Friday, 29 April 2016

Four years of Ravalation

It's already been four years since I started this blogging adventure! In good Ravalation tradition, I'm a few weeks late for my blogoversary, but that's not going to stop me from celebrating. Blogging takes a lot of my spare time, and I find myself so busy writing new articles that I forget what I've written in the past. So it's a lot of fun for me to look back and see how my blog has evolved, and maybe even learn something from it.

For this special occasion, my friend Marinka and I went all "for science!" and have used Ravalation's statistics as a test case to explore if there is a scientifically verifiable connection between the amount of posts written and the pageviews received (nerd alert). The best part: we found the answer! Yup, it's another of those posts where you'll have to suffer through reading about the woes of a blogger girl before you get to the part where you find out!

Looking back

The first thing that I realized when I reread my previous anniversary posts is that I haven't changed a single thing about my blog's design this year. I guess this means that I've finally found a format I can bear the sight of! Although there are things I would change about my blog if my coding skills would allow it, I'm happy with the banner and the orokeet icon, both of which I hope are recognizable.

This is the first year I've followed a posting schedule of some sort, and it has definitely payed off. 2015 was my year with the highest number of posts ever: 96; this year already has 17 posts: more than I wrote in the whole of 2014! Fashion Friday and 5 Fandom Friday helped a lot by bringing structure to my posts: even if time or creativity was low, I could at least post those. Sometimes it was challenging to bend 5 Fandom Friday topics to a gaming theme, but more often than not they created interesting angles to gaming.

This fourth year was also one of community challenges. I enjoyed IntPiPoMo, the (still ongoing) 6 on 6 challenge and Murf's Screenshot Safari in particular, because they revolved around one of my favourite things in gaming: collecting pretty screenies. I was super proud to have won the Screenshot Safari in two categories!

Juggernaut Neserys, winner in the category Heroes or Villains. Ravanel and bear in Forochel, winner in the category The Best LOTRO Screenshot.

I also intentionally wrote more personal posts this year. Belghast of Tales of the Aggronaut inspired me: his daily posts often contain some analogue life thoughts that I enjoy reading a lot, yet I find myself writing strictly about games by default. Blending my analogue life in my writing is not something that comes naturally to me, but I wanted to work on this skill. And thus you got to read Liebster posts, about the travels of Nora (meeting fellow gamers) and my adventures while studying abroad in Sweden. I even posted some pictures of real life me on the blog - I know it doesn't sound like much, but for the inherently shy me it was a big step. 

Finally, the past year was also one of many firsts. I experimented with new types of posts, such as my first giveaway (which was a huge success, as you'll see in the stats below) and a super inspiring collaboration with Noctua of Gamers Decrypted, who wrote the first guest post on Ravalation and with whom I did a series of twin posts on guild leadership afterwards. I remember vividly how nervous I was for interviewing guild leaders for the guild leadership posts - another first. Guesting on Constant Warfare's stream was also a step out of my comfort zone, but it was a lot of fun. In December, I did a holiday card swap via snail mail. It was amazing to get to know fellow bloggers and readers this way, and get awesome cards from fellow geeks. It also made me pick up drawing again. Because of this blog, I rediscovered how therapeutic drawing is for me during difficult periods of my life.

Obligatory pretty graphs

With the aid of the by the now infamous statistics guru Marinka, I have some interesting graphs to share. Fun fact: Ravalation has a total of 309,270 pageviews.

1) Pageviews and amount of posts per month on Ravalation (2012-2016)

Some observations:

a) A connection between amount of posts and pageviews is suggested
Apart from in 2012 (when I wrote a lot of posts but nobody had discovered my blog yet) the pageviews and amount of posts per month seem to be following a similar trend. Of course there are more variables than how many posts one writes influencing the amount of pageviews, most of them harder to quantify: post quality and external links on popular websites (Reddit, Massively OP and going viral on Twitter are examples for Ravalation) are things that come to mind. There are equations to calculate the correlation between pageviews and amount of posts, which is what we will do later on in this post!

b) There seems to be some delay between amount of views compared to amount of posts
The delay sometimes consists of several months, which I found puzzling. Marinka suggests this is because people start checking Ravalation expecting posts on certain days (for instance Monday, Wednesday and Friday, my intended schedule) once they find out I'm actively writing again. Which brings me to the last observation.

c) My amount of posts written per month vary a lot
If Marinka is right (and she very well may be), I could be reaching a lot more people with my posts if I would start writing very regularly on the same week days. Unfortunately, a posting schedule of three times a week proved impossible to keep up at times (sometimes my analogue life demands more attention). But it could be an interesting experiment to follow a very strict schedule for a year (Mondays and Fridays - with Wednesdays as a bonus when I have unusually much time or inspiration). Then, next year, I can test this hypothesis by comparing to the data above.

