Google Analytics map overlay showing the countries where visitors have been located, keyed in shades of green. Almost identical to last year, mostly just shuffling around in Africa.
Late again, but here's the annual blog report for the period Nov 18, 2011 to Nov 17, 2012. An amazing thing happened in October: the blog passed the half-million mark of page views! That means over a quarter million views in a single year. Thanks to all of you who keep coming back! I hope to keep it worth your time.
This year I focused an enormous amount of time and energy on three things: doing demos, teaching classes, and getting a new job. Many weekend and evening hours of preparation building workbenches and appliances, gathering and restoring tools, then conducting the demos and classes.
In addition to the ones I've mentioned on the blog, I also had a half dozen private class sessions at the barn and people's homes. Then preparing for the job change consumed an equal number of hours for over a month.
These were certainly important to me, but the result is fewer posts about projects and techniques, which are the real intent of this blog. So I'll be making up for that this year. I've always got 10 things at once running through my head, and never enough time for them all!
Previous annual reports for comparison: first and second.
One fascinating new statistic this year is the number of YouTube views I've gotten, now over 200,000 total lifetime. The Roubo workbench part 1 is a perennial favorite, with over 128,000 views. I get notification emails daily of new subscribers to my YouTube channel.
Now, people lose interest pretty quickly, because total minutes watched is 286,000 for all my videos, and 186,000 for the Roubo video, averaging less than 2 minutes watched per video overall. But by zooming in on date ranges, I can see that plenty of people are watching through to the end, from all over the world.
I haven't enabled ads on the videos, because I don't like the way they overlay the image. I go to some effort to frame and edit my videos, I don't need that cluttered up by random ads.
You'll see ads appearing on some of them, due to YouTube's copyright infringement policy. It turns out that some of the music jingles that Apple bundled with iMovie on the Mac don't include rights for public distribution, so you run afoul of copyright it you use them.
If YouTube's copyright enforcement software matches an audio track on a public video with audio claimed by a copyright holder, they serve ads on the video and pay any revenue to the copyright holder.
I need to repost a couple videos with the infringing music stripped out to avoid the ads. I've started using music from http://audionautix.com/, created by Jason Shaw for the express free use by other websites as long they credit him.
My thanks to Jason, and I encourage anyone else needing background music to use his stuff. The benefit to him is that he gets exposure for his professional paid work.
YouTube does have a paid audio usage service called AudioSwap, but when I tested it out 4 months ago, I considered it a total failure. It didn't mix well with the existing audio and didn't allow multiple music selections, plus it still overlaid ads on the video. It might be useful to dress up unedited cell-phone videos, but not for the instructional videos I'm doing.
One thing raising its ugly head this year was the scourge of comment spam. I get emails notifying me of comments posted to the blog, only to find out they're some vague or random text with a link to a website embedded in it.
Googling this text shows the same comment posted to dozens or hundreds of other blogs; some are polluted with endless miles of this junk. A couple months ago it was just 1 or 2 a week, but has grown to the point where I'm getting half a dozen a day.
The purpose of this is to improve placement of the linked website in search results, since search engines typically rank pages by the number of links to them, the idea being that more links implies that a site is more relevant and useful.
In the usual sociopathic behavior of the spammer, this practice spews these bogus comments all over the web to try to convince the search engines that the sites they link to should rank higher in the search results, like stuffing a ballot box.
This is known as "Search Engine Optimization", and is related to the email spam advertising improved search ranking for websites. The way they do it is to fill the Internet with crap. As Theodore Sturgeon said, "90% of everything is crap."
There are SEO companies who probably provide legitimate services, so I won't paint them all with a broad brush, but as usual it only takes a few bad apples to tarnish a whole industry.
Fortunately, Google's Blogger software has been pretty effective at filtering this crap out. I get an email notification, but then when I check it, the comment has already been classified as spam and removed from the blog, just awaiting my approval for permanent deletion.
However, it has escalated to the point where I've found it necessary to disable anonymous comment posting. Hopefully I won't have to disable commenting completely or use some alternate mechanism. I only get a few real comments a month anyway, and people can always email me, but I like having it available as a feedback mechanism to allow others to participate publicly.
Last year got over a quarter million page views, 50% growth over the year before, with 40,000 more visits, 68% growth. Unique visitors grew by 80%. The pages per visit and average visit duration are down slightly.
Visits for the period Nov 18, 2011 to Nov 17, 2012.
I'm averaging over 290 visits per day, with over 750 pageviews per day. That's over 23,000 pageviews per month. Last year, these numbers were 200, 500, and 15,000.
Searches hitting the blog were too varied to try to summarize. That indicates to me that it's serving as a good general resource.
The number of sites referring back to the blog has grown quite a bit. In addition to search and email sites, I filtered out the various multi-country versions of referring sites to pare the list down to the actual sites linking here, though that throws out some of the visits. But you still get the general idea.
Many of these sites are worth checking out if you like this one. Some of them are more general-interest sites that happen to link here. My thanks to those sites driving traffic here!
Two that caught my attention are Pinterest and No Tech Magazine. Several people have pinned some of my photos on Pinterest; in some cases my humble basement workshop shows up in the middle of beautiful architectural, design, and landscape photos that look like something out of Architectural Digest.
No Tech Magazine is an aggregator site collecting links on low-tech solutions, with all kinds of fascinating stuff.
The most flattering link was in Fine Woodworking editor Asa Christiana's blog post about Will Neptune's SAPFM Cartouche Award ceremony last month. Asa wrote about the tribute given by Will's shop partner, Freddy Roman, and linked to my profile of Freddy. I noticed it when I saw an increase in referrals from the FW website in the statistics. Thanks, Asa!
As before, to try to reasonably gauge which countries actually have interested readers, for countries with fewer than 10 visits and 10 pages per visit, I threw out any where the average time on site was less than 30 seconds. This year that leaves 118 countries.
|Country||Visits||Pages/Visit||Avg. Time on Site (sec)|
|Trinidad and Tobago||59||1.73||153|
|United Arab Emirates||24||1.38||20|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||10||2.6||53|
Revenue from Google Ads and Amazon Associates links was actually up enough to buy a few nice tools. My general goal is to make the hobby pay for itself, and along with class fees, it's starting to approach that point (ignoring all the money I've spent over the past several years to get there!).
A work-related note: I've learned Python programming for my new job, and I was able to generate the HTML for the above tables with just a few lines of Python. It's quite a fun and powerful language to work with.
With it's list comprehensions, lambda functions, and object-orientation, it's like a cross between Lisp/Scheme and C++ with STL. I love the dictionary support. The interpreter and dynamic binding encourage rapid experimentation and refactoring.
My primary tutorial, a fantastic resource for experienced programmers, was Mark Pilgrim's free ebook Dive Into Python; it's full of cross-references to other good online resources.
The data for the tables comes from exporting Google Analytics reports as plain text files, which I then fed into the Python code.