My 2016 Reading and Blogging Stats

2016 Reading Stats


Happy New Year, everyone! I’m happy to provide you with some hangover reading.

Last year was the first full year I kept reading stats and a Goodreads account, so I actually have a baseline to compare with this year’s stats! Let’s get down to it.

Reading

Though I blew through my goal of 75 books, I felt like this year’s crop of new releases were less successful for me than usual…with eight 5 star books compared to fifteen last year. I was also drawn to lighter books…possibly because I was doing more reading then ever amidst chaos (at playgrounds, sports practices, etc).

Audiobooks: Though not a stated goal for this year, I successfully integrated audiobooks into my reading (comprising 15%), which helped me read more nonfiction (37% of my reading, up from 16% last year) and books in general than ever before. Audiobooks also enabled me to read the lighter memoirs (i.e. celebrity and sports) that I used to read often, but had gotten away from in the past few years.

Backlist (2016 Goal): I read 21 backlist books (22% of my reading) this year compared to 10 last year. 

ARCs: I finished 29 ARCs (30% of my reading) and DNF’d another 17 for a total of 46 ARCs this year. Of the 29 I finished, 41% were “successful” (i.e. books I recommended on the blog). I’d like to see my success rate top 50% next year.

Imprints: For the second year in a row, Knopf, Random House, and Harper are all successful imprints for me. Algonquin and Ecco are both newly successful, while Putnam, Doubleday, and Grand Central weren’t as successful for me this year.

Longest Book Read: Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink (602 pages). I think I was so traumatized by wasting so much time (944 pages worth) on last year’s City on Fire that I was a little hesitant to pick up chunksters this year. 

Shortest Book Read: We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (49 pages)

Diversity Stats

66% of my 2016 reading was female authors (up from 62% last year) and 70% of my Best Books of 2016 were by female authors.

14% of my 2016 reading was by POC authors. This is the first year that I’ve tracked POC diversity and I didn’t overthink it (see this fantastic post on the difficulties of accurately tracking diversity by Andi at Estella’s Revenge), so it’s possible my numbers aren’t 100% accurate. 

Social Media Stats

For the first time, I tracked my social media followers every month. My 2016 goal was to improve my Pinterest presence and I focused most of my effort there, so I’m thrilled it panned out. Since a few of you have asked, here are the two posts I used as guides to improve my Pinterest presence: Can Book Bloggers Be Successful on Pinterest? from These Paper Hearts and How I Increased My Pinterest Impressions by 200% in 30 Days from Ashley Lamar at Far Beyond Love.

Growth in social media network followers from January 1 – December 31, 2016:

Network % Increase in Followers
Twitter 53%
Facebook 46%
Pinterest 142%
Email Subscribers 349%
Bloglovin’ 45%

Percent of traffic generated by social media network compared to last year:

Top Networks 2015 
% Traffic
2016
% Traffic
Twitter 27%  8%
Facebook 36%  17%
Blogger 19%  4%
Pinterest 11%  69%

Blogging

Key Takeaways

  • Like last year, The Girl on the Train Spoiler Discussion comprised the largest chunk of my traffic until December, when A Month of Favorites: Five 2016 Books That Deserved the Hype…and Five That Didn’t took over thanks to Pinterest repins.
  • “Sticky content” performed well (i.e. recommendation lists like Book Club Recommendations and Page Turner Books). These pages reside in my main menu and are constantly updated with new books.
  • My quarterly “most anticipated books” posts performed well. 
  • Top Ten Tuesday lists generated the most discussion, but they were not my best performing posts like they were last year. And, I probably have the most fun writing these, so they’re not going anywhere.
  • Book reviews in general don’t do as well as other types of content. With the exception of spoiler discussions (which do pretty well), only one book review (Fates and Furies) cracked my top 10 posts of the year. All but one of my top 5 book reviews were written in 2015.

Pageviews / Unique Visitors

  • Pageviews increased 43% over 2015.
  • My best months (by pageviews) were December, October, September (in that order).

Best Performing Posts/Pages of 2016

Best Performing Book Reviews of 2016 (all mostly Google search)

Most Discussed Posts (determined by number of comments in 2016)

My Personal Favorites

How were your 2016 reading and blogging stats?

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40 Comments

  1. Awesome stats! I love your graphic and your identification of themes in your reading. I also really liked how thoughtfully you approached you interpreted your stats. And look at that social media growth! Very cool.

    Posted 1.1.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Thanks so much – I kind of enjoy wrapping up the year like that. Nerdy, I know 🙂

      Posted 1.1.17 Reply
  2. Diane wrote:

    Sarah, You always amaze me with your lists, stats and favorites. Wishing you and yours Peace, joy and good health in 2017 .

