Hopefully you will have noticed the Competition Fund totaliser has changed, we are now at £42.79 having made £16.73 in the last 28 days! So that's great news, your efforts are certainly making the difference. Actually lets just take a minute to point out that's £16.27 in one month, something that previously has taken over one year! I'm not going to do a break down of which country did what because I'll be looking a little more into traffic and how that may have influenced the balance.
It does however suggest that as we're less than a quarter of the way to completing my target the competition will have to begin in earnest. Should I have another bumper month we could well have reached the £60 mark by my birthday which means entries for the competition really need to start coming in. So, as things are advancing quicker than expected I'm going to formalise a couple of things. I will keep checking the balance but given it could reach target at the end of February or more likely March I am going to provisionally state that competition judging will begin at the end of March and take place over April with the final decision being made then.
If funds are not sufficient I will adjust the dates. Equally if the deadline for submissions seems too tight please let me know and I'll push things back. But with things progressing so fast I wanted to start seeing entries and set some end point for folk to work toward. I'll take stock again midway through Feb and then promote this wider, which may well increase the click through [£3.78 got added to the fund on the 7th Jan, the day of my last update so that's definitely a catalyst]. Whatever extra is made I will put towards a second place prize which will be a £10 voucher for the hobby shop of your choice, I thought just a winners prize was a little unfair so maybe that sounds like a nice idea.
Now, tips for bloggers, hopefully this doesn't come across as egotistical, I know there's a lot of readers with their own blogs and these observations might be of use. This last month you can see from my stats below I broke my record for page views, finally smashing through the 30,000 page views in one month, sadly it then reconfigures the graph so it looks less impressive but it is cool to see 40,000 up there permanently though. However, you can see that there was a period prior to that where my page views weren't comparable with January or even my most popular period back when I was making my Skyshield and pimping the blog as much as possible on forums and social media. So my average fluctuates quite wildly and therefore you're probably interested to know what changed.
It was a combination of factors really. Predominantly is was the publication of my last Print & Play terrain template. These are always hugely successful and something I'll always endeavour to update the respective posts on forums to bring in traffic [and hopefully more entries to the competition]. So that added exposure on forums and social media really drove more traffic to the blog. On the day of publishing I got 900+ hits then the following day I shared it wider and got 3,236 with a further 2,570 the next day [you can also see on the map Rob Barnett clicking furiously in Alaska ;) ]
reddit you can see over 3000+ hits came from there in the last month. If I'm honest I still don't know what it is or how it works, they suggest you should operate a 1 in 10 posting formula where you post 1 item of your own for every 10 posts you debate other people but that doesn't seem the case, everyone's - 'look at my stuff'. Again I don't see it as a be all and end all, the traffic dissipates pretty quickly and I've only added a few extra followers since then so it's not going to continue at that level either. As an exercise in supporting the blog it was definitely worth doing. I was initially amazed at that first days stats then immediately realised how ridiculous chasing numbers was until midway through the month when I though you know I could break my record here, so I did but I'm over it now. As a test I even used reddit to promote Liam's blog and he went from a 100 hits to 809 in one day and he hasn't posted in 3 months!
So, if you're chasing numbers it may be worth giving it a go, whether it translates to regular followers or moves you up a level is debatable but I'd advise using it sparingly as I could see myself spamming it otherwise. Far better to grow your blog organically than constantly force-feeding it. Hope there are some interesting observations in there for you.