Golly gee, adventurers, here we are and it’s 1009 already. You know, because 2018 is half ov- okay, I get it, that one came on a little strong. But while the joke may be bad, it is also true. We’ve completed six months of 2018 and with only six months to go, this feels like a really good time to look back at the blog goals for this year to see how they’re going, do some data analysis as far as the numbers here, and then to talk about what you can expect from me for the rest of the year and beyond.
I’m gonna get the boring stuff out of the way first – if you’re just interested in seeing announcements, you can skip ahead a few paragraphs. I record this data stuff primarily for myself to have a place I can go to check where I’ve been and help me measure success. It both encourages me (I’m doing better than I thought) and motivates me (I’m not where I want to be yet) to know this kind of information about my blog. At the time I’m writing this post, Adventure Rules has right around 700 followers counting numbers from both WordPress and my social media pages, although I’d guess maybe as many as 50 of those are repeats across multiple sites (for example, bloggers who follow me on both WordPress and Twitter). If I were smart, I would have documented somewhere the number I started with so I’d know exactly how much growth I have, but hey, we can’t win ’em all. Now in the future I can come back to this post and see how much growth I had in the second half of 2018 and maybe even in fiscal year 2019 – sorry, forgot to take my dork hat off before I started on this post.
When it comes to traffic, the way WordPress tracks analytics makes it a little easier for me to compare to the past. December was my best month of 2017, with a total of 2,209 views in a single month – every month of 2018 has beaten it so far, with June breaking 3000 views for the first time ever on Adventure Rules! In 6 months I’ve had over 16000 views, putting me only 4000 away from 2017’s total. Basically, if this year’s trends continue, I can expect growth to the tune of 33% when it comes to traffic. More important to me, though, are things such as likes and comments, the interactions I receive from my truly active followers.
Luckily, those numbers are up as well. I have 568 comments in 2018 so far compared to only 846 in all of 2017, putting me on track to well outdo last year’s numbers. It also makes my average comments per post 1.3 more than it was last year as well. Likes saw a more significant jump with 1203 likes in six months of 2018 compared to 1464 likes all year in 2017, with the average of 13.5 well outpacing last year’s average of 8.8 – nearly 5 more likes per post. That in particular makes me pretty happy because I’ve been concerned that at some point my articles might become stale – if anything, it seems that this year I’ve been doing a better job of writing articles that folks enjoy.
While numbers are perhaps the most objective measure of whether or not a website is doing well, at the beginning of last year I decided to do things a little differently on Adventure Rules. Mainly, that I would measure my success based not on worldly perceptions but based on personal goals that I created for myself, not directly related to the gathering of followers and the collecting of views. In 2018, my goals have been threefold: Community, Consistency, Quality.
While community is my first stated goal of Adventure Rules, it is perhaps the one that I feel I’ve been the weakest in this year, particularly in the last couple of months. I started out strong with some heavy community event involvement and even trying to host some very small-scale community events of my own, but in the spring months I haven’t brought much to the table in this regard. In particular, I don’t think I take the time to read posts from other bloggers as often as I should to build meaningful connections with them. This has made it hard to connect with newer followers, and while I have certainly met some cool people this year I don’t think I’ve done a good job at making those newer adventurers feel as welcome as the folks who have been around here for a year or more. As we continue farther into 2018, I want to redouble my efforts to build community – something that will admittedly be easier as my biggest community event of the year rolls out tomorrow!
When it comes to quality, things have been a lot better. With the exception of maybe my ORAS Nuzlocke series, picture quality has been better and I’ve tried to be mindful of post structure so that the page is full of either text or colorful visuals. I’m avoiding typos a lot more and I think in general I’ve written higher-quality posts in 2018 compared to 2017. When it comes to consistency, I have honestly done something I never would have thought possible – I did not miss a single post day during the first six months of 2018. Even when I felt miserable, when I wasn’t driven to write, or when technical problems came up, I have been able to make sure there was always content at 9 AM on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And as I stated in my goal, none of those posts have been a “sorry this isn’t a real post” article or even a blog update – I’ve saved posts like this one for off days so that my scheduled posting days always have a feature article rather than something that feels like a throwaway. I even managed to write extra posts during E3 and stuck to the mini-schedule that I created for that week, posting twice a day at 9 and 5 all five weekdays that week. I honestly don’t know how I’ll top consistency in the second half of 2018, but I’m super excited for how much I’ve been able to accomplish this year compared to last year.
