Well, it is good to be back home from my contract and diving back into the blogging game again.
I wanted to knock out my annual report for Feral Jundi and make sure that it is on the record. The numbers are smaller this year, and with work, my blogging has decreased. But I still have some good data to share.
My overall stats for the blog for 2015 is 100,621 visits and 137,639 page views. That brings my total life time visits to 1,650,139 and page view total at 2,501,277 (January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2015). My first post for the blog was on January 22, 2008.
So it has been eight years of blogging and getting the word out. I am pretty proud of what I have accomplished with the site and I plan on continuing the effort. I am still very passionate about the profession and communicating to the masses out there about what it is we do and where this industry is going.
With that said, lets check out some of the statistics from last year. The 2014 review, I focused on total lifetime stats, and this time I will focus specifically on 2015.
For demographics in 2015, here you go:
The trend is obvious, and I found this out last year. Millennials make up a big part of my readership and a good proportion of men and women read the blog. I see the trend at Facebook as well, and I am seeing interest in the industry from all quarters.
This last year was the first time the military opened up the combat arms field to females. This is huge and will have impact on this industry. Most of the jobs require a combat arms background, and as more women obtain that kind of experience, they will be competitive.
So will we see more women working in this field? I have yet to see it on contracts, but I know there are women out there working security contracts overseas. They are definitely working in the non-combat arms type contract jobs but they are few and far between for the gun jobs. Time will tell and I will keep my eye out for it.
The top ten countries that have visited the site, and in this order are the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Italy, Germany, France, South Africa, Turkey, and Iraq. Some other mentions would be Afghanistan, UAE, India, Kenya and Russia. I did a few posts that involved some of these countries, and specifically Russia, and it is cool to see more interest from those areas.
I am getting a lot of new visitors still, thanks to good SEO. I am at 85,763 new visitors to 14,858 old visitors in 2015. The average page session is 1.37 pages per visit, with a about a minute on site. Which happens when I am not able to blog as much and there is not as much new content to consume.
As for the software side of things, most folks are visiting using Chrome, Safari, and Firefox browsers. For hardware, 57,538 visitors used their desktop to visit, 34,318 used their mobile phone and 8,765 used a tablet. So having a web site optimized for all three is pretty important. I use WPtouch Pro as a plugin to optimize the site for mobile and tablet. iPhone, iPad and Samsung Galaxy products are the top devices.
Now onto content. For 2015, my top post was Job Tips: How To Get Into Security Contracting Without a Military Or Police Background but for posts that were written in 2015, my Industry Talk: GardaWorld Buys Aegis Group For Expansion Into Africa and ME was tops. News like this and the Olive Group and Constellis Group merger were of big interest because of how that stuff impacts the job. With the contraction of the industry and the winding down of the wars, companies are having to resort to mergers and partnerships to survive. I have only commented about the security contracting related companies out there that have merged, but overall, we are seeing the same thing in other areas of defense.
The readership out there is still hungry for job news and I continue to get interest via emails from all over the world on how to get into this industry. That Job Tips post is pretty old, but still doing it’s thing.
The second best post was Leadership: The Proud Prussian Tradition of ‘Disobedience’. This last year, I have been completely absorbed with all things Mission Command and EBFAS. These are some ideas and concepts that are applicable to this industry and I would love to see them catch on. So writing posts about the Prussians and their influence on war fighting and leadership is helpful to bigger conversation.
Leadership has been a passion of mine at this blog, and I am constantly focused on trying to find the good stuff that will help companies and my fellow contractors develop their process and cultures.
The Russian contractor stuff and the UAE Australian chief post were big hits as well. Former members of the Slavonic Corps, went on to form PMC Wagner in Syria, and they took casualties last year as well.
Still, my favorite post last year was about STTEP in Nigeria. I think this was a huge deal and they had a major impact on the war, all the way up until they had to leave because of new leadership in Nigeria.
On the legal front, there were the Raven 23 guys or Blackwater Nisur Square folks that were imprisoned after a long and drawn out legal battle. Their families and friends are still fighting for appeals.
We also have the Seaman Guard Ohio contractors that have been imprisoned in India who are fighting an intense legal battle there. I was hoping they would be freed before Christmas, but that did not happen. Instead they were sentenced to 5 years hard labor! Horrible news….
And finally, the top Call to Action was the Support The Glen Anthony Doherty Overseas Security Personnel Fairness Act. What happened in Benghazi was a tragedy and there is much to learn from that incident.
As for ISIS and Al Qaeda, the effort is still ongoing. AQ has made big gains in Yemen, and ISIS has been making big moves in Libya and holding the territory they got. Boko Haram was extremely active and dangerous last year and Al Shabab is still active in Somalia. So the jihadist front is not diminished at all. I suspect we will see more of the same this year, to include Paris-like attacks and more territory gains by jihadist groups.
We are also seeing more contractor involvement in places like Iraq. As the troops surge in, so do the contractors.
Afghanistan is not looking good. The Taliban have taken back quite a few districts last year, so they are taking territory like nobody’s business. I suspect you will see them continue to press the fight this spring and summer and gain even more territory. The Afghans are lacking in so many areas, to include an inability to pay salaries because of corruption, that I just do not see things getting better.
On a cool note, we have seen an interesting cultural shift of sorts. The presentation of security contractors as ‘heroes’ in a major motion picture film! I am talking about the 13 Hours film, directed by Michael Bay. It did pretty good considering the topic. This is an election year and the movie brings attention to an incident that happened under the watch of one of the candidates. Politics tends to bleed over into the entertainment world and their view of things–especially in reviews of movies that could help or hurt their favorite candidate. There is that, plus security contractors have never been viewed as hero subjects in movies–because of the politics of the subject. Although I do not think the film was intentionally political and it is a great supplement to the book if folks want to learn more about the incident.
Predictions for this new year? More of the same as last year. I think work will still be there for folks if they want it, both in Iraq and Afghanistan. Contractors will be pretty important because of the limited military presence in those countries and because of the support these military and various aid/investment groups will need. I also see more mergers and consolidations happening within the industry.
Personally, I will continue to blog as much as I can and you can also find me hanging out over at Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I have been very active at FB when I can and FB is still my goto place for getting a good feel for what is going on out there. Here is to another year of contracting! –Matt