400 – behind the Scenes 12


Welcome to Bleistift’s 400th blog post.

As this is kind of an anniversary post I want to give you a quick behind the scenes look. The last post like this was 1½ years ago. It was the 5 years Bleistift – behind the scenes post.

Visitors (actually sessions) in the last year, by country.

Visitors (actually sessions) in the last year, by country. Can you see the smudging? That’s why I don’t like soft leads.

Statistics

The countries where the visitors come from (measured by Google Analytics) has hardly changed. Spain is not as strong anymore, but Australia is much stronger now.

Last time I looked at visitors, this time I want to look at page views (measured by WordPress). Bleistift gets around 6,000 – 9,000 page views a month. I am not sure how many of these are real, as I get around 20 spam comments a day – so I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of pageviews be real humans is a lot less per month. I guess you can deduct 1,000 for spam bots etc.

Sites that send most visitors to Bleistift are in a similar order than what you have seen last time, but Lexikaliker is now the strongest site, followed by Pencil Revolution and The Pen Addict – with all three sites sending nearly the same number of visitors to Bleistift – the difference is ~5%.

 

Size

How does this compare? Well I think it is safe to say that Bleistift is a tiny blog, based on the fact that in comparison the numbers are tiny and that Bleistift isn’t on the radar of many people in the stationery community, so you usually won’t find it on the list of pencil blogs, e.g. at The Well Appointed Desk, My Pencils Draw Worlds or on sites like Pennaquod.

The semi-professional blogs have huge numbers in comparison. Number 1 must be The Pen Addict, with over 1 million page views per month. Other geographically closer blogs from the UK, like Pens! Paper! Pencils! with more than 20 thousand page views per month are also several times Bleistift’s size.

 

Cost

Bleistift is an amateur blog, but nevertheless I am lucky enough to have received freebies for reviews in the past, mainly from The Pen Company, who have sent me four different mechanical pencils over the last years – in return for writing reviews of these pencils for their blog. They also gave me permission to post these reviews on my own blog as long as I use a special code in my post that will let search engines know that the review on their blog is the original and my blog post is the duplicate (This is common in Search Engine Optimisation). Well, keeping this in mind I have to say that value of the freebies I got (excluding swaps with friends) is even a bit higher than the cost of the web site1.

 

The past and the future

In my opinion the stationery blogging landscape has changed a lot since I started. My impression is that stationery blogs used to be more about presenting (objective) information. Today most blogs seem to be more about expressing individual (subjective) opinions without much reference to where the second hand information, that is being presented came from. Obviously the number of stationery blogs is huge, so every reader will sample a different subset of posts and will see different patterns emerge in what they read… Your experience might be quite different to my subjective experience.

In terms of Bleistift’s posts I have again noticed that short blog posts are much more popular than long blog posts, measured by the number of comments. I think the reason is that every one is busy and there’s not much time for reading, so ‘fast food’ is more welcome. Some of my more work intense blog posts2 got hardly any comments, but short blog posts seem to be much more popular, so I might focus on shorter blog posts in the future. I haven’t decided yet.

 

Top 5

Before I finish. Here’s the Top 5 of Bleistift’s most popular blog posts. These older blog posts get visited again and again.

  1. Atoma vs. M by Staples’ Arc (Twice as popular as number 2 in this list)
  2. Sharpeners (Actually a page, not a blog post)
  3. Deli pencil sharpener 0635 (My favourite sharpener)
  4. KUM Masterpiece (That’s a surprise, I didn’t spent much effort on this blog post)
  5. The Kuru Toga – a disappointment (Bleistift’s very first blog post)

 

Thanks

Thanks for visiting Bleistift over the last 400 blog posts and hope to see you again (and again) for the next 400.

 

 

  1. This cost is the pencil.land domain and a SSL certificate. I don’t include the web hosting itself as I had it since the 1990s, long before Bleistift. []
  2. like Pimp my Rotring rapid PRO 0.5Affordable pencils or Zebra DelGuard []

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12 thoughts on “400 – behind the Scenes

  • Matthias Post author

    Thank you for your comments.

    Michael, nice to hear that you read the post in RSS. I assumed most people use it just for notifications. Just to add to the stats: daily daily average for the feeds are 436.

