Again, as a niche blog, I’m very happy with the approximately 1700 subscribers I have. This represents a substantial number of union leaders, communicators, organisers and other progressive campaigners, based mostly in Australia, the USA, Canada, New Zealand and the UK.

2013 in a wrap

The theme for 2013 could be summed up as “more of the same” as 2012. My predominant focus has been on providing practical advice for union (and progressive) campaigners, across a range of topics including digital campaigning, social media, email, data, and face-to-face traditional campaigning.

This year also saw the Federal election, the Labor leadership farce and Australia’s hottest year on record. It was also the year that I joined the board of Greenpeace Australia Pacific and joined the stable of Guardian bloggers.

A busy year!

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