So this is my last post for 2013, and it’s also my 2500th Andertoons Cartoon Blog post. I started this way back in May of 2004, so next year I’ll have been doing this for a decade. Can you believe it?!
Last year around this time I wrote about how I’d changed the scheduling and content of the blog to some success. So I thought this year I’d do the same sort of thing, ponder next year’s blogging direction, and highlight some of my favorite posts from 2013.
Let’s start with the bad news. Blog pageviews dropped an average of 37% this year over last, which sounds awful, right? But when you look back, it’s not really that bad. Pageviews went up 293% for the same period (first 49 weeks of the calendar year) from 2009-2010, went up again by 1837% from 2010-2011 (I know, right?!), and went up again 21% from 2011-2012. And a lot of 2012′s traffic was spiky, especially around popular How-To-Draw posts.
Also, average time on blog pages increased this year over last by 28%, the bounce rate dropped by 12%, and overall pageviews on all of Andertoons.com were up. So it’s not as bad as it first sounds.
Here are the top blog posts from 2012:
And here are the top blog posts from 2013:
Here’s what I’m taking away from this. The How To Draw lessons were a good new draw (no pun intended) in 2012, but in 2013 they were less novel and garnered less interest. So while I think I can expect some nice evergreen traffic from them in the future, the HTDs are going away for 2014.
The blogs from 2013 that performed well were collections of cartoons on a single topic (thanks, teachers!), so I’m probably going to be doing those more often going forward.
And although video takes some time to do well, and it hasn’t performed as well as I’d like, I’m probably going to continue with the occasional watch-me-draw post. The people that watch them really like them, and I enjoy doing them. Plus, I get to just talk and let someone else transcribe the audio!
So now that the numbers are out of the way, here are the blogs I thought were some of this year’s standouts, as well as the ones that got the most pageviews.
Most viewed - Same as above.
Most viewed - LEGO Valentine Spaceship - This was super fun to build, and, except for the pilot and the “arrow,” every piece is red!
My pick - Writing Cartoons – 9 Ideas For Generating Ideas – I talk in depth about how and where I find stuff to play with and make fun of.
Most viewed - How To Draw A Cartoon Baby Chick – Tutorial – I think this isn’t one of my better HTDs, but the numbers disagree.
My pick - I Get A Caption With A Little Help From My Friends – I document how my Twitter followers help me figure out a caption.
My pick - FAIL! – A few of my most notable failures and why they’re fantastic.
Most viewed - Same as above (but just barely…)
My pick - 5 Cartooning Books You Should Read Right Now - $47 on Amazon will buy you a first rate cartooning education.
Most viewed - Same as above
My pick - Jack Kirby’s Lone Ranger (1971) – So the movie was a dud, but you have to see this Kirby card game art.
Most viewed - How to Draw a Cartoon Giant Robot – I loved Pacific Rim, so this makes me happy.
My pick - Custom Cartoons – A Look Behind the Scenes – Follow along as I create a custom cartoon for a client from beginning to end.
Most viewed – 20 Education Cartoons for Back to School - The little post that could.
My pick - Sketching, Resketching & Inking Cartoons – The 15 minute video takes you from pencil to final ink.
Most viewed - How To Draw A Cartoon Scarecrow – This trounced the above video, but I stand by my choice.
My pick - LEGO Zombie Spaceship Powered By Brains – I didn’t post as much LEGO as I’d have liked to this year, but I really enjoyed building and sharing this for Halloween.
Most viewed - Halloween Cartoons for 2103 – Halloween cartoons always perform well.
My pick - OSU Festival of Cartoon Art – 2013 – I think this is a good overview of the weekend, and there’s loads of pictures.
Most viewed - How To Draw A Cartoon Pilgrim - Maybe I need to rethink this whole dropping the HTD thing. Sheesh!
My pick - Christmas Cartoons – 2013 - I just think this is a pretty good batch.
Most viewed - How To Draw A Cartoon Reindeer – Tutorial - So when I wrote this is was too early to tell, but based on the rest of the year I feel pretty confident on this.
So that’s it for the blog for 2013. When I checked in early December I was ranking #6 on Google for “cartoon blog” behind such notable blogs as Cartoon Brew, cartoony pal Mike Lynch, and The New Yorker. And while I’d prefer to rank a bit higher, that’s pretty OK with me. I sometimes need to remind myself that as much as I enjoy writing this blog, the whole reason I started it was to draw more traffic to Andertoons.com. So as long as it’s fun to create and driving traffic, I think you can probably expect another 2500 posts.
Happy New Year!
Hey, Tom Racine recently did a fantastic job interviewing me over at Tall Tale Radio. You should give it a listen!
A huge thanks to Tom for a really fun time!
Christmas is just a few days away now, so here’s a sampling of some of my favorite Andertoons Christmas cartoons and blogs to help you pass the time while you’re waiting for Santa. Enjoy!
Peruse these fantastic holiday cards from 1951 over at Flickr. Heck, you could probably even print ‘em out!
Or, if you’re just looking for a good laugh, enjoy some Andertoons Christmas cartoons.
Whatever you do, have a happy holiday!
The holidays are fast approaching, and this year I thought I’d show you how to draw your very own cartoon reindeer!
When you’re finished, feel free to tweet, pin, email or otherwise share a pic of your reindeer with me and I’ll post it over at Pinterest! And if you’d like to grab the tutorial to post on your own blog or website, you’re more than welcome to. (A link back would be appreciated.) Enjoy:
Easy, right? You should try out my other how-to-draw tutorials too! Here’s just a few:
Feel free to check out my Christmas cartoons too!
Over the years there has been a lot written about how all we ever needed to know about life we learned on the playground or in kindergarten. (Google “lessons and playground” to find any number of them.)
So, just for fun, I did a little looking around on how cartoons and advice and came across a post from earlier this year that highlights popular 90′s cartoons and some of the life lessons they offer. They cover all sorts of ideas including love, education, and, my personal favorite, fear:
“Bravery doesn’t mean you’re not scared. Bravery is doing what you’re afraid to do.” – The Professor
Could the same lessons from cartoons be applied to our business life? Randy Milanovic recently explored how cartoons and their lessons can be applied to any company’s internet marketing strategy. Themes including “never put all your eggs in one basket” and “the wrong tactics can come back to hurt you” are covered in this entertaining write up on what to consider as you and your company develop your internet marketing strategy.
There are all sorts of way to use cartoons too. You can use them on their own as snackable and viral content, to punctuate, clarify, and draw attention to your ideas, or try something really outside the box like Mashable’s recent contest:
Just two years ago, this promotion would not have been possible. With the power of social media and new tools like Vine, this is an example of an inventive promotion that created compelling content, hours of six-second fun, and terrific buzz for Mashable.
So, think differently about cartoons. They just might be the most powerful force in your marketing strategy and implementation tactics.