Happy New Year 2015

Happy New Year! We wish all of you a very happy, prosperous, and rewarding 2015.

Sunrise

Sunrise yesterday morning as seen from Chez Herd!

As has become our New Year’s Day tradition, we thought we would share with you some facts about the website. Hu-dad is notoriously one of those geeky, statistical people, but we promise to try and make it interesting. If you have your own website, you may find some interesting trends.

  • Total number of sessions (i.e., the number of times anyone visits our website) are up a whopping 27% over 2013. Our traffic hit such a level that we finally had to move to our own dedicated server because none of the shared service vendors could handle the traffic flow.
  • Interestingly the number of page views (that is the number of pages each person looks at during a session) is up only 15% (which means people were more likely to visit, but less likely to visit several pages in the website). That tells us that we need to spend some time freshening up our other pages – not just the blog – and we promise to do that!
  • In a continuing trend, 55% of all people now visit our website from a mobile device. Just a few years ago, in 2011, mobile devices accounted for only 7.5% of our traffic. That grew to 21% in 2012 and 38% in 2013. We worked this year to make our website more mobile responsive (meaning the website itself and all pictures are designed to fit mobile screens, regardless of size).
  • Over 60% of our visitors come to us directly from one of our social media sites. Overwhelmingly, our Facebook Page is the dominant driver and continues to increase. In fact, sessions started from our Facebook Page doubled in 2015 from 2014. No other social media tool has a significant impact and some, like Twitter, actually decreased this past year.

The role of social media, particularly Facebook, is astounding. Facebook has become the dominant traffic driver – far more powerful than search engines like Google and Yahoo – but they also control so much of your returning traffic. For example, we realize that many people rely on our Facebook page to know when a new blog post is available (the most critical server load for us is the 60 minutes after the post to Facebook each morning).

Did you know that the average Facebook page has an organic reach of about 16%? What that means is that if you “like” a Facebook page, you will be notified of new content about 16% of the time – about one of every 6 posts. We are fortunate that because of fan engagement (“liking” individual posts and making comments), our average reach is about 40%, but that still means that more than half of our Facebook fans do not know about a blog post every day.

Facebook has already announced that they are updating the algorithms again to lower that reach. You can’t really blame them – they want business to pay for advertising. Unfortunately, personal, non-business websites like ours are controlled by the same mechanisms and we will continue to struggle to get our posts to our Facebook fans.

That’s why in the upper left corner of our page you will find a way to get notified directly by email about every new blog post. We have never shared a single email with anyone else and never will, so feel free to use that if you want to be assured of never missing a post.

Now let’s talk about search engines and popular sections:

  • Interestingly, search engines provided only 11% of our traffic, but that traffic increased 57% in the past year. Most of those searches contained phrases like “thundering herd”, “Siberian Huskies”, or “Maggie Valley” (our home).
  • The most common unusual search phrase to find us was Daisy. Confused? Daisy is an Urban Legend about a Golden Retriever who rescued hundreds of people during the tragedy of September 11, 2001. We posted a tribute to dogs of 9/11 way back in 2010 that still receives visitors to this day – and they often find it because they are trying to find out if Daisy is real. While Daisy is not real, we did highlight several real canine heroes of that day.
  • The hardest to explain search phrase used to find us was “Fuzzy Alarm Clocks.” Oh, sure, we have a story by that title, but we are still very concerned about what people were really looking for.

And now for everyone’s favorite section. The most popular items of the year:

  • The most popular post from this year – Unexplained Mysteries.
  • The most popular post NOT from this year – the post we mentioned above about Daisy and the Canines of 9/11.
  • The most popular story. No surprise here because it has been the most popular story since it was posted back in 2006 – Frankencouch.
  • The most popular dog page. Big upset here. It was Natasha for many years until Typhoon took the top spot last year. Natasha passed Typhoon to claim second this year, but they were both beaten by the big, fluffy, cotton ball himself – Qannik.
  • And, finally, the most popular video is, once again, Taste Test. We have to tell you that this has never made sense to us, but apparently it has been mentioned by other blogs and continues to be our most popular video.
  • Most popular video from 2014 – Sarge’s Downtown Dog Walk 2014.

And, finally, for the weirdest statistic of all. Like every other website, we constantly have people trying to hack or spam the site. To give you a feel for how wild the web can be, we now receive over 1,500 spam comments A DAY that are blocked by our servers (99.8% of them are blocked without any human intervention). Since there are 1,440 minutes in a day, that means we get a spam comment every minute of every day. We do our absolute best to ensure that all of those bad guys stay away and don’t bother your enjoyment of the site.

So, your turn, Dear Readers. What do you want us to do in the coming year to make the site more enjoyable? We do this strictly for the fun of it (we have resisted advertising even though the cost of doing this increases all of the time) so we want to make sure that the effort we put in is something you enjoy. So, please, take a minute, fill out a comment below, and let us know what you want!

