As I’m winding up 2016, I’m also looking at my blog statistics, as I am wont to do.
I am, as always, curious about who my readers actually are vs. my target audience. Ideally the two match up, but there are always folks who stumble across this site through accident or interest. Heroic Technical Writing is directed toward students taking classes for or considering a career in technical communications as well as toward current technical writing professionals already working in the field.
I am in no danger of acquiring more followers than one of the Kardashians or any number of pop stars or political figures. However, this blog has at last established a pretty solid readership, with over 15,000 views this year. After spending the first four years garnering fewer than 10,000 followers, this year’s numbers have been gratifying.
Based on my emails and followers, I’m hitting pretty close to the mark: I’ve heard from college professors and students, mid-career professionals, and non-technical English majors who just enjoy the work. I also have a readership that extends around the world, which I find curious but gratifying. To all of you, wherever you are: thank you for reading. I hope my work has been helpful to you and will continue to be so.
Based on who is linking to my page, I have students from Minnesota State University Mankato (MSUM), University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), University of Maryland University College (UMUC), and University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) reading this page. Excellent! I’m glad your professors found the content worth sharing.
I also have professional readers checking in from LinkedIn, Dear English Major, the Society for Technical Communication chapter in Phoenix, and even STC’s Intercom Magazine (STC membership required for link). Again, thank you! I’m glad to know I’m reaching my target audiences and that both of them think this page is worth reading.
Lastly, here are the top keywords people have used to arrive at this site:
- vertical organizational chart
- vertical organizational structure examples
- bring me a rock
- vertical organization
- horizontal organisation
- horizontal organizational structure
- vertical organizational structure
- vertical organisation chart
Given the number of hits that my blog about vertical, horizontal, and matrixed organizations, I guess that would make sense…it’s just curious to me how a site about technical writing gets so much attention on a topic not directly related to the subject.
A couple of surprises showed up in my stats this year. For one thing, I have been referenced multiple times on Reddit, a site I barely use. A lot of traffic comes from Google searches from all over the planet. I’m also getting referrals from Indeed.com, a site called Encore Insights (thank you!).
By country, my traffic is driven primarily by the United States, which makes sense, as I am an American writer discussing technical communication in American settings. However, my audience has spread to India, Philippines, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Australia, Germany, Ireland, and Brazil (just to round out the top ten). In fact, if I’ve done my counts right, this page has reached all but 29 countries in the world. So, greetings, world! Glad to be of service.
I extended this invitation to my readers in India a couple years ago since that country remains my largest source of international readers, but if you’re not in the U.S. and have a question about technical communication practices here, I do my best to answer your queries.
Thoughts based on the data
Based on where my readers are coming from and what they’re reading, it looks like I might need to spend more time on the following:
- “Big picture” topics, like the business environment, organizational structure and culture, the philosophy of technical communication, and careers for technical communicators.
- Topics that might of interest to technical communicators in my “top ten” international reading markets. (These topics might be similar to topics that interest American technical communicators, but I’ll need to do the research to tell for certain.)
- Talk about what’s important to my readers wherever they are. If I do want to write a book about the business of tech writing at some point, that would seem a wise course. You might not agree with everything I have to say, but that’s a topic for another day.
These will be interesting challenges for the coming year, especially since many subjects of interest to technical writers relate to individuals working for large organizations, whereas I’ve been a freelance writer for the last three years. However, fear not, dear readers! I spent over 20 years working for others before I decided to go off on my own. Some things don’t change, and those things I can write about with reasonable authority–if I’m not facing the challenge you’re facing now, odds are good that I did at some point.
The goal, as always, is to provide advice or insights that you find useful. The rest is up to you.