Blogging and Writing

2020 Year in Review: Blogging

2020 year in review: blogging

While the world itself has been pretty wild and wacky in 2020, I haven’t had any major course changes with my blog’s direction this year. I’ve stuck with publishing a post a day, or sometimes two if there’s a guest blogger or a quick awareness day post. I managed to stick with the weekly book reviews, which I’m actually surprised by; I had figured I’d probably end up taking a few weeks off.

One major change that impact some of us bloggers who’ve been around for a while was WordPress’s decision to retire their older editor and push everyone onto the block editor (which newer bloggers have been using all along). In some ways, I’m quite content with the block editor, but I’ve noticed that it’s a lot buggier than the older one, which has wasted a fair bit of time. Part of the problem is that I regularly go back and update older posts, and it seems to be in that context that glitches are more likely to occur.

WordPress stats

It’s kind of fun to look back at stats for the year. I’m not talking follows, views, likes, and that kind of competitive, comparison-y stuff. I’m talking about the stats that actually give interesting insights.

By the time this post goes live, I’ll have published about 460 posts in 2020, with an average word count of 672 and a total word count of a little over 300,000.

Search terms

The #1 WordPress search term by far was “Amazon”. I’m not sure why that is, but ok. In the top 10, there are 6 variations of psychiatric terminology, and the post associated with that did quite well. Also in the top 10 were spoon theory, complex PTSD, and “pathologifizint anxiety”. While that last one looks like a typo, there were 29 views for that specific search term, so I’m not sure what’s up with that.

Countries

I had visitors from 194 “countries,” although WP’s definition of a country is pretty loose.

I did not get visitors from North Korea, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan (unfortunately, my husband’s yurt doesn’t get wifi), Turkmenistan, Sierra Leone, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Togo, Niger, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Angola, Mozambique, Madagascar, Greenland, and probably a few other countries that are too small to pick out on the map.

I think 2021 calls for some African blogger outreach, and some bribes to be paid to get hubby’s yurt online. And I need to find a friendly Greenlander, because that’s a big chunk o’ map right there.

My top four country visitors were 1) US, 2) UK, 3) Canada, and 4) India.

Referrers

Search engines as lumped together by WP were the #1 referrer to my blog, followed fairly closely by the WP Reader. Google on its own is less than the WP Reader, although by the end of 2020, Google was sending me more traffic than WP was. Coming in at #3 was Pinterest. Next was Facebook, which is a bit odd since I don’t have a Facebook account, and then came Twitter.

Speaking of Pinterest, I got a bunch of comments on a pin I did related to a post comparing and contrasting social anxiety, shyness, and introversion. Who the hell comments on Pinterest? And I get notifications of people wanting to send me a message on Pinterestβ€”I have no idea how one would even go about doing that. Despite using the platform a lot, I do feel like a bit of a clueless dinosaur.

Top posts & pages

  1. Identifying emotions: this is an older post, and all of this traffic comes from Pinterest
  2. my home page
  3. Free mental health workbooks: this comes from both Pinterest and Google
  4. my archives
  5. Are Chakras Real or Pseudoscience?: this exploded on Google in the later part of the year
  6. A Glossary of Psychiatric Terms: a combination of WP and Google
  7. Applying Spoon Theory to Mental Illness: traffic from a mix of different places
  8. Cell Phones on Psych Wards – Yea or Nay?: mostly from Google
  9. Do Thoughts Vibrate?: a lot from Google
  10. COVID-19/Mental Health Coping Toolkit: mostly Pinterest, I think

Google

This year has been the year of the Google for my blog. This graph from Google Search Console shows a surge in both clicks and impressions starting in September 2020. I’m not sure exactly what changed at that point in time. I’ve cropped out the actual numbers, because they’re less relevant than the pattern. What looks to be the baseline from this time frame also represents a significant boost from my Google activity before I upgraded to the business plan n 2019 and started doing a lot more SEO work.

The top 5 posts that got traffic from Google in 2020 were about:

  1. chakras
  2. using cell phones on psych wards
  3. mental health workbooks
  4. do thoughts vibrate
  5. book review of The Body Keeps the Score (this surprised me, but I think it’s because Google included a snippet from my post as part of the “People also ask” search result feature)

There’s info on how to set up Google Search Console and other webmaster tools here in case you’re interested. You don’t need a paid WP plan to be able to set this up.


