Diminishing Returns

Last week I talked about networking versus platforming, and both dovetail quite nicely with something I was talking with Tex recently: Diminishing Returns.

There are some fancier graphs out there, but I think this one illustrates my point like…REALLY well.

At a certain point, piling that…fertilizer up doesn’t increase your yield. That’s when you know you can ease up on the…fertilizer. After all, you can only produce so much of that stuff. The good news is now you know where the graph starts to flatten out, so you can manage your…productivity…I’m sorry, I can’t type when I’m giggling so hard.

Ahem. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with finding that point of diminishing returns (at the x=1x spot) and saying “okay, that’s enough.” You didn’t know before how much networking or whatever you ought to do, but now you know, and you can make better plans in the future. In an industry where outputs lag behind inputs so ludicrously, we have to look hard for these indicators.

In other words, I think it’s time to look at some graphs.

social networks

Since the last time I took stock, the people who have come to my site have mostly gotten here through TVTropes, deviantartdisqus, Facebook, reddit, twitter, and tumblr. Some of those sites aren’t comparable, and I need to correct for bounce rate (visitors tumblr only bounce 60% of the time, compared to 75% for Facebook), but it’s clear that people are coming to The Kingdoms of Evil not because of clever quips or socially conscious gifs I’ve posted, but because of content that I’ve produced (or because they’re my friends on Facebook and they love me for who I am or some crap). 



I seem to have been gaining page-views (dark blue line) at the expense of time spent on the website (light blue), which says to me that I don’t have any new content that’s meaty enough to keep people here. The big jump in page views at the end of January (probably associated by my podcast interview with Lars Doucet and James Cavin) was accompanied by an enormous drop in session duration (meaning lots of people were like “ugh LISTENING?!” and left immediately). That’s backed up by the average bounce rate for podcasts, which is 80%. There’s no drop in duration associated with the other page-view spike at the end of March (probably due to my interview with Ferrett Steinmetz), but there is steady decline from Five Things More Important than the Broken Hugos all the way to…about now, actually. Since around April (when I started the every-other-week podcast schedule) I’ve had more, but shorter sessions. The most popular pages (Charming LiesPodcast 87: Writing for GamesThe Kingdoms of EvilNew Frontiers, and Petrolea) are also the most focused on, you know, writing books, which is what I’m here to do.

That might not be completely bad news—my blog is getting out there. But it’s not getting traction. And it looks like while my podcast guests are very nicely sending traffic my way, none of it is sticking around or coming back.

Why not? Maybe it has something to do with content.


Story-related stuff makes up about a tenth of the pages people visit (the largest category after the home page), the podcast about half of that, and the rest split between Wonderful, Awful Ideas and the general Blog. Correcting for bounce rates, the difference in usefulness between the podcast and everything else isn’t much. Plus, while my podcast has gotten a little easier since last year (when I went to a every-other-week schedule) it’s gotten less fun, too.

Combined with what I figured last week about networking versus platforming and the importance of practicing making good content, I think what I need to do is stop the podcast. Don’t worry, I still have a queue that extends into November, but I don’t think I’ll record any new conversations. Instead, I think I’ll put that effort toward art. Who would like to see me make some more art?

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