Oh – and you can add your email address so that you are guaranteed to never miss a post (just make sure that our email doesn’t get caught in your spam!).

And, most importantly, have a very Happy New Year!

Typhoon and new year

Typhoon looking forward to the new year.

26 Comments

  1. Desiree on January 12, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Correction! Coco had her knee surgery in October, not November!

  2. Desiree on January 12, 2015 at 9:34 am

    I discovered your wonderful blog whilst googling for information on total knee replacement surgery for our Husky X Lab Rescue girl who will be 4 in March this year. She broke her knee in November 2014 and tomorrow marks the end of her initial 3 month recovery period. We have four other dogs and opted to keep her separated from the others for the full recovery period. We are fortunate to have a second cottage (for weekends), so were able to split our pack, with my husband assuming total care of Coco, who adores him, whilst I looked after the others.

    Finding your blog was a life-line and also made me realise that your situation was a lot harder, having two invalids simultaneously and all dogs housed under the same roof. You deserve a gold medal, Hu-Dad!

    • D.K. Wall (Hu-dad) on January 12, 2015 at 1:11 pm

      Isn’t that knee surgery a lot of fun? Wishing Coco a full recovery.

  3. Pamela Gerlach on January 4, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    Get my Herd fix via the facebook blog posts so will definitely take the steps to get the notice via email to insure I don’t miss a single thing. With 2 senior Huskies letting us to live with them, there is always something the Herd has done, is doing or they are thinking to do that one or both of ours have tried. I think they are teaching the herd since they are 13 and 14 years young! Happy trails and keep on camping!

  4. dani on January 2, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    I love checking out the pictures. I don’t do it daily but once a week or so, stop by to catch up. We have a husky and 3 kids, so time is limited. 🙂 My blogspot, has a list of post, from blogs I “follow” so I just scroll down the list to see where I last left off on my catch up days.

    I’d love to hear about how you trained them. Kita is so brilliant in so many ways and just flat out obstinate in others, I’d love to do more with her, and be more consistent with her training. I don’t watch all the videos, but I love the pictures, as does my almost 6 year old. He’s convinced that they are all Kita’s cousins.

  5. Zoe draughon on January 2, 2015 at 10:06 am

    I walk up with you guys every day
    I love the blog but especially love it when the blog posts are long
    We are voyer’s. Into your life but I have said and many have agreed we especially like the long stories … Iike you wrote in the beginning
    Thank you for sharing with us

  6. DJ on January 1, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    I just want to say thank you for this blog! I check out your blog every morning while having my coffee before getting ready for work. I love reading about the herds antics. Typhoon reminds me of our Cierra when she was a pup, but now at 9 years she resembles the Queen along with some of her traits. Overall, I think Frankie has my heart! Such a sweet soul! The Frankencouch blog was absolutely hysterical. Again many thanks! Loved the stats that you gave.

  7. KB on January 1, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    I’m still the old-fashioned type who mainly uses feedly to visit you. I don’t like how FB controls what people see (and don’t see) and collects info about us. So, I still use it with less than full enthusiasm!

    I’ve read your blog for a long time now (6 years?). Please don’t change a thing!

  8. Redclayhuskies on January 1, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    I have a habit of checking your blog every night before bed, so I don’t relay on Facebook or email alerts regarding updates. This and The Daily Coyote are my two favorite blogs out there. The Valentines vote was one of my favorite posts this year, I hope you do it again.
    Happy New Year!

  9. achieve1dream on January 1, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    Happy New Year!!

  10. Charlotte D. Anderson on January 1, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    Love, love, love your blog even though I’m a life long POODLE person. Of all the dog blogs I enjoy, yours is by far the most professional. Your photos are clear and beautiful, you clearly proofread for bloopers and your sense of humor is funny and fantastic and so is your imagination. Your descriptions of each pup’s personality and quirks are interesting and amusing. I too, would like to see & hear more behind the scenes details. For instance, more about your customized surb-mobile. A little bit of advertisement is fine, of products you find useful. Thanks for bringing me a chuckle every day and joy to my life.

  11. Murphy's Mom on January 1, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    Since you are so good about posting every day, I don’t need an e-mail or FB reminder. I often look at your blog before I get out of bed, since it’s a cheerful way to start my day. I would like to see you update each dog’s story a little bit from time to time. I also enjoyed the Valentine contest. Seems like we don’t see as much of Ruby and Tartok as we used to – maybe they could have pages as honorary Herd members? Maybe more on some of the things you’ve trained them to do, how you crate-trained, for example, got them to go to their crates for dinner, etc.? Do they know “leave it”, “stay”, “come”, stuff like that? (Or do Sibes not do that?) Your house pictures always look so beautiful – I wonder how often you vacuum?? How long does it take you to load them up into the jeep? Or harness them all up for a walk? I don’t see a lot of dog toys or stories about them – no need for them with so many playmates? How do you get so many pictures – do you have cameras in every room? What made you start putting the copyright on your pix? Any special tips for pooper scooping up after six good-sized dogs? (You must be an expert at that by now…) Well, I’m starting to get silly but hope some of these questions give you more ideas for 2015. I love the Herd!