    Posted 1.1.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Thank you and the same to you!

      Posted 1.1.17 Reply
  3. I so enjoy going through my stats! I also enjoyed your blog this year! Looking forward to many more reviews, discussions, and recommendations!

    Happy New Year!

    Posted 1.1.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Thank you so much! And loved seeing your stats today too!

      Posted 1.1.17 Reply
  4. I love your charts! Happy New Year!

    Posted 1.1.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Thank you and happy new year!

      Posted 1.1.17 Reply
  5. This post is so well-organized! I’m working on my 2016 stats post right now, and it’s a hot mess. It seems like you had a successful reading year. Happy 2017!

    Posted 1.1.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Thank you – I was a hot mess last year, but it helped me think through what exactly I wanted to track all year and made this year much easier.

      Happy New Year!

      Posted 1.1.17 Reply
  6. Wow! I love this detailed breakdown of your stats and the graphic charts! It’s really interesting seeing what posts actually drive the most traffic and where your readers are coming from. Even though you didn’t read as many great books in the year, your blog made tremendous growth! Congratulations and may 2017 bring you many wonderful books!

    Posted 1.1.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Thank you 🙂 I just recently figured out how to see traffic source for individual posts and I LOVE being able to see that. And it’s funny how it’s completely different for different posts.

      I owe you an email – will get that to you soon!

      Posted 1.1.17 Reply
  7. Michelle wrote:

    Those are some very specific statistics! I’m impressed you even tracked your social media presence. I need to research this some more, as I want to be more mindful in blogging and social media this year.

    I hope you have a very successful 2017!

    Posted 1.1.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      This was the first time I did it, but I liked seeing the changes every month and will continue that in 2017. Jon me?! Happy New Year!

      Posted 1.1.17 Reply
  8. Gabby wrote:

    I love me some charts and stats, so this was such an interesting post to read! Seeing what’s popular and where the audience comes from is fascinating! I’d love to do something like this for myself…maybe that could be a New Years resolution for me! Do you just use a basic spreadsheet to collect info?

    Posted 1.1.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Seeing the traffic source at the individual post level is new for me this year, but I LOVE being able to see that. I use a spreadsheet to track my reading (including imprint, diversity, etc) and another one to track pageviews, unique users, social followers, and revenue. Then Google Analytics does the rest.

      Posted 1.1.17 Reply
  9. Ohhh love all these stats! I need to do a Pinto chart from my spreadsheet info. I do know 10% of my reading was by trans authors, so that made me happy. Cheers to 2017!

    Posted 1.1.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      That’s awesome! I read one book this year that dealt with gender identity, but I don’t think the author is officially trans (although I could be wrong on that). It was Darling Days by iO Tillett-Wright (a memoir) and I really liked it.

      Posted 1.1.17 Reply
      • haha I just realized my phone autocorrected Pikto to Pinto!
        I haven’t read Darling Days, totally adding that to my list! iO Tillett-Wright is gender fluid, iirc. (My “trans” umbrella is pretty wide: basically any author who isn’t cisgender.)

        Posted 1.1.17 Reply
  10. Wow…fantastic post, Sarah.

    Thanks for sharing and for all your stats. That is a lot of work.

    ENJOY 2017’s books and blogging.

    I hope to stop by your blog more this year. You always have the BEST posts.

    The link to my first post of 2017 is below.

    Happy New Year!!

    Elizabeth
    Silver’s Reviews
    My First Book Of The Year

    Posted 1.1.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Thank you for your kind words 🙂 I get a weird kick out of looking at all the stats at year end and seeing what it tells me about how I can improve my reading and/or the blog.

      Posted 1.1.17 Reply
  11. I should consider becoming a little more intentional with my blog, but trying to figure all this out just seems too overwhelming at the moment. I love looking at your charts, and am so tickled you did so well this year!

    Posted 1.1.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Oh my gosh – you just had a baby. Totally understand why it seems overwhelming…trust me, I wasn’t doing any of this stuff when I had a new baby 🙂 It was just enough to keep reading and the blog kind of afloat.

      And thank you!

      Posted 1.1.17 Reply
  12. That’s great that you were able to make Pinterest work so effectively for you. I’m interested in that, but for now I’m going to let my stats and social media stay as they are while I concentrate on some reading goals. I’m impressed at all your different and interesting topics that you come up with. Looking forward to more in 2017.

    Posted 1.1.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I hear you! Gotta choose your priorities. Happy New Year!