ON THE HORIZON
So now that we know what 2018 has been like so far, what can we expect from the rest of the year? Well, the biggest upcoming thing right now is the second annual Blogger Blitz competition, a tournament where bloggers can champion their favorite video game characters in wacky events. This year’s theme is Black Sheep, and you can read all about it here and then come back tomorrow to sign up as a competitor or a judge! Blogger Blitz is generally my most ambitious community event in a given year, with the last one involving the efforts of 13 bloggers over the course of 2 months and this one looking like it should be pretty similar in scale.
I’ve been thinking about how I have historically treated segments here on the blog and am going to be moving away from trying to have any which are weekly in nature. I enjoy the freedom of being able to post about a particular topic relatively close to the time it is relevant in the community at large, and often when I have a weekly segment going I get frustrated when I want to use that time slot for something else and feel like I can’t. A good example is how I changed Smash Five from being weekly to being posted whenever I have an idea for it – I like that freeform approach a lot more and will be adopting it for all of my segments for the foreseeable future. This might mean we have “seasons” where a particular segment appears more often based on how inspired I am to write about it. Specific segments you can expect to hang around right now are Tabletop Tuesday and Smash Five (until the game comes out in December), as well as a new segment debuting this week that I am pretty excited about.
This segment is the latest in a series of attempts I’ve been making to introduce something adjacent to Let’s Plays on the blog. I have no way of recording gameplay for the purposes of Twitch streaming or making YouTube videos, but I like the idea of sharing some of my gameplay experiences with my readers. So I’ve been experimenting with some different ways to do that, from the walkthrough-adjacent approach to my Omega Ruby Restartlocke to the more fictionalized approach I took during Finally Finishing Final Fantasy (which I’m cancelling, by the way). I didn’t like either of these methods for various reasons, the former feeling too rigid and boring while the latter was time-consuming and hard to maintain a tone. My new idea is to do a newspaper of sorts with satirical mini-articles based on my gameplay experiences – the goal here is to be funny more so than to instruct or inspire. I think that fits the Adventure Rules style a little more and at the very least, it will be way easier for me to write and keep up with. If this doesn’t go well, I’ll probably just scrap the idea of sharing my gameplay experiences entirely and go back to focusing exclusively on opinion pieces and guides. But I think this concept has potential, so I hope you are looking forward to it as much as I am!
INTO THE FUTURE
When it comes to my long-term vision for Adventure Rules, I want to come up with a community event for the fall/winter after Blogger Blitz is over. I don’t think I’ll be bringing back Charming and Open this year, as even after only doing it twice I’ve already seen some repeat questions and I think at this point a lot of the participants would be the same people who participated last time. I also want to be sure that I’m free in December in case Later Levels decides to bring Creative Christmas back – I hated having to miss out on that one as there were lots of fun posts coming out from other bloggers as a result! Still, while Black Sheep will still likely be my most ambitious event this year, I want to introduce a brand-new community event before 2019. More details to come once I actually come up with them myself!
One interesting thing that I have noticed happening recently is that I’ve been more ahead on my posts than I’m used to, sometimes writing these things a week ahead of when they are actually going to be posted (like this one). It’s making me think I might actually have the time and energy to add another post each week on a regular basis, putting me up to four instead of three. If I can manage it, there are lots of advantages – each post on the blog is one more chance to draw eyes to Adventure Rules, and having a steady stream of content helps to keep people engaged. So I’m thinking that in 2019, I’m going to be switching to a schedule where I post four times a week instead of three.
A big part of waiting til 2019 is that I want to put off rolling out extra posts right when Blogger Blitz is starting. Sure I’m ahead of the game now, but the busiest event of my blogging year literally starts tomorrow. I don’t want to try to push my limits too much. Conversely, if I start four posts a week in 2019, I’ll have months of adjusting to that schedule before I do anything crazy as far as community events go. Once I do make the change, I am tentatively planning to do a Monday through Thursday schedule. From an analytics perspective, I get way more engagement on weekdays, with my weekday numbers being pretty consistent and then seeing a drop on Friday followed by an even more significant drop for Saturday and Sunday. My only concern is that posting on consecutive days might cause me some problems as far as my writing schedule, as having a day’s break between posts needing to be ready has saved my tail a couple of times as far as consistency. Still, I’m doing way better about not waiting until the last minute to write my articles, so I think with another six months of practice and refining my style I can reach a point where four posts a week is within the realm of possibility.
That’s gonna be it for today’s update, adventurers! Thanks so much to all of you who have been with me for these past six months; participating in events and giving me events to participate in, commenting on articles and giving me great articles to read. Any success I have, I have because you support me and find something valuable here on Adventure Rules. So thanks for being here, and I look forward to having an even better second half of 2018!