    • D.K. Wall (Hu-dad) on January 1, 2015 at 8:10 pm

      What a great list of story ideas. Thank you so much for taking the time and listing so many questions. Look for us to address them over the next few weeks.

  12. Cheerful Monk on January 1, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    I love this blog. I’ve signed up for email alerts, but I seldom need them because I check for new posts every day. I would like permission to use some of your pictures occasionally, always referring to you in my post as well as having a the link in each picture caption. I’ve asked before and you’ve said yes, but it would be nice to know I can do it without asking you first, just telling you afterwards.

    Thank you for all you do!

  13. rottrover on January 1, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Happy New Year to ALL of you! I visit almost daily, as you post like clockwork! We come via our blogger reading list as we don’t do Facebook. Our favorite series this year were the introductions of each member of the Herd and then the Valemtine’s vote. I really liked getting to know each member’s personality quirks a little better. Thanks for your consistent presence!!

    The RottRovers

  14. Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady on January 1, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    Happy New Year!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  15. Shari on January 1, 2015 at 11:39 am

    I usually visit via the email alert. I don’t know how you manage 6 Sibes but am so glad that you do. Each member of the herd is wonderful, but Qannik has my heart.

    • D.K. Wall (Hu-dad) on January 1, 2015 at 11:44 am

      Q-Tip says thank you. It is always interesting how each dog has so many fans. We love them because they are such different personalities and we try hard to share how each one acts.

  16. Dawn on January 1, 2015 at 11:21 am

    I’d like it if your pictures opened in a new tab instead of in the same tab as the blog post.

    If you have other items in the day that aren’t blog posts – do you post those too? I’ve only ever seen blog posts I believe.

    And, finally, thank you for posting on g+ — I really hate facebook and try to support you on G+ as much as possible 🙂 Have a great new year!

    • D.K. Wall (Hu-dad) on January 1, 2015 at 11:46 am

      We will look into the picture link (and know exactly what you mean).

      Frankly, it has been so long since we have updated the other pages, we don’t have a regular routine. We will highlight in the blog post anytime we make changes.

      And, finally, thanks for following us on G+. Still haven’t figured it out very well, but our G+ page has a much higher reach %, but that may be because we have so few followers there. Still, we will continue with G+ and see where we can take it.

  17. carolyn on January 1, 2015 at 9:17 am

    I don’t go to Facebook every day so never depend on that, but I have been receiving the email daily for several years now. I usually do what I am doing now, checking on the herd while still tucked into bed. Part of the daily ritual. I only occasionally look at the other pages. This blog and North Wapiti are my favorites.

  18. Sondra Dahl on January 1, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Although we have become Sibeless, the daily posts of ‘The Herd’ gives us great joy….thank you for taking the time and effort to share this wonderful family of Siberians with all of us….Happy New Year!!!!!

  19. Kathye Shuman on January 1, 2015 at 8:42 am

    Even though we are now Sibeless, I love following your blog. It is one of the first things I read each morning (along with Karen Ramstead, who I learned about from your blog). Just to let you know, I get a Facebook post about the blog everyday, but I also get the email. I visit through which ever I’m looking at first. Please just continue posting all the great stories and pictures. Even though I’m just down the mountain and down the road in Waynesville, I enjoy seeing the beautiful views from up on top of the mountain, and of course, the crazy antics of the Herd. And as an aside — because of Facebook algorithims, I’ve learned a lot about a certain university in West Virginia that Facebook seems to think I would like to know about. I might even rent the movie sometime this year (I assume, as a movie lover, that you have seen it). Blessings and Happy New Year to you. Hope to see you all in the Jeep around town sometime this year. Come by Lake Junaluska sometime and say hello, and get a cup of coffee from my daughter in the bookstore. The geese could use some herd games as well 🙂 . (Our boss is not a fan of the geese hanging out on the banks of the lake. He would like them to just stay in the lake.)

    • D.K. Wall (Hu-dad) on January 1, 2015 at 11:48 am

      Chuckling about that certain University. We get quite a few tweets directed at us that we are sure are really meant for them. And, yes, the movie is pretty good.

      See you in town!

  20. marleen on January 1, 2015 at 7:06 am

    Elke blog is zeer de moeite waard om te lezen, ook als is Engels niet mijn moederstaal. Dagelijks genieten van de belevenissen 6 min of meer dwarse huskies en hun eigenaren…….een dagelijks moment van plezier!
    Gewoon doorgaan als altijd! Thank you!

    • D.K. Wall (Hu-dad) on January 1, 2015 at 7:46 am

      Thank you so much for the compliment. We absolutely plan to continue posting and have no doubt that The Herd will always provide fresh stories!

      P.S. – One of the statistics I did not share is Dutch passed German as the most common non-English language of our readers this past year! Hu-dad remembers fondly his time working in Rotterdam many years ago!

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