      Posted 1.1.17 Reply
  13. I remember seeing your stats last year (for 2015) and thinking holy cow you’re so organized and thorough! I thought the 2015 stats you did were thorough and amazing but I take that back ~ this year you’ve outdone yourself! These are amazing! You’ve put so much thought and work into evaluating your reading and blogging. Have you thought about doing a tutorial for us for maybe bloggiesta? Thanks so much for sharing! Happy New Year Sarah!

    Posted 1.1.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Haha! Thank you 🙂 I get weirdly excited about looking at the year-end stats. And I’d love to do a tutorial for Bloggiesta! Do you host? Happy New Year!

      Posted 1.1.17 Reply
      • as well you should – these stats are so much fun to look at as a reader! Sent you the link for Bloggiesta on twitter, though you probably already know that 😉 This really would be such a great tutorial – I know I’d love to know how to keep such great numbers and how to pull them all together so beautifully. I’m sure there’s quite a few other bloggers who feel the same!

        Posted 1.1.17 Reply
        • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

          I’m game and thank you 🙂

          Posted 1.3.17 Reply
  14. Melinda wrote:

    I am impressed by the details in your stats! I have to admit, mine (coming on 1/11) are far more simplistic…perhaps I should put a bit more effort in some areas for this year?

    Posted 1.1.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I say whatever works for you! I just enjoy this stuff.

      Posted 1.3.17 Reply
  15. Tara wrote:

    Ahhh, City on Fire! What a disaster, right?!! I’d almost (maybe tried to?) forgotten about that one. Whew! I would love to keep better statistics like this and, since it’s the start of a new year, maybe I’ll make that a goal-ish. 🙂 I did start keeping track of publishers, debuts, etc., last year, which I think has been helpful. Love reading this, Sarah!

    Posted 1.2.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Oh my gosh – as much as I tried to forget that clunker, it reenters my brain every time I see a book I’m interested in that’s more than 500 pages. GRR.

      Would love to see your stats at the end of the year!

      Posted 1.3.17 Reply
  16. This is an amazing post and love the way you recapped your year. Best of luck with an even more prosperous 2017 for you and your blog. Pinterest is definitely the rock star for driving traffic to my blog. December traffic was my best ever because of Pinterest and a few key posts that continue to bring most of the traffic.

    Posted 1.2.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Glad to hear Pinterest has been great for you as well! I didn’t focus on it at all until this year and what a mistake that was! And isn’t it funny how a few random posts can really take off…I wish I could predict which one’s they’d be, but I haven’t cracked that code yet.

      Posted 1.3.17 Reply
      • Yes, well it’s the pins from a year or more ago that have just gained traction and are exploding right now. For me, it’s my Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge post that’s the huge driver, my 7 Habits of Highly Effective Planner post and gift guide for RA patients round up the top 3 from Pinterest. Definitely my book lists posts do better on pinterest than individual book reviews which get no love. So definitely continue with the lists! Anything that has a printable with it (like book club discussion questions) does better for me than a review alone but still the lists are best. Food for thought, hope it helps.

        Posted 1.3.17 Reply
  17. Sarah R wrote:

    Your City on Fire post is how I discovered your blog. I think I even commented that I kicked myself for not reading that sooner before I wasted all my time (and money) on that book.

    I love all the ways you track your reading. I only track titles of books I finished with a separate list of books I DNFed. I also track where I got the book (library, Kindle, someone left in my Little Free Library) and who recommended the book to me. I don’t track the exact page count, but I do mark it if it’s over 500 pages. My reading goal last year was to read at least 100 books with at least 10 over 500 pages. I ended reading 111 books, but only 5 were over 500 pages.

    Thanks for all the hard work, time, and energy you post into your blog. It’s such a fantastic resource and so fun for me!

    Posted 1.3.17 Reply
  18. Oh man, this post has been incredibly insightful to me. I have some things I am leaving here thinking about!

    The diversity tracking IS super tricky. There are so many ways to think about it, ways to discount it, things that don’t totally add up. I think, though, that as long as you ARE thinking about it, it’s working.

    What do you use to track your traffic stats? I just use what wordpress has but I find it deeply dissatisfying.

    Posted 1.3.17 Reply
  19. Naomi wrote:

    I have been mesmerized by this post and all your stats! And here is what I have learned – I should be on Pinterest. And I should write more posts that aren’t reviews. HOWEVER (you saw this coming, right?), I only just figured out Twitter this year (which was huge for me), so maybe I’ll continue putting time into that for now. And, I keep thinking of ideas for different posts and saying “I’ll do that when I have some extra time!” and then I never have the extra time. Sigh. But maybe I should make it a goal this year to do one a month. Surely that’s not too much?!
    Thanks for the inspiration, Sarah! And Happy New Year! 🙂

    Posted 1.3.17 Reply

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