In 2022, my blog had a total of 6,702 views. The highest it’s ever had in a year.
5,305 of those views are for my Under the Oak Tree review.
That’s about 79% of my total views for 2022.
What the fuck happened?
Once upon a time in February 2021, I decided I was going to share a review of my recent series obsession at the time. It was also my first review published here for the first time since… pssh, 2018 maybe? But that was it, really. For months that was all it was.
I still remember when I started noticing my daily views went from its occasional one-view-per-day norm to five, ten, even twenty views in a day. I had a quick look and it turns out my post was on the first page search results for “under the oak tree review”.
Suffice to say, I was floored.
At that time, December 2021, I honestly thought things would die down in a few weeks or so. I think this was even the first time in years that I really fully took notice of my blog stats.
I went on a hiatus from blogging around 2019-2020 and came back with a renewed mindset of simply writing about stuff that I want, views and traction be damned.
So seeing this one post I randomly published out of my love for a manhwa series all those months ago, getting the kind of numbers I’d never seen before..? It’s honestly like an out-of-body experience.
Five months later, and it’s still getting a lot of views.
May 2022. Whilst doing quick website maintenance, I noticed that the image I initially used in my review post came from an aggregator website. Although there was no direct link visible on the post itself, the code in it remained: the image’s source came from said website that hosts an illegal scan/copy of the series.
Within the day, I took immediate action: updated the post and links to instead direct to the publishers’ pages, added a note bringing this mistake to light, and made my stance on piracy crystal clear. This is, and will always be, visible on both the review post and my Twitter account heavily linked to this blog. I learned a very important lesson that day.
But I think what’s even more interesting to me now is what happened after I did the revisions.
The (interesting) aftermath
From June 2022 onwards, literally the month after removing the aggregator website’s image source, the post’s monthly average views increased. I also found out that it’s actually the views from June to December that make up about 72% of the review’s total views for 2022. Heck, just this month January 2023 (which, as of writing, is only three days into the month and year) it already makes up 41 out of 55 total views.
The timing of the increase and the revision is certainly interesting. But I want to put it out there: my knowledge of the inner workings of Google’s search engine algorithm is veeery basic. I have no idea what these entail, nor if these two things are even interrelated. It could be entirely by chance.
Despite all this, the delusional yet hopeful part of me wants to believe this was the result of the revision. That, perhaps, this is what happens when we are, even just a little bit, more aware of the sources we link. That the places we direct our internet visitors or audiences to might matter a bit more, and in a way that SEOs’ logic cannot explain and daresay often miss. Maybe it’s just the human aspect of internetting. But I digress.
What’s a lot less delusional is: with more eyes hopefully will come more clicks directing potential readers to Under the Oak Tree’s page.
Out of curiosity, I found out that the post’s click-to-view ratio is nearly 3%. That means almost three out of a hundred people who viewed that post clicked on at least one link there – and it could be any of the links from RIDIbooks’ site or Manta’s.
This is what I mean when I said I am wary of whatever morsel of contribution my little posts can do to works I hold near and dear to my heart. And whatever morsel that is, I fervently hope it is for the benefit of the creators.
What this means to my blog
It may seem like a “Well duh” moment, but I want it incredibly clear.
My main goal for sharing these posts, whether here or on my social media platforms, is and will always be: to simply share my love for these works. If there is any material collateral effect in making these posts, I wish for it to be directing future readers and fans to financially and/or legally support these works.
I do not wish for clout, or high engagement rate on my blog, much less to earn anything from all this. (And if you’ve been around for a while, you will know full well this is the complete opposite of Kate from 2017-2018. I’m not ashamed to say it; at one point I desired the coins people can get from blogging and doing reviews.) But now I write these posts and publish them because I want to express how much these titles mean to me. I want the world to know, “Hey I checked this out and I enjoyed it! Maybe one of you will too!”
Of course, this isn’t to invalidate nor undermine content creators who earn from doing these same things. Regardless of my personal distaste/wariness towards certain creators in the anime/manga community, I think for people to create results the likes of which are of the same – if not higher – level as what happened in my Under the Oak Tree review, but with full intention, is nothing short of amazing. I can only imagine the amount of hard work they put into building up their audience, keeping them engaged and for some, even making a living doing so.
It’s just not what I want to do with my own spaces.
So to answer my initial question, What the fuck happened? I don’t fucking know.
There is, of course, the ecstatic prospect that, out of the hundreds who clicked on the post’s links and visited the series’ pages, perhaps… maybe… hopefully, one of those people read, enjoyed and became a fan of Under the Oak Tree and now love it as I do. And this goes with reviews I post on Twitter too. Beyond that, though, I am perfectly happy with how things currently are. Candidly, I wanted to point out this delightfully unusual event that happened, and is still happening, in this little space.
What these numbers do translate to me is thus:
I intend to continue riding the coattails of this traction, however short or long it will continue to be, by sharing more works that I enjoyed and loved here. And so, dearest readers, friends, and visitors, I will never tire of saying this: thank you so much for your visit and I hope you enjoy your stay. Check out some of the other stuff too, maybe you’ll come to love them. 😉
Featured image doodled and edited by me; original photo by Sanni Sahil via Unsplash