The Cyberbrethren Blog – The Year in Review
It’s kind of interesting, once a year, to review activity on the Cyberbrethren blog. It been many years since I started blogging, following many years prior to that sending out notes to an ever expanding e-mail list. It got so large back in the mid-1990s that the computer department at the International Center said I was clogging up the LCMS server system whenever I sent out a message to the Cyberbren mailing list. Times certainly have changed, and I’m sure today it would hardly be an issue, but that is one reason I moved over to a blog, rather than a mailing list.
My first blog was hosted through WORLD magazine, when they asked a group of pastors to blog for them, calling us, coincidentally enough, their “blogging pastors.” I did the whole Lutheran thing for them and they featured Evangelicals and some hard-core Calvinists, who amusingly went into apoplexy each time I posted any sort of image of Christ on my blog. I recall with particular amusement these two Calvinist brothers, both pastors, seriously discussing how even taking family photos may well be a violation of the “Second Commandment.” WORLD Then I set up a blog using, oh, I can’t even remember what I was using. I think I might have started with Blogger then moved to a WordPress blog, but then friends convinced me I need to have my own web site and got me all set up with a WordPress installation with my own domain name, and it’s been going well since, thanks to friends like Ryan Markel who got me set up and running, and then Norm Fisher who has helped since.
I try to provide a mixture of devotional content, reflection on culture/society and current issues facing the Church and, of course, I feature new Lutheran publications from Concordia Publishing House.
So, how many visitors did Cyberbrethren receive? Last year over 500,000 people visited Cyberbrethren, around 1,500 per day or so.
Where do they come from? An interesting change has been happening, confirming my conviction that blog sites now are best seen as extensions of a person’s social networking presence, rather than stand-alone sites. Why do I say this? I’ve been watching traffic sources to the Cyberbrethren blog for years, and I’m noticing an ever increasing source of traffic is, yes, Facebook. No big surprises, but interesting nonetheless. “Organic” Google searches still account for 52% of the incoming traffic, but Facebook is the source of over 30% of visits, and given Facebook’s newer ways for people to “subscribe” to your Facebook page, without being your “friend.” No doubt, this will continue to grow. Facebook is also, by far, the largest source of referrals to my blog site. Confirming what I’ve long thought about Twitter, it only accounts for 11% of referrals, but I’m going to be making more use of hash tags in the new year, so we will see what impact that has on Twitter referrals. But, without a doubt, Facebook is a blogger’s best friend, far more than Twitter or any other social networking source. No surprise, really, considering how Facebook thoroughly dominates social networking applications at this point.
What was the day with the highest traffic on the blog? The day I posted comments about Steve Jobs’ death. Interesting.
Pageviews? Definitely not a great way to gauge visits to the blogs, but on Cyberbrethren last year, approaching one million page views. Again, page views are somewhat meaningless and those who use them to try to promote their blog sites don’t know what they are talking about.
How about the “audience” visiting Cyberbrethren? Interesting statistics here as well. Visits were received from 220 countries. I didn’t even know there were 220 countries in the world. I thought there were only around 195 countries. Where/what is Vanuatu and Kiribati? No surprise that the vast majority of my visitors come from the USA, followed by Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, the Philippines, then Germany. Mostly English speakers visiting.
What kind of hardware/software/devices are people using to visit Cyberbrethren? Very interesting to see how Firefox has really been eating Explorer’s market share, with Explorer now down to 32.4% of user’s browsers, and Firefox at 28.9. Safari was used by nearly 21% of visitors. How about operating systems? Pretty typical, 70/30 percent split between Windows and Mac. The more interesting statistic is looking at Android v. iOS. Apple continues to dominate here with iOS visits coming in from 5.33% of visitors, compared to only 1.96%. But, overall, visitors to the blog tend to use desktop and laptop computers to visit, as opposed to mobile OS devices. It’s interesting to notice that when it comes to devices being used to visit, iPad accounts for the most, followed, somewhat closely, by iPhone, then a large “not set” group…who know? Probably Apple, I would suspect, then iPod, then T-Mobile Garminfone, then Motorola DroidX….but get this, 214 different devices were used to visit the blog. 214!!
So, just some interesting information you may, or may not, find of interest.
Thanks for reading the Cyberbrethren blog.