Two Years Online: Looking Back and Racing Forward

What’s that? A special event? You’re right!

As of yesterday, Unusual Things has passed its second annual landmark. That’s right, as of March 2nd, 2017, Unusual Things is now two whole years old!

Holy cow. Two whole years. Which means that it’s been over four years since my first book was released. And maybe three, three-and-a-half since I started writing posts about writing that would transform (or evolve, take your pick) into a weekly series called Being a Better Writer.

But the work hasn’t stopped there, either. Since the creation of this site, I’ve released several new books, completed drafts on a few more yet to arrive, started a Patreon account … and who knows what all else. I’m probably forgetting a few things.

It’s been a busy year. Few years, really.

Anyway, my point is that it’s the second anniversary of the site! And you know what that means!

Stats! Oh yes. It’s time to dig in and see how the site has done compared to the first year, and how it’s doing overall! So, to start—

Views
So, views are always good to look at. In the internet world, views are kind of like life. Or tourists visits. The idea is that the more views you have, the better off you are! So, if Unusual Things is getting more views than last year, things are going well. Just as a reminder, in the first year of operation, Unusual Things scooped up a total of 10,207 views. Not too shabby for a first year. But what about year two? Have the numbers climbed? Well, some quick math and a look at my stats page says … Yes. Very yes. How yes?

Unusual Things, in its second year running, acquired 23,093 views.

Now that’s progress! That’s more than double the numbers from the first year! That is some good growth!

Sure, I know there are writers whose blogs hit twenty thousand hits in a day. But those people are selling millions of copies and have an advertising budget backing them larger than my annual income for the last ten years combined, so I’m happy with what I’ve got. 23,000 views is nothing to sniff at!

Of course, my stats don’t stop there, so let’s dig into things a bit more, just like we did last year. Starting with the most popular post, which was …

You Just Keep Pushing Me Away … from October 30th, 2016, with 7,024 views.

Yeah, this one was a doozy. For those of you who don’t recall it, You Just Keep Pushing Me Away … was a response piece, written as a criticism of Literary Sci-Fi and Fantasy that couldn’t be bothered to get even the most basic facts right—which I explained as one of the biggest reasons I kept putting their works down. I brought up several examples I’d read recently, which included a book about a survivalist society filled with grievous “survival” mistakes written as truth (as near as I can tell, written by someone who had zero clue of how to actually survive without a grocery store and no inclination to learn, hence all these errors) as well as an explanation of computers  failing after said apocalypse because “copper rusted within a few years.”

Anyway, the post was a huge hit, and was shared globally. No joke. I had hits from every corner of the Earth rolling in, and dozens of readers chimed in with their own frustrations on the topic. Again, it just comes back to something I’ve said from the beginning about writing: DON’T make crap up. People know. And they get angry and annoyed when a book so openly flaunts a complete lack of knowledge on a topic.

And there were a few here and there that tried to defend the practice  as well, arguing that story was more important and … yeah, whatever. Look, as easy as it is to write a hand-wave into your story, you should do it. I know readers mock openly flaunted hand-waves, but it’s better than mocking openly-flaunted ignorance.

Anyway, that wasn’t the only post that garnered a large audience this last year. My discussion piece asking when the ethnicity and sex of characters and authors had become more important than all other parts of the story stirred up quite a few views, and again quite a few commentators askng the same thing—though as well a few insisting that it was the most vital focus. I wrote the post following my choice to remove Unusual Things from the SPFBO 2016 competition after reading a review from the place looking at Unusual Things that declared that they “probably [would have] loved the book even if both of the leads were white and straight” which sent immediate red flags running through my mind. Especially after they declared that fantasy novels were “written by and about (and quite possibly for) white men.”

Simply put, I held that if you were judging whether or not a book was good based on the race and gender of the primary characters and the author, you were judging based upon the wrong things. Others clearly, disagreed, arguing that skin color and sex were indeed one of the most important factors upon which a book should be judged. And they’re free to have that view, no matter how distasteful it may be personally (yes, this one still boils my blood a little; I don’t like racism).

Anyway, that post, and the associated tie-ins with it, still collected a lot of views. Still gets likes and hits on a regular basis, too. So at least I’m not the only one out there that thinks judging a book based on the skin color of the protagonist is idiotic.

Anyway … controversy aside, what about regular features around the site? Say … Being a Better Writer?

Actually, this number is actually kind of low, sadly. Well, okay, it’s also kind of amusing. The first year’s most popular BaBW topic was Reader Comprehension, with a sum total of 252 views. For this last year?

The Art of Misdirection with … 254 views.

Eh, it’s growth. I’ll take it. Additionally, there are a lot more BaBW posts this year that collected hits, making a lot of them pretty close to the number one post. And that’s a good thing. One BaBW post succeeding over all the others is one thing, but a fairly level balance between the pack suggests that they’re all being read. And I like that. It means that a wide variety of readers are finding help on a vast spread of topics! Good, that.

One more fun note of interest. Why I’m Waiting for Another Outpost 2 still manages to be one of the more popular posts here, averaging about 2 hits per day, usually associated with a search for the name of the game itself. Keep on trucking, Outpost 2. Maybe someday we’ll see a spiritual successor. On a side note, I’m considering doing a few more game-related posts, mostly centered around story since that’s the closest to our topic, but maybe a few “Why I Like” style features wouldn’t be amiss either.

Worldwide Audience
And now onto one of my favorite stats: Views around the globe! I’ve made it no secret before that I love the versatility and interconnectedness that comes with the internet. It’s amazing. I can chat in real time with folks from Europe, Africa, or Asia. I can read a cooking blog and try out recipes posted by someone in Chile, or listen to radio stations in Madagascar (Curious? Click this link and get listening!).

Point being, I can do all that … and so can anyone else around the world. We’re all swapping favorite foods and ideas and experiences and … yeah. It’s awesome.

Anyway, part of the fun of being part of this is seeing who out there is enjoying looking at my experiences and knowledge I’ve added to the mix, or is reading my stuff.

Anyway, like last year, the majority of my views came from the United States. Percentage-wise, a bit more than last year, but that may have been influenced by the large amount of traffic generated by a few American-centric topics not as of much interest to those dwelling outside the States. And, like last year, the UK comes in next, followed by Canada, Australia, and Germany.

But then things get interesting. Last year’s surprise Philippines number? Already beaten in just the last few months. Lots of hits from France, Finland, Brazil (Anna is pleased), Iceland, Egypt, Japan, Israel, Malaysia … the list goes on and on. In fact, the entire globe display I’ve got is filled.

That’s at least one hit from every country in the world. That is freaking awesome. Hello, world! I’m glad you like what you see!

Followers and Other Stats
So, a few other numbers to throw out. Total wordpress followers? 94. Not much growth over last year, but the number of hits I’m getting say that there are a lot more readers just following things via a browser feed or logging on. The most popular day for the site is Monday (not too surprising, since that’s when BaBW normally goes up). More comments in the last year than the year before by a significant amount. The most popular tags are Being a Better Writer followed by Writing Tips. The top three referrers are (in order and excluding search engines) PJMedia, Fimfiction, and Facebook. The most amusing search that led someone to the site was “Did Gravity Falls  end?”

Yet Another Year Ahead
All in all, a successful year for the site, and a good second year in general. Here’s to another, and another, and another …

In the meantime, while I go off to write another bit of Jungle, I’ll just leave you all with one final bit of encouragement to check out ColonyJungle‘s predecessor, as soon as you can!

Viking ZX out!

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