Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Decline Part Two: Well It's Not Billy Idol's Fault

So after kvetching about MRML's first serious decline in visits (see HERE), I've been out digging up bones. Here are some random findings that I'm sifting through.

(Click to enlarge)

  • Google Analytics claims that "Billy Idol Live at Poplar Creek"* (See HERE) is my most popular post by a staggering 8 to 1 ratio**. This left me wondering, is Google Analytics fucked or is the world?
  • Further on the idea that G.A's the one all fucked-up, their July 2011 newsletter says, "Compared to a year ago, websites have seen reduced pages / visit, average time on site, as well as bounce rate ". No further explanation, just, "Everyone's numbers are down. The End."
  • Strangely, G.A.'s hard to contextualize stats, as opposed to Site Meter's, show no decline in my numbers at all.
  • G.A.'s bewildering numbers did confirm one suspicion, the precipitous decline in this blog's statistical fortunes are partly a result of the death of blog aggregator Totally Fuzzy, which was once my third largest source of referrals.
  • I also learned from Brushback that music bloggers all over experienced a rapid decline starting in May, which others have blamed on the rise of social media, primarily Facebook and The Tweety. So that's (at least) two for G.A. being fucked and one for the world.
  • One person mentioned that perhaps I've been a little too obsessive in my treatment of certain artists but that doesn't jive with how my two best months ever (March and April 2011) were almost exclusively dedicated to The Stranglers and The Rezillos respectively.
  • Another worry that I got mixed messages was about page loading time. I heard all sorts of estimates from normal to slow to extremely sloooow. Since then, I did a few touch-up (lost a side-bar or two, lowered the number of posts per page) and tried to reduce the number of videos. Feedback on loading time is still welcome.

So yeah I check Site Meter over ten times a day, most days. I'm not terribly proud of this tic but I won't deny that seeing this blog's visitor numbers die so suddenly has hit me hard. Sure, it's just numbers and this blog isn't just about how many people come here but this sad, little site involves an incredible amount of work. So, during times when the comments grow few (and they still sometimes do), my nervous system needs some kinda neuro-chemical reward to keep this giant time-suck from collapsing in on itself. I love blogging but at the end of the day I still need some proof that I'm not just Dancing With Myself.

* This despite the fact that downloads never passed 200, the visits the day it was posted were normal and it amassed a pleasant-but-not-overwhelming 15 comments.

** I write about Bob Dylan obsessively, not just because Dylan posts do well but because I'm...well...obsessed. Now if I had to boost numbers with weekly Billy Idol posts, I would, despite being kinda proud of that one post, commit blogocide.


  1. Hey Jeffen

    Definitely miss the old(and at times grumpy)Fuzzy.


  2. Just to add my two cents worth - although I may not like or be interested in some of your artists, I always check in on a regular basis mainly because of the sheer variety of stuff that you cover compared with some blogs - if you don't like something here, there'll always be something else along in a bit that you will!

    Knowing nothing about the GA, does that show stats from RSS feeds or is it just click-throughs to the site - that may skew the figures a bit.

    Bit unfortunate that it's not Billy Idol's fault, but, hey, you can't have everything!

    Keep up the good work...


  3. You get at least one visit a day off me. Keep up the good work

  4. I've never heard of this Totally Fuzzy thing.

    Load time is much improved. In fact, I didn't even notice it wasn't slow anymore until I read this post.

    Another thing that's funny -- Blogger took away everyone's ability to control the number of posts that show on their home page about a year ago. While you used to be able to set your home page to 20 posts, or 2 months, or whatever, now Blogger restricts it themselves down to 4 or 8 or 10 posts (depending upon your text/photo ratio). They said it was to "improve your blog's readership by making your blog easier to load, and increase your page-view numbers by encouraging people to click on 'older posts' to see the rest of your blog!", but it was obviously a measure to control total bandwith useage, or whatever the term is. EVERYONE knows that readers never click on 'older posts', or even bother scrolling down to see the bottom of the first page-- it was just a lie told by Blogger. WELL.. ever since this move to 'increase everyone's traffic'... what's happened? Did traffic go up? No! BLOG TRAFFIC IS DOWN! Way to go, Blogger! You've been proven wrong!

  5. CallPastorJerkfaceJuly 31, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    I'm always there for you buddy!

    Oh, and Redd Kross' "Phaseshifter" is totally worth owning...but it is lowest on the ladder of importance in comparison to the other RK titles I have.

