Blaugust Day 11: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Traffic and Love the Comments

Ysharros over at Stylish Corpse has been wondering about Blaugust’s impact on everybody’s blog traffic.

It seems the general consensus is that there has been an uptick in traffic from Blaugust, if only from posting every day and getting those daily views as a result.

As usual, our well-loved blogosphere contrarian Bhagpuss pops in with the diametrically opposite finding that his traffic has taken a hit the moment Blaugust started (whereupon we can surmise that he’s been hogging the eyes for most of the rest of the year. Yarrr. Do share. Kidding.)

It seems therefore fitting that I should turn up with the absolutely bland, neutral, middle-of-the-road conclusion that Blaugust has had very little effect on my traffic as a whole.

I am a fairly visual person, so I need to post supporting diagrams and such.

Since I don’t want to make anyone, especially during Blaugust, feel inadequate (or conversely, feel extra bolstered in ego at my expense 🙂 ), I have excised the numbers and only want to deal with trends and patterns.

(I post actual numbers only once a year, when WordPress provides their handy yearly summary, if anyone is curious on that front.)

Here’s the recent weekly graph:

weeklystats

If anything, the most startling thing is the fact that my pageviews have remained fairly constant, even through my dead silence in July.

Well, ok, you can see a dip there and a stable plateau, which suggests my actual regulars haven’t checked in when I stopped writing.

On the whole, regardless of if I write daily or every few days or sporadically or not at all, I’ve been getting a constant stream of traffic from elsewhere, that pretty much drowns out any day to day trends.

Honestly, I think three quarters of them are probably bots.

The last quarter are probably some poor souls who typed in a phrase into Google, and saw one of my clickbait headings look interesting and click through, to either read that page only, or have their eyes glaze over with the wall of text and just as hastily leave. (I’ll count it as a win.)

The good news is that I don’t feel compelled to do anything, one way or the other. I’ll write what I want to write, when I want to write it, and let the stats fall as they may. (They’re probably still all bots anyway.)

Well, no, there’s one type of reader that I’m fairly confident are human, and come in very high quantities. The guide-seeker. The walkthrough hunter. The “Let Your Fingers and Google Do the Gaming For You” subset.

stats2015

Here’s my current 2015 blog stats, and the top ten most popular “posts.”

I apologize for those that hate algebra, but this was the best way to mask actual numbers and still show trends and popularity that I could think of, bright and early in the morning.

Let X be some number. You can pretend X = 10, or X = 100, or X = 500, whatever. (It’s not as high as 500. For sure.)

Posts about the GW2 jumping puzzle in the Silverwastes, getting better at WvW, Heart of Thorns beta screenshots and a random humorous Don’t Starve list scored about the same amount of views.

A post about my sinister necromancer build experiments and early days in Dry Top getting to Tier 4 scored 1.5X views, which suggests that people have been googling for sinister necromancer builds and dry top tiers (and probably getting rather disappointed when they hit my rambling musings, rather than a clear cut guide.)

Minecraft: Agrarian Skies – The Fires of Industry is also somewhat popular – I suspect that the release of Agrarian Skies 2 probably contributed to a sudden spate of Googling for tips. Admittedly, the post goes into quite some detail about all the simple machines I was building, so -maybe- it was a little helpful.

For guaranteed evergreen success though, I would advise blogging about how MMOs are dead.

Super duper popular topic. There’s TONS of people convinced the demise of the genre has already happened / is happening right now / will happen any day now and looking for echo chamber posts to support their point of view. Really, I don’t have to write a thing for the next year, and I think they will still come in droves to this post.

And yes, despite its slightly outdated nature (and the nagging voice in the back of my head that says I need to update it… someday), views are coming in, landing on, and hopefully staying on my magnum opus – a guide that took me ages to write, but felt had to be done. If only it helped just one person enjoy and appreciate GW2’s combat a little more, it would have been successful.

Admittedly, there was some calculated ulterior motive at work when I kept it as one gigantic page, instead of breaking it up into separate page subsections. Besides making it easier for people to save and read offline, I kinda wanted to encourage repeated visits and the channeling of all interested pageviews into this one guide page so that I would have an idea of total visitors, and accumulate pageview score into this one massive clunker of a post.

Working as intended.

The last interesting fact about 2015 is that very little of the popular posts were actually -written- in 2015. (The orange bar next to it indicates a post written in the year.)

I’ve been resting on my laurels and doing whatever the hell I want, really.

statsyearly

It is therefore entirely possible that my annual stats may not match last year’s peak, and I’m perfectly ok with that.

Over the past few years, I’ve gathered that most of my popular posts coincide with GW2’s Living Story updates (which we’ve been rather short of, in the year 2015, *coughs*) or updates in some other game that I happened to write about, and are usually guide posts of some sort.