Plans for 2021

I don’t really have any plans other than just keep on going. I care more about the process than outcomes or milestones, plus my capacity to function is sufficiently variable that predicting what I can or can’t do is an exercise in futility. So I’ll keep on doing my thing, and if new ideas come, I’ll explore them as they come up.

Have you taken any time to reflect back on your blogging year? Do you have anything planned for the upcoming year?

38 thoughts on “2020 Year in Review: Blogging”

  1. This is a great read. Well done for keeping going with it all. I’m still quite new to it all and only been blogging about a month but hopefully with some regularity etc. I can be able to have a good review of it all at the end of 2021 x

  2. Thank you for your consistent and informative posts! Reading your posts is a highlight of my blog work.

    No special plans for 2021 except may revisit some posts from early on since the readership then was very low.

    Thanks again for all you do! It is appreciated!

    1. Thanks! That’s a good idea to revisit some older posts. I’ve noticed there’s quite a bit of turnover in readership, so the old can easily become new again.

        1. My hubby is very much of the made up variety. I went through a phase of wanting to run away from it all and shack up in a yurt. I was actually in Kyrgyzstan six years ago, and the closest I came to a suitable husband was a guide that tried to grope me as I was getting off my horse. But the dream is still there… πŸ˜‰

          1. So sorry hope I have not offended you in some way. Before I got married at 39 I had some imaginary dinners with my would-be suiters. I am not sure why I did that but it made sense at the time.

            1. Not offended at all. I think I’d find it rather hard to tolerate having an actual person around all the time, so made-up works just fine. πŸ˜‰

            2. I have an on-going made-up plan to leave my current place of residence and start a goat farm with my husband to sell goat cheese. It is definitely of the made up variety.

            3. Oooh, I also have a farm dream! Cows, goats, chicken sheep… I’d be completely incapable of looking after a farm, but a girl can dream…

            4. This dream involves making various herbs available to the goats for browsing. The herbs are supposed to penetrate through the milk and add flavor to the cheese. No idea if this is being done or is totally misinformed. I too don’t have any way to manage the farm work at 5:00am and such. Thus still a dream but one I like to fall back on from time to time. I say yes, dream on!

  3. That’s a pretty detailed report. I haven’t done anything like it, in as much detail, but maybe on a slow day I could dig a little deeper and see what’s happening behind the scenes. πŸ™‚

    Happy New Year, Ashley.

  4. Wow, that’s a lot of fun info!! I too love seeing which search terms people use to find my blog. My old blog had some good ones, like “Help! There’s someone trapped in my house” and “I hate the Oprah!” and “bad lawyer jokes”. But my new blog doesn’t have any funny ones yet!! I’ll have to try to inspire some! πŸ˜€

    It looks like I’ve written 343 blog posts, which I guess is almost one per day!! That’s fun!!

  5. Yup, I’ve been going through past posts, as I do more or less every summer, and started back-adding more structure to my posts so that the blog will be ready for my upcoming re-watch reviews of various favorite shows.

  6. Ashley a great share. Thank you for your research and great articles throughout the year. I enjoy the technology of the Internet and particularly SEO. Thank you for your tips to make blogging life better. Peace and blessingsβ€πŸ‘πŸŒΊ

  7. I think something must be going on with the Amazon thing. Recently I looked at my yearly stats as well and Amazon was one of the most popular search terms which blew my mind quite a bit as I can’t think of a single post where I’d use that word. πŸ˜€ And yeah, Facebook, I also don’t have an account on there but seem to be getting some views from there, intriguing. It’s interesting to have a look at such things as sometimes they can even be inspiring. WordPress has consistently been saying that one search term that draws people to my blog is “Misha cat food”. I had a look around the interwebs and there seems to be some Malaysian brand of dry cat food or maybe a cat food product or something, can’t remember now, that’s called Misha. Perhaps we should start cooperating or something. πŸ˜€ This time when looking through my stats I’ve got a potential idea for an informative linguistic-themed post, inspired by someone who seemed to have been interested in Polish swearwords. πŸ˜€ We have some with very interesting etymology but I’ll have to get deeper into the topic as I’m not sure that’s enough for an informative enough and at the same time fun post, and if I get enough material to work with I’ll try writing about it.

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