I'm not making any promises, but it is something I'm considering. I do like a good challenge!

2) Correlation between pageviews and the amount of posts 2012-2016 (regression analysis)

Now it's time to put the nerd glasses on. Using Excel, mastermind Marinka managed to construct a scatterplot visualizing the correlation between the amount of pageviews and blog posts written.

If you're not familiar with these type of plots: generally speaking, the more the dots are spread out over the area, the lower the variety registered can be explained by the relation between the two factors. In plot 2) above, the dots are pretty much all over the screen. There is barely any relationship between the amount of blog posts and pageviews.

It gets exciting when we take 2012 (the year in which I was still building an audience) out of the equation:

3) Correlation between pageviews and the amount of posts 2013-2016 (regression analysis)

All of a sudden, we see that the dots are way more clustered. The formula shows that more than 40% of the variation is explained by the correlation between blog posts and pageviews. This is a pretty high number when it comes to statistics. In the formula, x represents the amount of blog posts per month; 4510.5 represents the number of base pageviews. In other words: even if I don't write any blog posts at all, an average amount of 4510.5 visits to my blog per month are made.

The conclusion: there is indeed a scientifically verifiable positive relationship between the amount of posts written per month and the amount of pageviews.

Top commenters

Time for an intermezzo before you pass out from an overdose of maths. I love reading the comments on my posts, even though I don't always find the time to reply to them all (sorry about that!) and, honestly, kind of suck at them. Despite all this, more than 75 different people visited Ravalation the past year and left the dazzling total amount of 906 comments. (Okay, probably half of them is me responding to you guys, but I was flabbergasted when I found out.)

Through all the experiences we've shared I've come to think of some of you as friends and I feel honoured that people stick around - for years even, in some cases. In appreciation, here's a top 5 of the most avid commenters of the past year on Ravalation.

Now I know what you're thinking. This is where we sit back and wait for XxMLG_R4kun0_Noscope420xX to walk away with another griffon. But this year the unimaginable happened (gasp):

Ravalation's Top 5 Commenters of Awesome

Rakuno was in his element, typing away blog post-lengthy comments on Ravalation instead of posting on his own blog - business as usual. But then, out of left field, a wild Shintar appears and beats Rakuno by three comments! The crowd goes wild!

Jokes aside, you should totally check out the blogs of these awesome people: Shintar from Going Commando (59), Rakuno of Shards of Imagination (56), Redbeard of Parallel Context (43), Mhorgrim of For A Few Credits More (22), Rowan Blaze from I Have Touched the Sky and Ashlee from Her Geekery (21).

Thank you guys so much for making blogging the rewarding experience it is!

More pretty graphs

We're almost at the end of this post, but first some final pretty graphs...

Don't worry, no complicated statistics anymore: these are some graphs presenting my most popular blog posts. It makes me happy to see you guys liked reading and talking about a wide range of subjects.

Top 5 of most read posts: 1) SWTOR speeder giveaway (closed); 2) Knights of the Fallen Empire (part 2): overhyped?; 3) Why do we 'troll'?; 4) Thoughts on LOTRO's server closures; 5) How would you do as a guild master?

Top 5 of posts with the most comments: 1) SWTOR speeder giveaway (closed); 2) Creatively double-Liebsterized; 3) Six times blue; 4) Warning: screenies incoming; 5) Gamer girl

What about myself? I find it very hard to rank my own posts, but here are three I am especially happy with (in no particular order):
  • The day on which virtual people made me cry: I felt a bit ashamed to admit how hard a certain event in Lord of the Rings Online made me cry, but the topic intrigued me. It was heart-warming to hear I was not alone in this.
  • Gamer girl: I wanted to explore what the term "gamer girl" meant to me: I wasn't sure, and I think I still am not! I loved the discussion that this article brought up; 
  • The quest for a home: the Lund edition: I was struggling to find a format that would tell about my misadventures abroad in Sweden without making it whiny. I'm pretty happy with my solution to present my analogue life experiences as if it was my avatar playing the MMO called "real life". 
Is there a post you liked in particular last year? What topics do you enjoy reading about? I'd love to hear!


  1. Yeah happy blogiversary! You explained the statistics very well! My favorite post was the one about the misadventures in ARK, it reminds me very much of my own misadventures. Especially by dying a million times by megapiranhas (*shivers*).

