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The Blog Following Experiment is Complete!

Well, my people, I’ve done it! I have completed the year long blog following experiment! Can you believe that a year has already passed? Where does the time go so quickly?! For those of you that are unfamiliar with this experiment of mine, allow me to explain. As many of us do, I got really frustrated following blogs that would suddenly stop, or disappear.  I started to do some online researching (because, well, that’s what I do!) and some of the articles I found were… eye-opening. Like this post from Hellbound Bloggers which states that ‘…out of every 100 newbie bloggers, around 90 hang up their boots even before enjoying a trivial amount of success’. (Singhal, Harshit, 23 April 2017) or this beauty from the New York Times which cites a 2008 survey by Technorati and says ‘only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs that the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to roughly 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned…’ ( Quenquay, Douglas,5 June 2009) I kept telling myself, that this can’t just be true! So, I decide to do a little test for myself. You can find the full blogpost here explaining this whole process.

Results:

  • I followed 1000 blogs at random for 12 months:
  • Sites remaining after 1 year: 480 = 48% of total
    • Of those 480 sites, 346 had been updated within 7 days.
  • Month 1: 80 sites removed in February, which hadn’t updated the site in 2 months,  8% of total
  • Month 2: 95 sites removed in March, which hadn’t update in 2 months. 9,5% of total
  • Month 3: 0 sites removed in April. 0% of total. This has my attention. What’s happening in April?
  • Month 4: 25 sites removed in Maj, which hadn’t update in 2 months. 2,5% of total
  • Month 5: 23 sites removed in June, which hadn’t updated in 2 months. 2,3% of total.
  • Month 6: 35 sites removed in July, which hadn’t updated in 2 months. 3,5% of total
  • Month 7: 29 sites removed in August, which hadn’t updated in 2 months. 2,9% of total
  • Month 8: 23 sites removed in September, which hadn’t updated in 2 months. 2,3% of total
  • Month 9: 33 sites removed in October, which hadn’t been updated in 2 month. 3,3% of total
  • Month 10: 26 sites removed in November, which hadn’t been updated in 2 months. 2,6% of total
  • Month 11: 50 sites removed in December, which hadn’t been updated in 2 months. 5% of total
  • Month 12: 83 sites removed in January, 2019, which hadn’t been updated in 1 month or more. 8,3% of total
  • 18 sites were formatted where the posting dates were unavailable/hidden. 1,8% of total

Analysis: 

Although my small, unprofessional experiment shows that 52% of the blogs I followed were left abandoned within the year. This is a large difference to the 75%-95% of failing blogs that I read about.

It does seem to my mind that the reports were accurate in that the larger percentile of blogs left abandoned were within the time frame of the first 3-6 months of the blog’s creation.

Surprisingly, there seems to be an interesting pattern regarding the time of year. This may be entirely coincidence, but it seems that a higher percentage of blogs are ‘abandoned’ during the winter months. I very much want to know why April seems to be a magical month for blogging! Not even 1 blog was left unattended for the 2 month limit during the month of April. Which tells me that something is happening during March/April that is affecting blogging motivation. This may warrant further study, as I am unable to stop thinking about it.

34,6% of the total blogs studied had updated within 7 days of the end of the experiment. Many (but not all) of these blogs have an excess of 1000 followers. This could be approached from the view that more followers, leads to more blogging focus. OR that higher blogging focus leads to more followers. Either or neither could be true.

Methodology:

  • Follow 1000 blogs directly from the reader in a range of topics at varying times of day. I didn’t read them, I just hit the follow button on the top few posts under each topic. Wait several hours and repeat so as to gain a variety of nationalities. This lasted several days.
  • Once monthly, I would remove the blogs that had not been updated in 2 months. I would collect data and record it in experiment excel file. (colour-coded by month unfollowed)
  • On January of 2019 (the final month of the experiment) I removed all blogs which had not been updated in 1 month or more. Data was collected, recorded & coded in excel file.
  • On January of 2019, I recorded data as well on all remaining blogs that had been updated within 7 days.
  • Recorded data counted and recorded in above ‘results’ section

Methodological issues that could result in false data:

  • I was unable to give accurate monthly updates, as I first thought I would be able to. This is due to the fact that 1000 blogs is ALOT and when you go ‘manage blogs’, I noticed that only part of them would display. Even when I waited patiently, changed the order…It still could not display the entire list. This also needs to be taken into account when considering the things that could have affected the outcome of my experiment.
  • Blogs followed were followed directly from the reader > discover > tags section. As it would distort data to include some languages, but not others, I used only english language in the tags search (as it seems to be the most widely used language on this platform). This has limited the control group to blogs written in the english language.
  • 1,8% of total blogs followed did not show (on my reader or their sites) the date of last update. So there is a 1,8% unknown variable

So this is what I have found, people. I did invest much time into this experiment and I hope that I was able to offer some data that you find interesting. There are some surprises in this which I think may warrant further investigation.

Thank you for reading and you are welcome to share this if you wish.

