View of Red Rocks at dust in Prince Edward Island National Park. By Keith McArthur

August Highlights and Lowlights

August was a mixed month for me.

On one hand, I was lucky enough to be travelling with my wife Laura and the kids for over half the month. We went to Orlando (stinkin’ hot, Disney parks, villa with private pool) and the Maritimes (ocean, lobster, breathtaking vistas like you see in the image accompanying this post).

On the other hand, this meant that I didn’t write nearly as many posts in My Instruction Manual. This also explains why this is my first post in a week and a half. We returned last night from Halifax, and while I had every intention of writing posts ahead of time or while we were on vacation, it just didn’t happen.

While I wrote fewer posts this month, the ones I wrote performed extremely well. My posts were on the shorter side, both because I had less time to write but also because I noticed that shorter posts tend to do better. Moving forward, I will continue to have a mix of shorter and longer posts, as each topic requires.

Here are some of the highlights and lowlights from August.

Traffic and subscribers

While page views continued to grow, unique visitors fell slightly in August due to the drop in posts to promote. My Instruction Manual currently has 547 WordPress followers (through email and WordPress Reader), up from 472 at the end of July.

July’s most read posts

  1. Spoiler Alert: You’re Going to Die, in which I write about how we avoid thinking about the fundamental truth that our days on this planet are numbered. This has already become the third-most-popular post all time in My Instruction Manual.
  2. Thanks for Saving My Life, in which I marked the four-month anniversary of my kidney transplant to thank my sister Stephanie for her life-saving gift. (No. 5 all time).
  3. When Your Heart Walks Away, in which I write about my feelings about my son Connor going away to overnight camp for the first time. (No. 6 all time).
  4. Choose the Color of Joy, in which I write about a sign I saw at the hospital where my mother had knee surgery this month.
  5. Three Things Happy People Do. Hint: One of them involves complaining.

July’s Least Read Post

None of this month’s posts performed poorly. But Eclipsing Divisions, in which I wrote about how the solar eclipse brought people together, received the fewest views.

Most Liked & Discussed

The month’s most viewed post also generated the most comments and likes. Spoiler Alert: You’re Going to Die received 23 comments and 60 likes.

Readership by Country

The top five countries represented in August were (in order) Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, India and Australia. This is the standard ranking for the blog, but the number of visitors from my home country of Canada continues to fall, at 40% in August, down from 61% in my first full month of blogging in June.

Moving Forward

While I’m sad that vacations are over, I’m excited about the fresh start that September brings. You can expect more regular posts from me this month. I’m also planning to move my blog to self-hosted this month and to launch more social channels on Instagram and Pinterest. I also have some big announcements planned for this month about the future of My Instruction Manual!

What about you? How did you enjoy the third month of My Instruction Manual? What posts would you like to see in month three?

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