    Another post which was very good was the one: When a character gets caught in a web of memories. You really made it clear in that post what your alts mean and I can relate to that. I have only deleted characters when there are just level 10 and I can relate to them (mostly because they where to evil :P). When they are higher level, I wouldn't be able to. They have so many memories, even if they are sad.

    On a happier note, more blogpost is always better since it will always give you more pageviews :D. And I love to read more from you :D.

    1. More schadenfreude. Check. When it comes to ARK, there's definitely more where that came from!

      Also really awesome that you like When a character gets caught in a web of memories so much. I considered it for my favourites. It's a topic you don't read much about, but I'm the same as you, I can't just delete characters.

      Thank you again for helping me with the statistics. It was great fun to nerd out about pretty graphs. :)

  2. Congrats, four years is quite the accomplishment! You should be super proud of what you have built here :)

  3. Congratulations! Four years is definitely something to be proud of. Looking forward to what comes next.

  4. HAPPY 4 YEARS! I love your stats, getting to make graphs are the best bit about blog birthdays! I'm going to go check out some of your favourite posts

  5. Congratulations!

    I am not entirely sure which one was my favorite post... Maybe the ones about your adventures in Sweden. It is a beautiful country it made me wish I was uber rich and free of worries so I could just travel around the world to visit places like that.

    Writing regularly would be definitely a good thing. People like regularity and convenience. By posting in certain days every week you are pretty much giving those to people. Regularity gives them something to look forward on those days and convenience because they can plan a certain time or place to read it.

    I've tried to keep a regular schedules for a long time but I've always failed due to a reason or another. I will still keep trying though!

    As for the top commenters... Gah! I can't believe I've lost! I was sure I would have won!

    *slings a bag over his shoulders* I already decided. I am going to travel all over the blogosphere to train on my commenting techniques. Then I shall win the number one spot in the top commenters in the next blogoversary!*

    * In case it isn't obvious by my over the top reaction I am just joking about this. :p

    1. Ah! So you're saying you want to be the very best? Like no one ever was? :D

      The funny thing is, the benefits of being organized sometimes simply don't occur to me because it's so not me! I'm quite chaotic, both with writing and reading blog posts. The graphs kind of illustrate that. It was a bit of an eye opener, I had no idea it was that bad. Gave me a good scare.

      I really enjoyed reading your regular ARPil posts this month by the way, even though I did not manage to comment on them that much. It's really nice to see you blogging so often again, and the adventures of Rakuno never bore me.

      Also, super awesome that you liked the Sweden adventures! I was a bit hesitant to post them, to be honest, because they were so very "off-topic". Hearing both you and Ashlee enjoying them really cheers me up!

      I do get sad from hearing you longing to go to Sweden now and it being my fault. I hope you get the chance to go there sooner or later, and that those worries you speak of go away.

      A heartfelt thanks for all your support on this blog!

    2. Yes. I shall become the master of comment-fu. Then if others challenge me I shall just defeat them with my powers of commenting. Mwahahahaha!

      Really? Considering your desire and perseverance to sticking to a schedule I always thought you were a very organized person. That is interesting to know.

      Thanks! ARPil was pretty interesting since a lot of the questions I'd normally answer with one line. Since that would be boring I had to figure out how to write *more* to make it interesting. It was also an accomplishment to write every day. Even though there were times where I wasn't much in the mood for it and a the end there I fell prey to my moodiness and didn't make a post again until the last day.

      I always like to hear about different places. Specially because I am pretty much a homebody so for me to go out (or even going out of the house) is very rare.

      Ah, don't feel sad. It is really just a very impulsive desire, nothing really big. Maybe I will just do like my aunt and once I get old and retired I will just travel around the world.

      And no problem! I like hanging around here so coming to read and comment is fun. I thank you for all your support on my blog as well. :)

  6. Happy blogaversary, Rav! :D

  7. Hahaha, I actually broke out into real life giggles when I saw the bit about the comments. I win at the internets! Sorry, Rakuno.

    Congratulations on four years! I'm glad that you've managed to be more active as I genuinely love all your posts. It's just something about your writing style.

    There is definitely something about the connection between posting frequency and page views, but there are limits to it. When people were doing "Blaugust" last year, a challenge to post every day during the month of August, I remember some people (I think one of them was Bhagpuss) commenting that their views actually went down during that time. So it's apparently also possible to overwhelm your readers with too much content.

