Friday, June 10, 2016

The May Retrospective

In May, Douglas Cole issued a GURPS Day challenge, which was to get a new blogger on his roles.  I succeeded.  He also asked us to talk about how GURPS Day has influenced us, or if GURPS Day has improved our blog.

When it comes to numbers, the share of traffic directed to my site from Cole's has actually decreased, at least as far as I can tell.  The metrics don't show me everything, and Cole's site has multiple possible urls, and so there might be a mess of them that are sufficiently low that they've fallen off the radar.  I'm not sure why this is so, but I suspect it's a combination of a surge from traffic from other sites, while a general watering down of Cole's site traffic (as the number of blogs increase, the chances of a click on my specific links drops), but it's just a guess.

My traffic is up.  Way up.  When I started this, I had nearly 3000 views.  Last month, I had nearly 7000, and my numbers keep climbing.  It's not clear how many are real views however.  I get huge surges of like 100 views in one minute that don't actually track with any specific page or link, which says "Spiders!" to me.  Those spikes only account for about a quarter of my traffic, though, so I suspect I'm getting real growth.

I wanted to take this moment to pause and give a retrospective because it completes my "the Force As" series, which gives some insights into what people liked and what people didn't.  My top viewed post was... the May GURPS Challenge!  Which logged nearly 250 views, and has +11 on it, making it my most popular and most talked about blog post, but not my most viewed (That's currently my "Don't Convert, Create!" post, which actually has enough views that it's showing up in my top 5 overview.), which just goes to show that my most popular posts are when I don't talk about Psi-Wars.  What lessons one might draw from this, I have chosen to studiously ignore.

The Stats

My top five blog posts, excluding the May GURPS Day Challenge post are:

  1. The Mysterious Power of Psi-Wars
  2. The Psionic Space Knight
  3. The Tao of Psi-Wars
  4. The Other Side of Space Magic
  5. Iteration 4: Cool Powers and Martial Arts
That's a nice and interesting spread, suggesting that all 4 of my approaches drew interest (Divine Favor isn't in the list, but it's also the newest and needs some time for the community to really decide on). Psionic Powers seemed to interest people the most, given that the top two both came from that series.  I'm a little surprised (and pleased) to see that the Chi-version of the Force drew so many eyeballs (It was the most work, and I rather think it had some of the cooler designs), and I'm not surprised to see "the Other Side of Space-Magic" doing well.  It had several reshares and was mentioned in quite a few comments.  That particular version of the Dark Side of the Force seems particularly appealing to quite a few people.

The most +1ed were
  1. The Force as Space Magic
  2. The Other Side of Space Magic
  3. The Force as Chi
  4. The Faith of Psi-Wars
  5. The Mysterious Power of Psi-Wars
The above rankings are somewhat arbitrary: The Force as Space Magic topped out at +6, making it one of the most liked posts I've ever written.  The next three are all +4, and then there's a mess of +3s, and I chose the most commented on.  Interesting, these are almost all theory articles, discussing the idea of these powers, rather than the specifics of their execution, with the exception, again, of the Other Side of Space Magic.  Here too, we see a broad array of interest, which doesn't surprise me.  Everyone had an opinion on how to treat the Force, and I knew that going into it, which is why I didn't sit down and say "This is so!"  but "This could be so."  I hoped that some people would see my ideas, and run with it.

What I'll find interesting is how the community will react once I've made my choice.  On the one hand, I can see a dwindling of interest (The more specific my work becomes, the less people can use it as a generic aid to their own work), or increased interest (the more detailed my work becomes, the more usable it is for people who want to simply run it without doing the work themselves).  Time will tell.

My biggest sources of traffic were:
  1. SJGames
  2. Dungeon Fantastic
  3. Google+
  4. Facebook
  5. Gaming Ballistic
Dungeon Fantastic shot up to the top of the charts.  Whenever that goes nuts, I like to dig around Peter's site, to maybe see if he's mentioned me or linked to me and that's what's driving the traffic, but no.  It seems it's entirely coming from a sidebar he has which lists blogs.  That is, people are reading my stuff from his site because they think it's interesting, and the traffic is coming from that site because a lot of people go to his site.

Google+ beat out Facebook again (there's a huge spike in the android version of Google+, which I suppose means more people are reading me on mobile devices), but I think it also speaks to the strength of the Google+ gaming community.

But the winner is, as always, my thread on the SJGames forum.  I think the vast majority of my readership simply clicks through that when they want to read.  I do get a few direct searches... though one, sadly, was "effect of Gods Divine Favor on my life".  I suspect that poor soul was disappointed by his click.  Or he's not just religious, but also a Star Wars fan!  Who knows.

New Projects

In the course of inspiring the Gentleman Gamer, I was inspired in turn, and started up a new series on my currently defunct Nobilis game.  It seems to have an entirely different sort of readership, which doesn't surprise me.  I'm not sure how my audience takes it, yet, but I will note that Kenneth Hite (yes that Kenneth Hite) left a comment on my blog.  I'd like to think I comported myself well in my return response and kept my fanboyishness to a minimum.

A Total Retrospective

I decided to start this blog 6 months ago.  I intended Psi-Wars to be "quick," and it hasn't been, and for that, I apologize, as it may give the impression that this stuff takes longer than it does.  I do have a love of theory and research, which I'm afraid have spilled out into my blog as I expose more of my process, and that has slowed stuff down.  I have, however, written nearly three months ahead (I have posts scheduled into September as of writing this post), so if you actually look at the time it took, remove the time taken from writing a bunch of unnecessary posts, I think I would be done and ready with my setting by now.  Six months from start to finish for a full "quick bash" campaign, complete with templates, new power frameworks, a new spaceship rule set, etc, isn't so bad, I think.

Has it benefited me?  Yes.  I've enjoyed writing much more than I thought I would and it's generated a lot of useful material, and it's building a following and comments.  But better, it's encouraged at least one other person to take up the torch as well.  I haven't heard if this has helped crystalize any campaigns just yet, but I do see hints of it here and there in some comments.

I think it was a good direction to go.  It's a shame that some of my other ideas have lain fallow, but we'll get to them soon enough.
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