2017 in Review - Growth in Challenging Times

2017 in Review - Growth in Challenging Times

At the current pace of life, it feels like a true challenge to publish the traditional year in review article for 2017, before 2018 has completely taken over our minds and everyone has forgotten about the past year.

While I usually lament how fast time passes by, I honestly couldn’t wait for getting over with 2017. I appreciate a hard and intense (life-) sparring session, but 2017 did not feel like a fair sparring partner, more like a bully trying to hit me below the waistline.

Life-Sparring Continues to Grow

Despite a job-related publishing hiatus of almost three months, from August to November, the audience for Life-Sparring.com continued to grow in 2017:

27% more sessions (6,700), 27 % more users (5,900) and 30% more pageviews (7,900) are decent, especially considering that I did not run any google ads in 2017 and the traffic was as organic as the apples in my parent’s garden.

While the overall number of visits rose, the demographics stayed relatively stable: the majority of readers (58% vs. 62% in 2016) is still male and the dominating age groups are still the ones between 25-34 and 35-44 years (together 64% in 2017, 63% in 2016).

Sessions by Country/Territory 2017 - Life-Sparring is pretty international, Graphics with Microsoft Power BI

Sessions by Country/Territory 2017 - Life-Sparring is pretty international, Graphics with Microsoft Power BI

Already in 2016 I was amazed how international the audience of Life-Sparring is. According to Google Analytic,  the page attracted in 2017 visitors from at least 118 different countries/territories, among others from Timor-Leste, Palestine, French Polynesia, Vanuatu, and Andorra. Too bad that the level of direct interaction remains still relatively low.

Just like with the demographics there was little change among the top five countries. The US continues to dominate, with 44% share of the sessions (unchanged from 2016), Hong Kong was second with close to 10% (2016: 9%), Canada switched places with the UK on 3th and 4th place and Singapore comes in 5th place.

Evergreens and Newcomers – The Top Five Articles in 2017

More surprising then the demographics were the top five articles in 2017 (by pageviews). The top two articles from 2016 showed an amazing level of staying power and managed to defend their crown, relegating three articles from spring of 2017 on the places three to five:

No 5: In Love With a Falling City? – Reflections on ten Years in Hong Kong

This article was my personal favorite in 2017. While the majority of the Life-Sparring rounds deal with topics of self-improvement, self-quantification or health and fitness, “In Love with A Falling City” was a very personal look back on my 10 years in Hong Kong and the development that the city and I have taken over this decade.

Unsurprisingly the article was the crowd favorite in Hong Kong and by far the most read article by Hong Kong viewers. It also was the number one article among visitors from Austria and Germany.

No 4: The World’s Smartest Bagel – Is this Kickstarter Product the Ultimate Tape Measure?

Reviews of Kickstarter projects have a tradition on Life-Sparring.com and they also tend to do over average regarding visitors. Less than average was unfortunately the performance of the product reviewed in the article. The very ambitious “World’s Smartest Tape Measure” was full of amazing features, unfortunately failed to deliver on the basics though. It was just impossible to get reliable measurements. As Bagel is a Korean start-up, it is only logical that this article was by far the most read Life-Sparring article by visitors from South Korea. Obviously Dutch and Polish visors were also interested in taking smart measures, as the article was also the most read article by visitors from both European countries.

No 3: Going all Keto: Week One - Five Insights of a Keto Beginner

I put a lot of effort into every article on Life-Sparring.com but for this article I literally bled, as measuring my blood ketone level during my experiment with the ketogenic diet required me to prick my finger multiple times per day. Great that the effort was rewarded with interest from the audience. Especially the health concerned Australians were interested in my experiences with ketosis, the article only narrowly missed the number one spot among visitors from “Down Under”.

No 2: Deconstructed me – What I learned about myself through DNA analysis

The silver medalist in 2017 goes to an article that already held the number two spot in 2016. As it looks gene analysis and the interpretation of the results is a continuously hot topic. I am happy that the Life-Sparring article on DNA analysis with 23andme has become somewhat of an evergreen, more than tripling the size of its audience in 2017. The article did great in most countries, but in the Philippines, Spain and the United Arab Emirates it claimed the top spot.

No 1: Travelling with (and without) the “World’s best Travel Jacket”

This review of one of the most backed Kickstarter apparel projects of all times was the runaway hit in 2016 and to my surprise still held on to the top spot in 2017. Obviously a product review like this has a shorter life expectancy than articles with more general topics. Kickstarter sees a constant stream of new projects and even the biggest successes or failures are forgotten relatively quickly. I doubt that we will see a triple crown at the end of this year, however, in 2017 “Travelling with (and without) the “World’s best Travel Jacket” remained the top article in the US, the UK and Canada, in Japan and Indonesia, amongst others.

Life-Sparring on Social Media

Besides the blog and the long-form articles on Life-Sparring.com, there is Facebook and Instagram.  As an Instagram post is much faster produced than a 1,000 – 3,000 words Life-Sparring round, the output on social media was much more consistent.

Top three Life-Sparring posts on Instagram, analyzed with Gabstats.com

Top three Life-Sparring posts on Instagram, analyzed with Gabstats.com

Especially on Instagram 2017 was a productive year with 263 postings. While this is a completely different medium from the blog, I enjoy it at least equally.

Trying to catch the essence of life in a few snapshots is just pretty fun. Check it out!

The Outlook? 2018 will be Awesome!

After the challenging year 2017, I am determined to make 2018 awesome in all aspects. For Life-Sparring that means, more articles, more collaborations and partnerships and maybe some experiments with different types of media.

Keep up the good fight, protect yourself at all time and keep life-sparring!

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