For roughly three months, I've been working on building traffic on my personal site, jaredwkendall.com
Unfortunately, my results are mixed, at best. Worst yet, I know why I've done a mediocre job of it -- I haven't published enough content.
When managing a content site, one of the most critical aspects is frequency of posting.
- If you don't post daily, or nearly daily, you're a "dead" site. Not worth visiting on a regular basis.
Going in, my assumption was to use content from my work at the Reveille, and populate my site with blogs pointing to work I'd done for the paper. This seemed like a solid plan. I intended to work my ass off for the Reveille this semester, and as I finally know what I'm doing with my data and Tableau work, that effort would (presumably) turn into a ton of content.
Reality eventually sunk in - it was going to be a challenge to get data projects all the way through to publication.
- Going into the project, my site had been neglected. I basically used it as a dumping ground for content that I couldn't put anywhere else. Hobby stuff. Things that hadn't made it to the Reveille in the Spring. Now, however, I was intent on actively managing it. I tried to get content in, I looked at where I was hearing from people, I updated my photos, re-activated cross-promotion on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I had fun with my data mining job. Why not brand yourself memorably, after all?
- I started scheduling blog posts (sometimes) to go live at the times of day which are supposed to be best for such things - usually sometime around ten in the morning. Or thereabouts. I made extensive use of keywords, especially once I saw I had a lot of referrals coming in from Twitter.
My metrics are all done in Tableau, and you can see them here:
- Unfortunately, Storify isn't very Tableau-friendly. So you can't see them very well. Unless you click through.
- I laid out my graphs so they'd show the "new" activity in green, with the total for the entire year in red. To save space, and because of how Wordpress organizes and presents its metrics data, I've stacked them. I can't show what I'd like to show, which would be a percentage pie showing the portion of views coming from the past three months broken out from the annual totals.
- Yup, those are more metrics. This time, looking at my most popular pages. Here, a few things quickly stand out. First...
- My most popular page was a total disposable blog post done early in the period -- "Using Tableau With Porn."
It was said, back in the dark ages of the late '90s, that you had to include "sex" as a search term in every Web page you designed, or nobody would visit.
- Apparently, the lure is still there. Sex, I mean. Not '90s websites. Clearly, I won't shy away from sex in future data projects, if the opportunity arises. Er, comes up. Reveals itself? Speaking of the '90s: Wordpress doesn't provide any means of sharing detailed metrics like the ones shown below - I had to take a screen cap and crop it.
- Here are my metrics for search terms. You can mouse-over the bar chart for numeric information, by the way. Again, these figures don't provide a ton of insight, because I don't generate enough searches.
- I did try something I've never done before - I used a paid promotion on Facebook.
- What the hell. It wasn't all that much, what could it hurt?
In the end, it got a bunch of views, and not much else. And a "bunch" is relative. But it *did* make me feel like something.