  6. THanx for linking my blog and thanx for all your help! Let me know if I can ever do anything for you!

  7. Dude! I gotta ask if you derive income off your site. Otherwise, why the micro-managing and obsessing?

  8. keep on keeping on, this is a great blog :)

    i agree with you there is a dylan/punk link - maggies's farm for example is outright punk.

    i hardly comment, being shy...

    please, please can we have some 70's glam rock sometime - the internet is badly lacking in this which too was punk... some obscurities, b-sides maybe...


    derek in ireland

  9. Here's my bit:
    I, too, am a big Zimmy fan, so I love the Dylan stuff.
    While I may not go for some of the bands you do multiple blogs about, I never fail to check the posts. And when a band I love is one of those bands, I go nuts on collecting what you offer (if I don't already have). Did it with Social D., did it with Rezillos, to name two.
    You're bookmarked, so I check you every day when I have access. I work, often, 10 days at a time with no access, so I, for one, DO "check older posts" and "scroll to the bottom of the page". In fact, when I newly discover a blog that has the kind of stuff I like, I take the time to go through their entire history to see what I've missed (and hope the links are still active).
    Keep up the good work.
    C in California

  10. Doug
    I had no idea how much I'd miss the grump till he was gone!

    Glad you appreciate the variety. I know everybody picks and chooses what they read and/or download and as long as I've expanded people's tastes I'm a happy blogger.

    Neither Site Meter or GA take into account feeds but the numbers on the feeds have stayed stable so that doesn't explain too much...

    Bless you (and your namesake's crazy beard!)

    TF was a blog where you could leave a comment about what you had available for the day. It caused what I called "The Fuzzy Bounce", a sudden surge of hits depending on what you posted AND how well you'd explained it.

    As for Google's sudden change of policy that's no surprise - wait till they overhaul blogger to make it fit with whatever crackpot social networking package they come up with next.

    God bless you, man,
    Sounds like someone has a series on RK coming...

    Big Scott
    No prob.

    I'll see what I can do about some glam - was a huge Bowie/Sweet/Mott fan at one point.

    Glad to give you something to dig in when you get some time off work.

  11. a lot of terrible things can be laid at the feet of billy idol, so if you want to pile on, i doubt he'll mind or notice.

    i have no idea what data you can see, but i've not downloaded one dylan-related song and likely never will. i have no anger toward him, but i had older folk-loving siblings and had my fill of all things dylan long before the internet ever existed. i can appreciate i may be missing out on some interesting rarity or cover version, but there's more music in this world than i'll ever hear that takes priority. the leatherface binge is a good example - an artist i liked back in the day but didn't obsess over, and catching up on the more obscure releases and side projects grabs my attention.

    post what you like, it's your blog. discovering new music via friends and fellow-travellers, online and elsewhere, is the method i prefer (but if you're fishing for requests, thin lizzy and slow could use some attention).

  12. I'm always passing by, and even sometimes dropping in and borrowing your favourite things (thanks!) You've restored my love of fast and loud and so lovely, so bless you. Summer, though, one does try to get out, as the snow is getting nearer every day, so I may not stop in to chat too often. But I and all of us are out there and appreciative.


  13. You're doing great. Keep rocking it.

  14. Postbear
    Blame Billy!
    I understand that some people have no more need for Dylan or covers thereof.
    Now Slow were well covered when I began blogging but now might be a good time to re-visit their work

    MRML "Restoring your love of fast and loud" (love that slogan)


  15. The decline of traffic & comments has been a frequent topic on all of my favorite blogs lately, and has also hit home on my own little site. I not only agreed with you, but felt the same way, for some time...

    But it's since occurred to me that seeking outside validation for what I'm creating is exactly the opposite of one of the qualities I respect & praise the most in some of the musicians I feature. Writing a blog is a form of art, and the majority of the dedicated music bloggers tend to post about those underground bands- those "shoulda made it"s, that played because they loved it & it was inside of them, and at the end of the day it didn't really matter if no one was around to hear. I think we should view our own art the same way- and like them, if we're good enough, we'll eventually have a dedicated group of followers. Some already do, I believe you do here. The cliche of it being better to have a couple true friends than a large group of acquaintances applies even to the blogging arena, in my mind.

  16. Adelle
    Yeah it's not about popularity but the ever-upward narrative is seductive. And while I guess I want to want to keep the blog growing the comments have stayed pretty steady lately - not overwhelming but we do have a smart, curious band of readers here who are willing to make their views known.

    Thank you all.


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