That, or first impressions and opinions on (presumably fairly niche) games that I somehow managed to beat game journalism sites to the punch with (hurrah, timezones?), thus showing up in Google faster.

stats2014

If I get a sudden surge of unexpected traffic, it’s because someone somewhere popular Tweeted or Facebooked or somehow shared my post, and it contained a controversial opinion or a clickbait-style title, resulting in a sudden surge of Internet people burning with the desire to share just how I got it wrong. 🙂

(This usually results in me cackling to myself all the way to the stats bank instead.)

I also learned that the absolute best way for me to explode my usual pageviews is to write a useful ‘guide’ post and then shamelessly self-promote it to the GW2 Reddit.

stats2013

See? Nearly all ‘how to’ guides, with a few tongue-in-cheek or bitchy opinion posts or “accidentally stumbled on a Google search keyword without meaning to” ones.

Truth is, though, many of these accidentally popular posts are not the posts that have the most meaning to me, the ones that I’m proudest of.

(Well, a few I am happy with, if they fulfill their function and my intent as I was writing them.)

If I spent all my days catering to the whims of my traffic, my site would look and sound very very different. More impersonal. More ‘third-party’ guide information. And it wouldn’t at all make me happy.

I gain nothing with traffic and increasing pageviews anyway. This is a free WordPress blog. I pay zero cents. I get zero cents in return.

The possibly weird ads you may sometimes see at the bottom of each post are WordPress busy recouping their bandwidth lost through hits on my posts. I do not give one damn if you click them or block them or just put me in an RSS reader so that you never have to see them.

I find it a fair exchange for not having to worry about DDoS or hacking attempts or server upkeep and maintenance. WordPress can handle all that and just give me the space and tools to be creative and express myself.

-That- makes me happy.

I’m happiest sharing my screenshots of virtual places I find lovely: GW2’s Orr, Labyrinthine Cliffs, zone-defining screenshots, City of Heroes lookback, some from TSW, etc.

I’m proud of the verse and prose I sometimes find the occasion to write: “Love” Song for Tequatl, GW1’s Ozymandias, Missing the Magic of MMOs (and shamelessly stealing words from somebody else and rearranging them… kinda a good metaphor for MMO clones, come to think of it), Asura urban noir vignette, and the longest charr short story ever.

I’m content with the day-to-day rambling posts that fill the gaps in between the ‘masterpieces’ (intentional or otherwise) because waiting for inspiration to strike is a sure recipe for utter dead silence and a blank page.

And I’m cheered up when human readers to decide to leave a comment to let me know that they read and appreciated what I wrote.

Traffic? Pageviews?

Pshaw. They’re probably all bots anyway.

This post was brought to you by the letters B for Belghast and Blaugust, Y for Ysharros and Yet-Again-I-Forget-To-Add-This-Line-Till-Later, and the number 11.

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GW2: Asura Guardian Style

For lack of anything better to write about before the oncoming patch which we are anticipating with equal parts glee and trepidation – will my favorite spirit weapons ever attain more usefulness than being relegated to a PvE anything goes farming build? How badly are glamour mesmers hit by the confusion change and will those damnable mistform elementalists actually fall over and die for once? What other surprise are in store for us, etc…

… I thought I’d show off some of my lil asura’s heavy armor fashions.

Bear in mind, I like to dress up on a budget, and certainly cannot afford all Tier 3 cultural armor right now:

Me in my early days, contemplating an infallible murder scenario for the other guy's armor. Decided he'd turn around and kill me instead.
Me in my early days, in the standard crafted exotic armor, contemplating an infallible murder scenario for the other guy’s armor. Reached the conclusion he’d turn around and kill me instead and snuck away. (Picture courtesy of rich PiNK guy.)

Well, if you’re rich, abyss and celestial goes with anything and anything bright colored looks nice on the glowy parts of T3 asura armor.

For the rest of us, there’s still ways to look fancy and unique. I’ve seen a gladiator-sparta style gold/red asura running around, and a Marvin the Martian-colored one too. Alas, I forgot screenshots so you can imagine them instead.

This is actually my third set of armor. I was experimenting with different stat combinations and by the time I got around to the standard PTV gear, it was easier to just pick up the Orr Karma temple armor and be done with it.

winterkarma1
I like to think that it matches my chicken.

I had gotten tired of transmuting by this point (I only have a limited number of those crystals from map exploration, y’know) and decided to stick with the look, but try something different with the dyes. I also wanted something light colored to easily differentiate for myself which armor I was wearing when, as my other two sets are darker colored.

winterkarma2

winterkarmapalette

The brightest and most expensive dye in here is Winter Ice, which sets one back half a gold or thereabouts. I just happened to have it, so I used it for the skulls and the highlights.

Sea Ice is the main color, a very white-ish green that gives a tinge of sickly Orr, which feels rather appropriate for stuff that comes from Orr.

The last color is Blue Shade, which again I happened to have, and fits the ‘cool’ palette versus a more warm color. But I bet any dark chainmail-y color would be fine as a contrast too.