    I agree that having some sort of series or challenge that you can fall back on if you have nothing too exciting to say is great for keeping up the flow of regular posts. My Flashpoint Friday series has helped me with that for example. I don't like being too tied to a schedule though, or eventually it starts to feel too work-like. Currently my goal for Going Commando is to make a new post every 2-4 days and that has been working out alright for a while.

    1. Congratulations with your hard-fought victory! Glad it brightened your day. ^^

      And "aww" for the kind words about my writing style. Those made me real life blush.

      I second your observation about a "post ceiling". I've experienced something similar as a sponsor during the NBI events: during those months I had more posts up than usual, but a significant drop in readers (say, a few thousand pageviews less). My theory was that the segment of readers that consists of bloggers themselves is so busy writing that they don't have time to read the posts of other bloggers.

      But as long as the size of your audience grows naturally with the amount of posts you put out, I don't know if the post ceiling is a thing. These were both cases of blogger events in which the pool of potential readers temporarily shrunk (at least, in my interpretation).

      For me, personally, it's definitely true that there's a connection between how much I comment and read and my own post output. I have less time to read when I'm busy writing: both activities come from the same free time pool.

      My guess is that you need to have a certain amount of readers for daily posts to be "worth it", just like I needed a certain amount of readers when I was starting up.

      With all this theorizing, it sounds as if I obsess daily over blog stats! Haha. I don't, really, apart from once a year. I just found it super fun to

      In the end, it doesn't matter all that much, you should just post with a schedule that suits you - as you said, it shouldn't become like *work*. That said, I'm a bit jealous of your posting discipline. Once every 2-4 days is really good!

    2. *I just found it super fun to bring some of the statistics I learned into action. I'm not a beta person, so I feel awesome when the maths actually work for once. :P

  8. Congratulations, Rav. Four years is a long time. Happy blogiversary!
    I know I like the screenies a lot.
    *New comment because I feel embarrassed misspelling your name :(

    1. More screenies. Check. Somehow I have a feeling I'll be able to oblige. :D

      Thank you!

  9. Happy Four-Year Versary!

    Here's to many more years of great content.

  10. This was so much fun to read!! Congrats on four years, it's been so much fun getting to follow along and learn about you. And whaaaat I'm one of your top commenters?! Too cool. I especially loved your more personal posts, it's always fun getting to know the gal behind the blog! And I always adore your screenshot photos, the 6 on 6 are particularly fun<3 Anyway, always looking forward to reading more!

    1. I'm so glad to hear both you and Rakuno enjoyed the Sweden posts. I really wasn't sure whether to write them at the time. I just knew I needed a place to vent about my time there, because I was way too excited by it. I'm considering writing some more personal posts on the blog now, although I'm not sure yet about the format. I always enjoy reading yours as well! For instance the "A Day in the Life" ones, those are always really cool with pretty photos.

      Oh and thanks for reminding me about 6 on 6, it's almost time for the next edition! I think I straight forgot about them the past 2 months. :/

  11. Wow, already 4 years... very impressive, happy blogversary :)
    I love how you analyzed your blog as if it was a math problem. I sure learned a lot and you made me want to visit your blog even more often! ^^

    1. When I was studying in Sweden, I learned about scatterplots in relation to archaeological data (in which there usually is a lot of variation, too). So for (the unfortunately mathematically impaired) me it was super awesome when I realized that I could use it for my blog data, too! I was a bit scared that people might phase out while readying - I tend to get carried away - so I'm happy to hear you liked it anyway.

  12. Happy Blogoversary! Four years of thoughtful and entertaining posts. Cheers to many more years exploring imaginary realms.

  13. This is an awesome post and an amazing achievement. Thanks for everything you do and congratulations on such a milestone!

  14. Happy blogoversary! I hope the next four years are as much fun!

  15. Happy Anniversary! Love your posts!

  16. Congratulations on 4 years! I am fairly new at reading your blog and hope you have many new posts yet to come :)

  17. Happy 4 Year Blogiversary! That's so great!

  18. Gratz Rav! Since I discovered your blog I am a frequent reader, and I love how you write. So keep doing that, and I hope you will get many more viewers (amounts I can only dream of.. haha)

    Grz from a fellow Dutchie :)

  19. Thank you all for dropping by in such masses. I didn't expect so many responses - I feel all warm and fuzzy inside now.

    You guys are the best and absolutely keep me motivated for this blogging adventure! <3

  20. Sorry to comment so late - but huge congratulations :) Always enjoy reading your posts :)

  21. Well, shoot. It took a personal invitation, but here I am. Congratulations! :D


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