-Mliae

*Sources:

Pixabay, Feature photo

Quenquay, Douglas, ‘Blogs Falling in an Empty Forest’ New York Times, 5 June 2009

Singhal, Harshit, ‘5 Reasons Why Most Bloggers Quit Blogging Within 6 Months’ Hellbound Bloggers, 23 April 2017


*This blog experiment was a small-scale, personal experiment for blogging/entertainment purposes which should in no way be considered as professional, publishable data.

58 Comments »

  1. WOW! All the statistics you came up with are pretty remarkable! And shows that doing a blog takes A LOT of PERSEVERANCE!
    Your blog is so versatile, interesting and humorous! So I am glad you are stil blogging. And how odd that April is the magic month.

    • Wow! Well thank you so much! Blogging does take a lot of work. I think part of the reason blogs are left abandoned is because perhaps some people think that it only entails writing and publishing. Then when they realize how much work is actually required, perhaps it just doesn’t seem like such a high priority?
      That April thing is really quite strange. It is still nagging at my brain, so I know that I will be trying to figure out what that is about.

    • I did. I really did put a ton of hours into this. I am glad I did though, because the results are actually quite interesting!
      Thank you dear for the commendation and big hugs to you! 😀

  2. This was quality reading and so, so, so interesting! I haven’t been blogging year yet so I am excited to see whether I notice a similar spike in April in terms of my own productivity and in those of the blogs I follow. You presented the data in such clear terms and I genuinely found it a great read 🙂

    • Wow, thank you so very much for your kind words! Honestly, this makes the time I invested into this, totally worth it knowing that my fellow bloggers like you enjoyed the information. Thank you!
      I know that April is more than a few days away. But if you happen to think about this in March/April and notice a difference in your own blogging habits or those that you follow, it would be very cool if you would let us know! That April thing is just so strange. I’m very curious as to any insight you could offer.
      Thank you again 1000 times!

      • I will!! Honestly it was one of the more interesting things I’ve read on WordPress – possibly because it is so different to what I usually read – so I am unlikely to forget it. I hope I do notice a difference; it would be a fascinating insight.

      • I am unlikely to forget you! You just said everything a blogger dreams of hearing, in this comment. Love it. Thank you so much!
        It would indeed be a fascinating insight. I’m thinking March may have something as well, since all the updates for all the blogs were done sometime over those 2 months. I guess we will find out in say….5 weeks!

  3. I remember discussing this project with you a year ago! I’m so glad you did it and you did it so well! Your stats and explanation of how you tracked it are so great! Thanks for doing this and I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    • Hello there and welcome back! Thank you so much for you very kind words! I love hearing that I did well 😀 Thank yoooooouuuu!
      I’m so happy to have been able to see this project through. I was quite curious to see what results this would bring. You are very welcome. I’m so curious about these things myself, so I guess this is my most exciting (for myself) kind of blogging. Now we just have to select the next project to start-up. Any suggestions?

  4. Interesting and actually a very professional student study in terms of blogs, perhaps sociallicagocally. Or in terms of human behavior and activity., perhaps culturally ‘blog culture’ as well.

    • Thank you! 😀 You are right, it’s so weird when they just vanish, isn’t it?
      Perseverance did indeed pay off in this circumstance! I love that 🙂

  5. Oh, brother, now I’m nervous. Did she or didn’t she. I was dropped by girls I tried to date when I was a kid. Now, am I being dropped as an adult because I did t write enough? Oh, brother, a two time loser. Nah, she wouldn’t…or, would she?

  6. Reblogged this on Blogging Meetup and commented:

    For my blogger friends here, a small study I performed over the last year about the average blog ‘lifetime’. Sharing if anyone is interested in reading the results.

  7. The results are crazy! And the amount of work you put into it even more! Respect! Well I have to say the past year wasn’t a good year for me. I indeed didn’t post in the winter period even though at the beginning of 2018 it was my best period. I somehow started slacking in may because of personal issues I was encountering. I gave it another try in June, but abandoned it during the summer months (for which usually my stats are generally lower)…I tried again in September-Oktober, but it was such a busy month (personally and professionally), I couldn’t get into it. And now I’m back… While I didn’t post anything during the winter months, I did write a lot… I just didn’t feel like I should be posting just yet… Sometimes, you need to jump on the train on a good moment… xoxo Sarah

    • Hello Sarah and thank you so much for this comment! Your honesty is appreciated. And it allows more insight into why these things happen. I have to look at my own stats now and see if they are noticeably lower in the summer months also. I think they will be. Weird. Guess everyone is out playing in the sunshine?
      Thanks again girl, You rock!

    • Interesting! I just compared my stats too, & they do a free-fall in the summer months also. Seems to start climbing back up about September – October.

      • You’re welcome girl! My best stats are usually at the beginning of the year (when the resolutions are fresh, I’m guessing) and around spring. And no matter how much articles I write in summer, July and August are very calm… And it starts to go up again starting September & Oktober. Surprisingly for me, the winter months are quite good (except if I don’t write much, that is). But overall, I think people are more looking for inspiration and motivation before and during the holidays…

      • That does sound logical. Yeah. I don’t give so much attention to my stats, but I kind of have to know that you’ve brought this to my attention. Really, the weather was the only reasoning that came to my mind. But you are correct about the resolutions time. Also, this blooms (?) phenom which I really do not understand.
        What’s happening in March/ April? Do you know? That April thing really surprised me and I want to understand…. At least I do have you telling me that you have noticed it with yourself then also – stats. Maybe we should do a post and ask everyone if their stats fit the pattern. Think anyone would answer?

