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Social Media for Young Cartoonists: Week 7, traffic reports

This is part seven of an ongoing project by the DW-WP interns Hilary Allison and JP Kim.  This summer, we’re pulling out all the “social media” stops to get our work seen and our names out.  It’s an experiment, and we’re documenting every step… so YOU can learn from our successes and failures.  Read Week 1 here.

Hilary Settles Her Counts

[X] Create a site map.

Last week, we found out that one way to boost Google ranking is by submitting a site map to Google. I used the free version XML-Sitemaps to generate a site map in under a minute.  The free version did NOT include “optional Images, Video, News sitemap components that could improve indexing of media content in search engines.”  A map that includes images is definitely something that, as a cartoonist, I need to make.  In the meantime, I’ve tossed this basic edition to Google’s webcrawlies, via Google Webmaster Tools. Just when you think you’ve used Google Everything.  What’s next, Google Tax Filer? Will the site map make a difference in my Google ranking?  Will a higher Google ranking help grow my audience?   Time will tell.  The latter question brings us back to last week’s overarching theme: Methods of Quantifying a Web Presence.  I came up with a list of stats, “Countables,” that I plan to pay attention to…

  • Twitter Followers
  • Tumblr Followers
  • Tumblr Reblogs
  • Google ranking
  • Visits
  • Pageviews
  • New Visitors
  • Returning Visitors
  • Average time spent by Visitor
  • “Likes”
  • Comments

For the this week, I planned to…

[x] Construct a Master Chart from the Countables List

Well, I ended up with two “master” charts.  Because at JP’s urging, I adopted Google Analytics as a tracker – and Google Analytics IS the Master of All Master Charts, exhaustively comprehensive, and as adaptive as water to a vast cabinet of differently shaped graphs.  Of course, only countables pertaining to my website are covered… visits, pageviews, new visitors, returning visitors, and average time spent by visitor.

To keep track of the REST (tumblr, twitter, and Google ranking), I made a spreadsheet:

Master List Spread Sheet

I decided these outlined stats are NOT worth the tedium of manual counting.

[X] Concoct Goals out of the Countables

It’s Saturday, and since registering with Google Analytics, NINETEEN WHOLE PEOPLE (or nineteen whole computers) have checked out my website.  Nineteen people is a measly audience compared to what I’m aspiring to attract… BUT, considering the measly amount of content my website so far contains… I feel lucky.

NEW LONGTERM GOAL: [  ] Increase weekly visits to 500.

This week’s 19-member audience consisted of—big surprise here—people interested in comics.  How do I know?  Google Analytics reveals “Comics” to be the most clicked-on page, followed by my comic Tatterhood.  Next likely is the page labeled “&”… must generate curiosity.

7 people arrived directly, typing in “HilaryAllison.net.”  Probably friends to whom I said, “Oh, I have a website now.”

6 arrived from this blog.  Thanks, readers!

3 clicked my name on their Twitter dashboards.

2 found me through the Sequential Artists Workshop blog.  (I contributed this article last week, about drawing on men.)

1 person clicked the link in my Twitter profile.

0 people found me via a search engine.

Right now, I have a 57.89% Bounce Rate… meaning that only 42.11% of my audience clicks on something before navigating away.

NEW LONGTERM GOAL: [  ] Reduce Bounce Rate to 20%.

This will require a more enticing welcome mat, I think.  More work on the design is in order. Now, what about returning visitors? If people like what they see, they’ll click around.  If people REALLY like what they see, they’ll come back, right?  At present, returning visitors make up zilch percent of my audience.

NEW LONGTERM GOAL: [  ] Increase Return Visits to 20%.

 

Q:  All This Counting!  All these statistics!  Tad overboard for beginners, doncha think?

A:  Is it absolutely necessary?  No.  Extremely helpful?  Yes.

For the sake of this grand experiment / blog series, I’m taking an extra analytical, cover-all-bases approach.  My site is barely off the ground, and I’m already taking measurements left and right.  I want to have ground-level atmospheric pressure defined, so that once I start flying, I’ll be able to calculate my altitude.  As we said last week, tracking this stuff is useful for setting goals, pinpointing your audience, and testing the effectiveness of promotion.  JP has an extraordinary case in point.

JP Hits the Audience Jackpot

JP: So last week I finally got around to uploading one of my comics on my webcomic tumblr. A day went by, and I was curious to see how many people actually viewed my comic.

2,798 visits?! RESULTS! HUZZAH! Incredibly unexpected results, but results nonetheless.

How did I get them? Very simply, actually. Well, there happens to be this fantastic social news website called Reddit. If you are familiar with Digg, it’s kind of the same idea. People come here to post and share links to cool, new things they’ve found. The best thing about Reddit s that it is made up of thousands of topic/interest-specific boards. I utilized this in two ways, the first, and the most obvious, was I scouted every comic/cartooning related board I could find and did my “upload whore” routine. I posted a link to my comic in about 5-6 different places.

The second way I utilized this was through my target audience. Now, finding my target audience was a process that took a bit of work. During the winter, I did a little bit of “market research” so to speak, and based on constant uploads to multiple boards, viewer response, intense peer critique, and a bit of a personal hunch, I determined that my biggest audience at the moment was (and still is) stoners.  So, I went to the stoner boards on Reddit, and I also posted links to my work there as well.  The result… over 2,000 views in a day.  Simple and effective. 2,000 views in a day may have been a fluke, and to be honest, I don’t really expect to have that many recurring visitors each week. For now, it seems like I’m going to be doing this on a weekly basis, but eventually, I’ll have to cease posting links on Reddit and see if people are actually returning on their own accord.

Next Week: Less Numbers, More Content!  The Power of Personas?

 

Past Installments:

Week 1  (Getting Started)

Week 2 (Setting Up Websites)

Week 3 (Twitter)

Week 4 (Building with Tumblr)

Weeks 5-6 (Part 1: Life Offline, Collaboration)

Weeks 5-6 (Part 2: Life Online, Counting)

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