Christmas has come and gone, and the new year has begun. Along with empty promises to ourselves to lose weight, spend more time with our family, and finally meet that special someone, the new year brings with it an extremely important day, the birthday of Roll Models and www.scottdrotar.com. Although my first official post was not until January 13th, 2014, I started building the website and writing blog articles on the first of the year. When I realized the other day that it had been an entire year in my “new life” already, I was a little shocked. It seems like just last month that I was designing the Roll Models logo, writing my first Roll Models talk, and feeling happy if even 10 people viewed my website a day. To think about how far www.scottdrotar.com, Roll Models, and I have come over the last 12 months is pretty mind blowing. While going from trained statistical consultant to professional speaker and writer with absolutely no training is not something that I ever thought I would do, it has been one of the most enriching, fulfilling, and rewarding periods of my life. To celebrate Roll Models reaching a year old, the success of www.scottdrotar.com, and everything we have learned from each other over the last year, I have come up with a fitting way to look back and see both where we started, how far we have come, and how much further we can go in year two.
As I have discussed in earlier posts, I have always had a love and appreciation for mathematics. The way the numbers and variables fit together and the quest for that one right answer have always fascinated me. It is this passion for numbers that caused me to first pursue my bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Notre Dame, and then go spend another four years getting my master’s degree in quantitative psychology from the University of Kansas. Even though I am not currently using my knowledge of math and statistics to pay the bills, my wealth of numerical knowledge has been helpful in developing Roll Models and www.scottdrotar.com into the successes they are today. Thanks to the internet, and also Google for championing data generation and sharing, it is now quite easy (and affordable) to gather data on your website about who is using it. By combining the tools for gathering data courtesy of Google with my extensive statistical know-how and experience, I have been able to analyze what types of people are viewing www.scottdrotar.com, what types of articles are more popular, and a thousand other things that allow me to improve the website for you. In addition, it has also allowed me to easily look at how the site has been doing through its first year. I am not going to bore you with all of the gory details and calculations, but I will share some of the results from my analysis, as some were a bit surprising.
All statistical data are current as of 12/28/2014.
Let’s first look at the bread and butter of Roll Models, my talks. Over the last year I have written six different Roll Models talks. At roughly 60 minutes a piece, since I have delivered eight talks this amounts to spending 480 minutes on stage. While that is fairly unexciting at best, what is slightly more impressive is the number of hours I have spent preparing and writing my talks. On average, a professional speaker spends at least one hour preparing for every minute they are on stage. This means that I have devoted a minimum of 480 hours, or 20 days working around the clock, or 60 8-hour work days (roughly three months) working on my speaking engagements. I have delivered my message to a diverse range of audiences, having spoken to anyone from grade school children to college students to a conference room of businesspeople. Thanks to the encouragement and support of every one of these audiences, Roll Models was able to gain momentum quickly, and this success on stage spilled over to www.scottdrotar.com, which is the next topic for discussion.
The website has been up and running for 338 days with the first blog post being published a few days later on January 13th, 2014. In that time, www.scottdrotar.com has only crashed four times (and I have spent 20 hours speaking with customer service getting it fixed), which is not too bad considering that it is the first website I have ever built from scratch. I have posted 211 articles, uploaded more than 500 photos, and received over 177,779 comments (roughly 140,000 of these were spam). The website has been visited by approximately 11,291 different people over the year, and these individuals found their way to www.scottdrotar.com in a variety of ways. 3,913 (34.7%) visitors came through links on social media sites (with Facebook accounting for over 85% of these people), and 4,133 (36.5%) found their way through a search engine like Google. 2,666 (23.6%) viewers came to www.scottdrotar.com by typing it directly into their web browser, and the remaining 605 visitors (5.4%) were referred by other websites. Even though the www.scottdrotar.com homepage has the most views of any page on the website, the most popular set of pages were the Roll Models blog posts, accounting for almost 75% of the total web traffic on the site.
While the homepage may have the most views (which makes sense being the “entrance” to www.scottdrotar.com), the most popular blog article was without a doubt “I Can’t,” being seen over 1,835 times since being published. The 211 posts average roughly 1,300 words a piece, which conservatively brings the total number of words I have blogged this year to approximately 274,300. This is over 20,000 more than the number of words found in any of the Harry Potter series books, each of which took more than twice as long to write. On average, each article I write takes about six hours. This involves everything from coming up with the idea and title, writing the content, revising and editing it, finding pictures, and posting it on www.scottdrotar.com. This amounts to 1,266 hours, or nearly 53 days working 24 hours a day, or 158 8-hour work days (over 22 weeks or nearly 8 months) that I have spent this year working on the blog alone. While this is a huge amount of time to devote to one task, I am delighted to say that it never felt like I was working too much or getting burned out. I have you to thank for this, because it is your support and encouragement that fueled my dedication to Roll Models.
Since you are largely responsible for my success this year, I thought I would end today’s post by sharing with you what my data says about the people who visit my website. While more than two-thirds of my visitors are located in the United States (with my home state of Indiana having the most of any state), the second most views came from India, which was a bit surprising. About half of the people who visit www.scottdrotar.com use a desktop computer, a third use mobile phones, and the remaining 10% or so use tablets. People view two pages per visit on average, and they spend about two minutes on each page. What I am most proud of though, is that nearly 40% of the people who visit my website come back at a later date. This means that my words are impacting people’s lives deeply enough that they remember my message, which is exactly what I am trying to do. I hope that this trend will continue, and that you will join me in 2015 as I see what exciting adventures year number two holds.