Publish or perish is a term used in academia used to describe the notion that one must publish on a consistent basis to sustain their career and prestige within their institution and among their colleagues. The concept was no more apparent than tonight in a monthly review of this site’s statistics. I offer you this small snapshot:
The trend is not what you’d like to see in the normal development of a site. Notice that uniques, visits, and pages are all down by at least 50% this month compared to last month, this after a reasonably steady natural growth rate.
Upon further inspection the search engine traffic is right where is normally is, reader’s per post is within normal range, but the large disparity is that “other sites” category. The normally (normal for me anyway) largest source of traffic which is other sites, type ins, bookmarks, social media, etc.
Admittedly posting and quality of content has been down lately as other pressing needs and sites have become more important than this small blog but trend is an important lesson in web publishing. If you’re (by ‘you’ I mean I) are not putting forth the effort to publish new and compelling material you’re also not spending enough time on promotion of the material. What can be more of an example than a loss of nearly 100,000 pageviews in a single month? Blog type formats may be more susceptible to this as the content tends to be timely in nature and rely much less on search engines supplying the visitors than normal information or commerce type sites.
In all the ongoing discussion of Google search results, links, optimisation, etc I think what’s often lost in the discourse is a less than concrete concept of passion. When I write or publish something that I’m excited about I get passionate about it and I want to share that passion with other readers. Saying something you believe in isn’t enough you want others to hear it. Given the flakiness and uncontrollable nature of search refers I tend to promote ideas I’m passionate through other means and that can be seen in the site’s stats. It’s not all about Google when it comes to a site’s readership, involvement and ultimately conversion it’s about engaging the audience and bringing them to the site first.
I half expect to see next months search referrals to be down as well. With 100,000 less pageviews this month that’s 100,000 less chances for someone to be inspired to provide a link and share the information. Negative link acceleration on a site can be the death knell for it in the natural rankings and those tend to lag reality by a few weeks. It should be noted that the lack of publishing really started (or stopped as the case may be) in June and continued in July, only now is the fall out being able to be seen and graphed.
I’m not making any promises on being more engaging on this site in the near future but I have made a mental note of the affects of passionate involvement and hope to further cultivate that in other projects.