    Gunther, thanks – even though I feel I have to thank you as your blog completed my conversion from ‘mainly fountain pen’ to ‘mainly pencil’ and has given me countless moments of amazing discovery and happiness.

  • Sola

    Matthias, congratulations on your 400th post! I will continue to do my best in order to have Uruguay assigned its very own slice in the visitors’ pie graph next year 😉 I continue to reference your Sharpeners page once in a while and find the information well organized and reliable. Thank you!

  • Koralatov

    Congratulations on another blogging milestone, and thanks for continuing to write. I always enjoy your posts and perspective on the items you cover.

    I definitely feel like I learn less about the history and manufacture of stationery now than I did seven or eight years ago when I first took an interest and started reading stationery blogs. I wonder if blogs are moving to a more subjective tone because most of the low-hanging fruit in terms of information has been picked by now? A lot of the publicly available factual information has probably already been published, and most of what’s still unknown is probably either lost to history or a trade-secret.

    I generally find that the ‘professional’ blogs are far less interesting than the smaller, more personal ones. It seems the demands of running a business tend to file off the odd edges and character quite a bit, and I can never quite shake the feeling that a flood of freebie review items might colour a writer’s judgement.

    I’m another reader who reads mostly via RSS, though I’m also subscribed for email updates. I tend only to visit the site occasionally to catch up on comments or to leave comments of my own.

    Here’s looking forward to another 400 posts!

  • Jinnie

    Hello Matthias! Long time reader (via RSS) but first time commenter 🙂
    Congratulations on your 400 posts! Thanks for the wealth of information so far, and I’ll be looking forward to more. I think I came across your site first when I was looking for a good pencil sharpener. I now own two of the camera pencil sharpener (also on the lookout for Deli 0635).
    Statistics are I think fun to look at once in awhile but also a head-scratcher. I still don’t know why some of my posts are more popular than others. Anyway, thanks for sharing some of your stats and I can agree with your opinion that people are busier and perhaps shorter posts are more approachable. It’s something I’ll have to experiment with, too. 🙂

    Congrats again and here’s to 400 more! ?

  • Matthias

    Thank you very much for your comments.

    Sola, thanks. I am really looking forward to your future posts about stationery in Uruguay. There must be unusual stuff we’ve never heard of before 8^)

    Koralatov, thanks. The low hanging fruit idea is great. It might explain why the same ideas are often found again in different places. I feel there is still so much unexplored, I guess the problem is that there is so much information, that it is difficult to keep it all together. Pennaquod, the blog search, is an idea of making distributed information more accessible. I thought a stationery wiki might also be a good idea, I did set one up ( http://wiki.pencil.land/ ) but currently lack the time to make this a success. More than ten years ago I set up a comic wiki which is very popular in Germany with several thousand visitors each day, I guess my point is that this could work with some time invested in it, but I am not sure I will find the time at the moment to set up all the structures so that content is easy to fill in by anyone.
    I do like the big blogs as they are great for discover new items, but small specialised blogs about specific products are often more exciting if you have an interest in the products they look at, so it’s a great mix of discovering new things and getting details to satisfy the nerdiness….
    I did try RSS reading once, but somehow it didn’t work for me. Would you mind telling me which ‘reader’ are you using?

    Jinnie, thanks. I enjoy reading your blog very much. Especially after Koralatov gave me the County Fair FN a few years ago. Now that I got to know a few other FN editions, too, I still love the one I got from Koralatov most, I guess explaining why could be its own blog post.
    I use the camera sharpener and the 0635 regularly – I have one of each at home and in the office. I guess in my case the more popular blog posts are popular because more pages link to them. Which of your posts are most popular?

  • Hiro

    I am Japanese and love pencils.
    Your posts are very interesting, so I enjoy them every time.

  • Matthias Post author

    Strange, I commented here a few days ago, but the comment seems to have been lost. Just a very short version of what I wrote:

    Oliver, your illustrations of the Staedtler pencils look great! Thanks for showing us!

    Hiro, thanks, I’m happy to know that I have readers as far away as Japan.

    John, I am happy you like the posts. I also enjoy following your comments on social media and your blog and drawing skills.