The one thing that’ll really set you back in terms of Asuran armor is if you’re a stickler for clipping. I gave up with helms because I like my asura’s ears and face showing. And ears sticking out of helmets with no visible holes is a big no for me. You could pick up a cultural helm, I guess, but they all look kinda daft to me except maybe T3, and that’s a 20 gold bomb right there. So much easier to hide helm and show off the snotty face I worked so hard on.

There’s one thing that pisses me off about the above armor set. My toes. They stick out. These shoes are not meant for asura feet. If they didn’t have spikes on and complement the rest of the set, I’d throw them out. But as of now, I just close an eye because I bought better stuff for the other two sets and I’m broke.

Here’s set number 2. The realistic dark-themed blue and grey gold-ish but dark and shadowy style.

invader1

invader2
It matches the day time Ascalonian Catacombs hammer surprisingly well.

It started out as an entire WvW invader armor set, because I’m, you know, broke, and spend all my days in WvW (which explains the lack of monies part) and looked very decent if basic when colored appropriately. I was especially fond of the shoulder and armguards.

But I had cultural T2 chest and leggings left over from my first vanity dress up set, and those toes sticking out of my boots pissed me off, so I bought the booties as well.

The coat sets you back 2 gold, but I think it’s worth it as it gives a bulkier power-armored look to the asura. The leggings may or may not be necessary, 1.5 gold. The 80 silver boots that actually fit my toes are pretty worth it too, imo, but you could probably do without if you don’t look at your asura’s feet much.

For sure, no one else will, they don’t even see most of an asura anyway, it’s you that will be looking at yourself most often. 🙂

invaderpalette
Colors: Tarnished Steel, Blue Shade and Burnished Steel. Super cheap dyes, but if you ask me, super sexy color complement too.

Now vanity set 3, or to be truthful, the first set I put together because I wanted to splurge a bit and look cool, while still on a “modest” budget.

darkangels1

The main goal here is the glow. And if you look really carefully, the main bang of the T3 cultural armor glow is from the shoulders and boots. Sure, every piece glows and adds to the effect, but I’m not -that- fucking rich. The protruding glowy bits are from the shoulder and boots. The boots, thankfully, are “only” 12 gold, but the very sexy shoulders will set you back 20 gold. (Ouch.)

It broke half my bank at the time, but it was worth it.

I cheat here and add the heavenly bracers from the GW1 Hall of Monuments rewards, because it also glows quite prettily. The downside is that it does clip. (But you know, no one looks that close at asura anyway.)

darkangels2

The chest and leggings are left as the standard crafted draconic armor. This, I must warn, does cause the sheathed weapon to clip the shoulders a little at the back. But well, if your weapon is out all the time, who’s gonna notice?

I had actually considered swapping in the T2 chest and leggings at one point, which I think would also look very good in compact bulky power armored fashion, and might avoid the clipping issue (not tested though, the T3 chest probably takes into account T3 shoulders, but egads, it’s 30 gold.)

Eventually, I decided I liked the slimness of the chest as contrasted with the bulky attachments, and the winged skirt/kilt/robe of the leggings grew on me. You see, I am a big Warhammer 40k fan, and the T3 asura armor looks a heckuva lot like very sexy space marines power armor for tiny people.

And while you probably could use any decent color complement on such sexy armor and have it look good, I decided to recreate a Dark Angels theme and color scheme, just to see if I could. Mainly dark green, cream/bone, robes, winged/angel stuff, red accents.

You can, and it even sorta kinda matches the red golem mini from the HoM.
You can, and it even sorta kinda matches the red golem mini from the HoM.

The main color is Emerald, which will set you back 28-30 silver or so, but it’s the best dark green I can find right now. The secondary cream color is Frosting.

Because of the mixed armor, the palette is a little more complicated.
Because of the mixed armor, the palette is a little more complicated.

The silver chainmail part is Frost, and I used a lighter Evergreen as the last chest color merely because I’d bought a bunch of cheap green dyes to find the best. You could make it Emerald with very little difference, but the Evergreen just makes it a little brighter.

The fun bit is the glow can be any damn color you want. I went for blue after a while, because guardian, y’know, and my other guardian is all red and fiery anyway, so it’s Sky dye because if you’ve spent this much on vanity anyway…

(The red was Salmon on the heavenly bracers to make it flamey and either Melon or Cantaloupe on shoulder/boots to match the red orange-tinted bracers. I haven’t been arsed to explore the red spectrum long enough to find an exact match for the golem, but it’s probably possible.)

And when I’m bored, I get to change colors like a Christmas tree.

orange
Random orange, probably Citrus.
Because I now have too many greens. This is Sprout, but Wasabi's a good light green too.
Because I now have too many green dyes. This is Sprout, but Wasabi’s a good light green too.
When in doubt, glow white. Winter Ice pulling double duty here.
When in doubt, glow white. (Or white blue.) Winter Ice pulling double duty here.