It is that time again where I like to go back over the prior year and highlight where the blog is at, and talk about some of the interesting data that came out of Google Analytics.

Overall my traffic on the blog was less than it was for 2015. This is understandable because I have taken most of my interaction with the readership over to Facebook. That, and I am doing a lot of contracting overseas still.

The way I have been using the blog now is to write about stuff that is unique that is not being talked about out there. Typically I find myself seeking stories and sharing them on all of my social media spots, and not really creating any new content. I get fast feedback at my Facebook profile and can quickly comment and interact with the readership. This is important to me if I want good intuition/Fingerspitzejngefühl/coup d’oeil on this industry. It is how I stay ‘oriented‘.

On a technical note, I have a Facebook profile and a Facebook page. The page actually has analytics for it, but I am not active on it at all. I do most of my activity on the Feral Jundi profile page. Hopefully Facebook will create a profile analytics tool that is built in so I don’t have to hunt around for a tool. There is stuff out there, but nothing I am interested in yet. So most of my analytics will come from Google Analytics. So lets begin.

My overall stats for the blog for 2016 is 83,436 visits and 109,102 page views. That brings my total life time visits to 1,733,575 and page view total at 2,610,379 (January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2016). My first post for the blog was on January 22, 2008! It seems like yesterday that I was just firing this thing up and digging into all of the particulars of the industry.

The health of the website is alright. This is the second theme that I have used, and I continue to use Bluehost as my host and WordPress as my blogging platform. Over the years, quite a few links of websites have expired and I have had to remove them. Or images have expired, so I had to remove traces of that in order for the posts to work well and look appealing. But all in all, the site is doing pretty well considering it’s age. I would like to find a new theme, but nothing has really jumped out at me. If folks have any suggestions, let me know.

Now for some data. Here are the top countries that have visited the blog last year. One change is that more Russians are visiting. I have been writing about Russian contractors here and at FB, so that is a factor.

The next graphic is devices. No surprises there, but it does emphasize how information is consumed. Mobile devices do matter. Guys and gals read this stuff while sitting at a doctor’s office or at the bus station or wherever. So it pays to have a website that is friendly for those devices.

As for how folks find Feral Jundi, here are the top channels or paths. Organic search means they found me through a search engine like Google.

Under that Social portion, I wanted to highlight where folks are coming from in that world. No surprises there, and this is why I use Facebook. I do attempt to create some activity on Twitter and Linkedin, but really, the action is at FB. I also fired up an Instagram account last year, but I really wasn’t that active. I might try to post more photos there, but that kind of thing really doesn’t interest me.

Now into the content world. What were the top posts of the website? I did not do a lot of posting last year and it seems like my older posts have dominated. The Job Tips article has been very popular over the years. The only post this last year that registered in the top ten was the War Dogs movie post. People probably wanted to look up the company called AEY Inc to see what I had to say about the company after watching the movie.

As for Social Media referrals, as you can see Facebook is the winner. Google Images is another good one because I will make a poster or set up a graphic for a post, and it will pop up in Google Images. Folks will click on that and find the blog that way.

One interesting side note is that Feral Jundi is actually getting referenced in Wikipedia. I do not have a Wikipedia page for the site, but folks are using FJ as a source or reference. One advantage of running this blog for so long is that my content has not disappeared or shifted. I am hoping that links to posts on this blog remain healthy and informative to any future readers and researchers. Like I mentioned above, if you see anything that needs correcting let me know.

Some other data that I will just write about is demographics. My readers were mostly male, but females were very much represented. I am still not sure how Google is able to ascertain that?

For age groups, the top readers were millennials. That makes sense because they are young, more active on the internet, and looking for work (hence why Job Tips is so popular). Also veterans in their late twenties or early thirties that are getting out of the military are looking for work and seeking answers to questions about this industry.

I do get a lot of emails still, and it is a pleasure to help out where I can. Emails come from all over the world and I am always intrigued by what pops up in the mail box. Unfortunately I am not able to easily access those emails while I am away on contracts, but I do eventually get to them.

My favorite posts last year for the blog were the Abu Hajaar one and my post about Sean McFate’s presentation. SAMI shutting down was a shocker. Robert Langdon being pardon was huge news.

Over at Facebook, my favorite posts were talking about EBFAS and mission command. We have a new President and the elections dominated social media last year. It was great to see more industry folks like Eeben Barlow show up on Facebook and to interact with the writers over at SOFREP. Bloggers Tim Lynch, John Robb, and Mark Safrinski have all been active on FB and I have been able to interface with a few authors of books. I have also been hanging out at a Mission Command group page, and that group is wildly informative thanks to guys like Don Vandergriff or Jorg Muth.

The industry trend of mergers and acquisitions have continued last year, and I wrote about Janus Global Operations and their moves. We might see a slow down with that, as the new administration comes in and shakes things up. Until policies have been set, it is a little hard for folks to make plans. I imagine it will be a lot of wait and see.

One thing to note with the new administration is that Erik Prince is a supporter of Trump. Erik’s sister Betsy DeVos was a supporter as well and she was picked to be Trump’s Secretary of Education. With that said, the environment in the beltway might be a little bit more ‘favorable’ towards Erik Prince these days. lol

Some of the big news items last year was the massive refugee crisis and all of the folks pouring out of the middle east. Security has definitely become a factor thanks to the porous borders of Europe. Brexit happened as well, and the refugee crisis and EU control influenced that whole deal. I suspect refugees will continue to be an issue, because things are still burning in the middle east.

Contractors are still active in Iraq and Afghanistan. With Iraq, the government there has been trying to take back control of the country from ISIS. The Taliban are still active in Afghanistan and still taking territory. Afghanistan was forgotten about in the media and in the elections last year, and it will be interesting to hear what the plan is under a new administration. It has become the longest war in US history.

Terrorism really fired up this last year thanks to ISIS and a resurgent Al Qaeda. It’s as if those two groups are competing against one another for top jihadist. As ISIS loses more territory, it’s members will just leave and infiltrate places like Europe or go to the places where the west will not go. I suspect it would be Africa or Asia.

2017 should be more of the same though, and Syria will continue to grind on. Russia has helped out tremendously there, and the regime actually took Aleppo. That is big news, but they still have a lot of territory left.

Not much news has come out of the MARSEC industry. I have not seen any uptick in piracy incidents and perhaps the industry has finally leveled off? There seemed to be a race to the bottom for hiring folks because the competition was so fierce between companies the last couple of years. For shipping, it seems like the cheapest guard force possible is the norm, with not a lot of consideration towards competence or quality.

For legal news, the guys of the Seaman Guard Ohio are still rotting away in prison in India, and the Raven 23 guys are still waiting to do their appeal. What a horrible ordeal for both groups…

Well, that is about all I have for 2016. Here is to the new year and I look forward to keeping the conversation going about the industry. –Matt