Sometimes, due to the fact that Pace and Space is not my primary (or even secondary; if you’re seeing ads on this site, they’re not because I’ve tried to monetize it, so there shouldn’t be ads here and you can block them with my blessing) source of income, I get sidetracked from basketball and get a little behind on the news.
Like, for example, Damian Lillard scoring 55 points in a 147-140 loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 5 of the Portland Trail Blazers’ ongoing first-round playoff series Tuesday night.
I did not twig to this because I checked the sports news or the box scores or anything else like that.
I twigged to the news because I checked my daily traffic for this site and saw that the most-clicked article yesterday, mainly right before midnight, was “Why Do 50-Point Games Come So Often In Losses?”, an article that inevitably pulls a bunch of search-engine traffic from some variation on “50 point game in loss nba” or however you want to phrase it.
Basically, someone scores 50 points, their team loses, and people hit up the googles to try and work out how often it happens.
There are certain other articles that pull similar search traffic when whatever phenomenon the article is about happens in a game, and when I see a traffic spike, I start poking around NBA.com and Basketball Reference if I haven’t already worked out from having seen the game myself why people would ask the question.
I am not one of those people who cares all that much about “SEO gurus” or “drive more Google traffic to your site with these SEO tricks” or whatever BS the marketing folks who spam my email with inquiries are on about at least five times a week (at least, that’s as many as slip past my spam filter.)
If you haven’t noticed, this site is mostly “stuff Fox noticed on Bball Ref, thought was weird or interesting, then did some research on to see what’s so weird about it.” Yeah, sometimes I’ll do topical stuff, but since the fall of 2019 or so, I’ve been mostly interested in weird basketball esoterica and history.
And you know what I learned from that shift in content philosophy?
It’s that a lot of you out there are just as curious about this stuff as I am; my traffic is up over 50 percent monthly from before that shift from running commentary about the current NBA to more of a history and weird statistical test focus.
When I look at what people are searching for that lands them here, it’s stuff like “was Allen Iverson overrated” or “70s NBA” or “best ever NBA offense.” This tells me something.
Specifically, it tells me that there’s something to be said for two major maxims in content creation.
The first is “create content that you yourself are interested in and enthusiastic about.” People will listen someone who’s passionate about what they’re talking about just as easily as they’ll tune out someone who’s talking just to talk. I don’t like trend chasing. And what’s more, this leads me straight into the second lesson:
“Don’t follow the crowd and expect to stand out.”
I think the single biggest reason this site has grown explosively over the last year and a half is precisely the fact that I’m talking about stuff that mainstream sites aren’t. Yeah, you are all a seriously niche audience if you’re here and geeking out on NBA history and stuff like my ongoing conniption fit at Horace Grant getting left off the Eastern Conference All-Star team in 1992 and my just-as-insistent argument that Detlef Schrempf belongs in the Hall of Fame.
But at the same time, let’s face it. You’re here because this is a place where that stuff gets discussed a lot. You might even be one of the 7 people who read my three-part analysis of the greatest WNBA player ever—and if so, thank you, but if I learned one thing from that traffic report, it is that nobody gives a steaming hot one about the WNBA.
I’m going to be busy for a few days (got two major freelance assignments in my day job as an “office mercenary” handling overflow projects on a contract basis for Seattle-area clients), but I didn’t want to just disappear and leave you all wondering if I’d died.
Plus, every one of you whose continued engagement with my articles and whose interest contributes to those growing traffic numbers? Y’all deserved a bit of a love letter. I’ve been doing this site as a solo project since October of 2017 and launched on the old host alongside a small troupe of staff writers back in 2015. That’s a total of nearly six years of my life, and every time I wonder why I spend so much time and effort on it, I have a tangible reminder that this site pulls over 60,000 annual pageviews…which doesn’t sound like much, but like I said, it’s a niche enthusiast site with a zero-dollar marketing budget that I do as a hobby. I’m not expecting to be ESPN.
To every one of you out there? Like I’ve said over and over: Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!