It’s been just over two years – 26 months, to be precise – since I established Common by Nature as a place to share my thoughts and views on the natural world. In that time, I have covered issues ranging from Hen Harrier persecution, squirrel conservation and farmland bird declines, to fox hunting and predation of Capercaillie chicks by Pine Martens. Opinion articles interspersed by frequent forays into traditional, nature writing, lighthearted posts regarding much-loved species and, of course, a number of excellent guest blogs. In total, I have posted 280 times over the time specified above – frequency now increasing due to the realisation that posting a veritable hotch-potch of topics, much as I do here, is perfectly acceptable. And actively preferable to constantly dwelling on serious, disheartening issues.
Now, while bloggers have a tendency to get hung-up on viewing figures, I have always taken the view that such things do not matter in the slightest if, like me, you enjoy what you are doing. Or writing about. I still believe this to be true; though from time to time, it is nice to check in and see how things are progressing. This, however, has a tendency to leave me bewildered due to one simple fact: I have no idea how to measure the success of a site such as this. Especially given the niche nature of the field.
What I do know, however, is that in the 26 months I have been blogging, my site has been viewed a total of 81k times, with 50k unique visitors. That’s roughly 3026 views per calendar month throughout that time. My column on Wildlife Articles – where I also share most of the blogs you see featured here – has fared moderately better. Clocking in at 119k views and an average of 4576 views per month. To many of you, these figures may not seem impressive (paultry even, when compared to other, well-known environmental bloggers), yet I cannot help but feel satisfied with them. To date, I have posted at a rate of only 10 blog additions per month and it is heartening to see that such scant content is still read and enjoyed.
While I am pleased to see blog readership creeping up over time – blogging is a long game – I am equally thrilled to notice a few interesting trends in said readership. Namely, the tendency for certain readers to visit on multiple occasions – demonstrated by the quite substantial difference between page views and unique visitors. Drawing readers back is something most bloggers strive to achieve, and I am delighted to see this happening here.
Equally interesting is the shift in traffic sources. Where once, social media platforms (particularly Twitter) dominated when it came to driving traffic in my direction, they are gradually giving way to search engines. Meaning that my content is now becoming increasingly listed, or at least, searched for by some as yet unknown individuals. Indeed, this year alone Google Searches have driven 1k individuals to this site. I wonder if this is due to a growing grasp of SEO practices, or genuine interest? I would like to believe in the latter.
There have been changes in the demographics of my readership too, though these are of less importance. While my core audience remains British – to be expected – 2018 has seen 2180 visits from the USA and smaller amounts from Canada, Australia and various European countries. I wonder why?
Like most bloggers, I assume, I cannot help but smile when I see my figures and reach improving. It is rewarding to know that many people enjoy my content. Whether they agree with it or not is another kettle of fish entirely but visitors are free to agree, disagree, like and dislike as they please. Such is the nature of blogging.
I have gained an awful lot from Common By Nature over the last 26 months – not least finalist spots at the UK Blog, Northern Blogger and Living North Awards, as well as a number of commendations by BBC Wildlife Magazine, writing opportunities, conference invites and speaking opportunities. For these, and the confidence and motivation to keep writing, I thank everyone who has read, visited, shared and commented on my site thus far. If the figures are to be believed, 2018 looks set to be a record year here and I hope that I can at least hold your interest a short time longer.
This blog will doubtless never achieve the same level of success as others in the field, but given its roots as a small town nature blog, operated by a (now former) student with only a moderate (yet growing) level of expertise, I think I am holding up rather well. And that is down to all of you.