Every September 9th, I write an article like none other. It's the only time that I really write about the experience of creating content for this blog, and the year's analytics. First off, I'd like to thank the one million people who visited this site between September 9, 2014 to September 9, 2015.
More specifically, that is about 1,100,000 absolute unique visitors. Those visitors translated into about 2,250,000 page views in the past year. (There seems to have been a lot more clicking through and reading multiple articles as compared to last year.) Over the lifetime of StarbucksMelody, I'd like to say thank you to the roughly 3,200,000 absolute unique visitors. (This blog launched September 9, 2009.)
I want to especially thank anyone reading this who has ever left a comment. One day this year, I was talking to a friend who is an avid reader of the West Seattle Blog, and she mentioned to me, 'It seems like the West Seattle Blog has slowed down. There are fewer comments than before...' In the year 2015, comments are a terrible way to gauge site traffic. (Unless someone tells you their numbers, it's almost impossible to know someone else's blog traffic. However you can get a rough sense of how large a website is by visiting Alexa.com. That's far from a perfect method to gauge a website, but it gives you a rough idea. And contrary to urban lore, Alexa uses more traffic indicator signals than just estimates from the Alexa toolbar.) It's possible to have growing blog visitors/ traffic numbers and decreasing comments.
So if you've ever left a comment, a very big thank you from me. I hope you'll say "hi" below!
Since the time I've started this website, the rules of engagement have fundamentally changed. As Howard would say, "There has been seismic shift..." In the year 2015, these five things are the new normal: It's a lot like the Geico commercials, "If you're a golf commentator, you whisper. It's what you do. If you want to save 15% of more, you switch to GEICO. It's what you do." (That commercial really makes me laugh! There's some odd wisdom in those "It's what you do..." commercials by GEICO.)
It's what you do. If you produce any kind of website with updating content, this is what you do (or the reality of blogging).
1) Comments are fewer and far between. This is because conversations have so dramatically shifted towards social media discussion. Even big, professional sites can have difficulty getting comments.
2) The pace of consumption has increased. Your Facebook or Twitter feed might be full of upworthy, buzzfeed, or other media articles. So there's more competition for an audience, and to keep their attention, you need to create more. (A part of me would like to update daily: this would result in more readers but I don't have the time.)
3) Some people don't know what a "blog" is. It's almost better to not use that word. Lots of people say that they "don't read blogs" on the Internet. This simply is not true (unless you avoid the Internet). Even ESPN is a WordPress blog. Almost all news sites are in a blog (Wordpress) format.
4) Because competition is fierce, headlines have to be eye-grabbers more so than ever before. You can thank Buzzfeed.com! I've also noticed that BusinessInsider.com has this down to a science. Headlines are teasers now. You might now like it, but this is the way it is. There are hundreds of millions of websites. Competition for one minute of your time has become cut throat.
5) More than ever, you need an advertising budget. When you click "Like" on a Facebook page, this does almost nothing. I don't even know why people click "like" on pages big or small. Nothing happens. You will almost never (like less than 5% of the time) ever see anything from that page in your Facebook feed, absent the page owner spending a lot of money to "boost" posts. And you can pay Twitter for sponsored ads. Companies with Facebook pages (big and small) do this. If you look at the official Starbucks page, they boost ("Sponsored post") almost every single one of their Facebook status updates. It would not surprise me if Starbucks pays Facebook a few hundred thousand every year.
I know a lot of people who bristle at these five ideas, yet at the same time click through those teaser headlines, or rapidly scan their feed to see if there are new links they might like. While fundamentally some of the above ideas seem distasteful to us, it works. I've been trying to incorporate these ideas into my content creation over the past year.
About 80% of everyone who visits this site is in the United States. Of the United States visitor traffic, a full 22% (almost 23%) come from the state of California. After California, both Texas and Washington are in a near tie for 7.6% (and a tiny fraction) of visitors. Washington beats Texas by just a tiny fraction of a percent.
There were a number of memorable article this last year. I happened to think this "Starbucks quiz" was fun! I enjoyed the big window clings at Westlake Center last holiday season. I also enjoyed seeing the unique "Starbucks Community Store" aprons. A Starbucks "Community Store" is partnered with a local non-profit. Starbucks shares a small portion of its profits from the "Community Store" with a non-profit organization. It's a model that has an enduring, good-cause element, regardless of who comes and goes at the store in terms of the partners. Last but not least, I was very touched by this store's goodbye video for their store manager.
This year StarbucksMelody.com got a whole new look! And I had the privilege of introducing my readers to two all new StarbucksMelody.com productions:
The website "Pets Of Starbucks" functions entirely by reader contribution. If you've got a critter that loves Starbucks as much as you do, please submit a photo! The Explore Starbucks Reserve is a little bit still under construction.
Once in a while, I've been cited and/or quoted by larger media outlets. This year, I organized some of those articles in my "about" page. I'm humbled to be mentioned and noticed by these significant websites. I might get a million visitors a year. I'm sure that's small peanuts in the big scheme of things. Some of these sites might get a million every day!
When all is said and done, all I hope is that you'll come back for more, tell your friends, and say "hello" in the comments! This blog is only a success (as much as it is) thanks to readers, such yourself, reading every last word.