      • I think it would be an interesting post. I could write one for next week… (this week, I already have everything scheduled). But I have my theory on December and April. 50% of my readers are from the States, 20% UK, 20% Belgium and the rest is all around the world. And I pretty much think that the December and April peek has something to do with studying. In Belgium we have exams after the holidays and in April we typically start studying for the exams… I was a student myself 6 years ago and I remember vividly that during these periods, I would watch youtube vids and read blogs… I also think that the big chunk of blog readers are students… I could be wrong. It would definitely be interesting to gather people’s thought on this. Not sure whether a lot of people will answer, but it’s a fun and interesting topic…

      • You could be right in this. It is a very good theory! In EU, yeah, that’s the studies/exam time. But December, blooms and all of that. There has to be a correlation there somewhere. Do you know your age demographic for your followers?
        You should do a post on it. When you do, please let me know and I will reblog it here also (if that’s okei). We will get to the reasoning on this, my friend! 😀

      • Great, I’ll write it this weekend and post it on Friday next week :). I have no idea how old most of my readers are. 20% is from WordPress and obviously has a blog. But all the rest are occasional readers. So it’s definitely going to be a challenge to get the info. But we can always try :). December not only has something to do with students, but also with people looking for fun original gifts, decoration and food idea’s. Overall it’s also the period that people have vacation but aren’t leaving their house, because it’s the period to celebrate with your family…

  8. Furthermore, I’m convinced that in July and August it’s a calm period not only because people are on holiday, but the most students are either studying for their retake of the exams OR they are working somewhere to earn extra cash… In April we have 2 weeks of Eastern vacation and that is usually used for “studying”. Though I must say, I was more on Youtube and blogs than with my nose in the books…

  9. I think I was almost quiting blogging my self until I saw my wordpress domain bill came in last month. I just realised I have been idle from blogging word for 6 months. What did I do? Well instagram is now more interesting, you got more likes in instance without need to spare time to write or turn on your writing mood. The first day in 2019 I came back blogging I wrote a comment to wordpress.com (and never got a return from them obviously). I forgot what I wrote them exactly but I said I think WORDPRESS should do more effort to promote their bloggers to be more wellknown and get more visitors. Once, I had discussion with a friend of mine who works for facebook and instagram, I asked her why facebook doesnt have any help/customer center like wordpress. Then she simply said, well we had millions user unlike wordpress, so can you imagine if we have customer center?Then, I felt like I’ve got slapped and got her point, facebook/ instagram does promote their good users, and they even help them to get famous, so of course by doing that they also get more users. What did I do now, I create an instagram account for my blog in order to get more traffic on my website. This what I got on stats, I opened my instagram account since last friday evening, it’s been almost 4 days I posted a glimpse of article I wrote on my blog, since then I’ve got 36 followers. I used wordpress for 7 years know, I only got 73 followers since then. I also did another experiment, so I followed WORDPRESSDOTCOM on instagram, I put hashtag #wordpress #bloggers I wish they will like my post / follow me / something. In a result, I got nothing. Meanwhile I mentioned a restaurant that I visited and I got like from them + got them to follow me rightaway. I mean come on, wordpress has 62.6 K followers on instagram, if they mention / promote once /three times a day their users, this might help your loyal users to get motivated to write, am I right?

    • You mention a good topic. I have heard of many bloggers who prefer instagram to blogging for the same reasons you mentioned above. I can understand it, totally. Me? I am not so good with social media. I prefer to write it out, and my photos are quite horrible :/ So I think that blogging here fits me better.
      I do like your idea about the WP insta account promoting their followers posts several times a week, that would be a really good promotional tool! Did you suggest that to them?

  10. March and April are the months where schools and universities have their summer hols, at least in India. So that could be a factor. Thanks a ton for this educational post! Great read.

  11. Somehow, I missed seeing this post until now. Very interesting data. I’m frustrated by the fact that many of the blogs I follow never show up in my reader feed, so it was interesting to see that you had the same experience. Aside from making a list of the blogs I follow and then physically visiting them (i.e., not relying on the reader feed) I don’t know how to make sure I see all their blogs. I thought it was because I’m not very computer savvy, so I’m somewhat relieved to know that I’m not the only person having an issue with this. On the flip side, it does seem like in this day and time WordPress could do a better job of keeping up with the blogs I follow. LOL!

    • Thank you! Really, I am happy that you took the time and visited the post that I am so proud of. It was a lot of work, but I just kind of had to know and not from reading what facts people are regurgitating from what they’d read.
      Its true. There seems to be a magical number of followed blogs (still unknown) that will show on the manage followed blogs page. Maybe like 200-300? I don’t know. I don’t follow so many anymore. Only the ones I truly enjoy reading. 😉

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