On the whole, it's been a pretty good year for One Man & His Blog, despite the trying personal circumstances I've been through. My RSS subscribers have comfortably doubled over the course of the year (although I have had to watch my World of Warcraft blog match and then exceed OM&HB's subscriber count...), and page views have more than doubled, which is all good.
Usually, my highest traffic month is December, with the Le Web posts grabbing loads of traffic, but in 2008, September actually gave me the most traffic, thanks to a combination of Lehman Brothers going down, a kid pretending to be Gordon Ramsay and my final disillusionment with 3's mobile broadband (more about all three below). The ethics of travel journalism also played their part, garnering me the most comments on any one post.
The top 10 posts this year:
- Mobile Broadband: Testing 3's 3G Dongle - earlier in the year, 3 gave me a 3G mobile dangle to test with my laptop. The results were mixed, to say the best, but somehow that post got some serious Google juice and has had three times as much traffic as any other post on my blog this year.
- RBI to be divested by Reed Elsevier - the post where I acknowledged the sale-that-never-was, and linked to reactions by colleagues. At least one of those reactions was later pulled.
- Why Media Gets Community Wrong - a popular, and much linked-to post about the mainstream media's attitude to community. I still like this post, but it's a shame I keep having to reiterate the point that community isn't a place on your site, it's an approach to publishing.
- Lehman Brothers Collapses - my brother's employer went down, and an SEO-friendly headline brought me a shedload of traffic as a result. I was on the front page of Google for "Lehman Brothers Collapses" for a good while. An object lesson that quick posting, intelligent headlining and great links can bring good traffic. My brother's fine, by the way. He has another job.
- Young Gordon Ramsay - without doubt, RBI's most successful viral. A foul-mouthed young chef takes his mother to task. This generated a little controversy within the company, but it drew the traffic.
- After Max Gogarty: Rethinking Mainstream Media Blogging - Guardian employs cocky young thing, who fails to understand blogging. He gets commented off the site, and I try to create something useful from it...
- 3 Mobile Broadband: Rural Failure - again the Google brings me people interested in how disappointed I was with my 3 Mobile dongle.
- Hard News Journalism - a video of a drunken journalist, claiming to be plagiarising. What's not to love?
- 4 Things Journalists Can Learn from the Lacy/Zuckerberg Interview - Sarah Lacy does a poor interview of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. I try to be constructive. My picture of her on stage at 2007's Le Web still got more traffic...
- When Mainstream Media Blogging Goes Bad - More Max Gogarty. The one hit wonder that keeps on giving...
So, what can I learn from these traffic figures?
- Speed matters. Getting good content up quickly in response to current events draws traffic.
- Follow up. Sometimes your second post on a topic gets more traffic than the first.
- Be constructive. Give good links, or good learning points, and your post has legs.
- Be really, really negative about products you're sent to review. ;-)