Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Traffic Analysis

Just about a year go, I finally convinced Dave that we should be using Feedburner for the RSS feature of Critical Hits. I never really knew exactly why, but just from seeing other sites using it I could tell that we should have been using it for a while beforehand. Probably the big difference between using Feedburner and not using it is the metrics, you get excellent tracking of how many people you have reading your RSS feeds. These metrics also allow you to use great analysis tools to figure out traffic trends and history, and all that good stuff.

Running a website can make you fall in love with graphs. They're sexy.

August of last year we had 19 feed subscribers. That probably depressed me at the time, but not too much because I'm the kind of person who will face the reality rather than ignore it or try to convince myself that it's not true. Pretty much any given point in the history of Critical Hits I've looked at our traffic and thought, "Damn, we're doing well!" I remember late '06 I thought this and looking back at it our traffic it's very interesting to think about.

We started measuring our traffic with Google Analytics in October of 2006, and as I said I was happy at the end of that year and enjoying the site and according to Analytics we were getting ~35 visits a day. I'll have to go back and look at what kind of content we were putting up back then, just out of curiousity. Jump ahead to April of 2007 and we were starting to get a lot of google traffic (after more than a year of posting), so our traffic had jumped to ~200 visits a day.

Then in July of '07 almost all of our google traffic suddenly cut off, we're pretty sure due to updates in how Google indexed pages and just an overall cleaning up of their search system, which dropped us to about 100 visits a day on average. I remember being happy with any of those numbers, because it was just a site that Dave and I were running and we only really expected friends to pay much attention anyway. Through the end of 2007 we were still getting traffic of ~150 visits a day, and I definitely remember being happy with the website at the end of last year. Our traffic grew a little bit in early 2008, probably to about an average of 200 visits a day, then we hit some huge spikes for our coverage of the D&D Experience (thanks to Yax, and Wizards). By the end of March our numbers had grown to ~300 visits a day, which was awesome because this time it was not mostly random google traffic, it was a more quality kind of traffic.

These days, mid 2008, our average traffic is up to about 450-500 visits a day but any given day or week we'll see typical numbers up to even 800 a day with a few spikes higher than that. I'm extremely happy with how the site has been doing, and I'm still having a lot of fun with it, so thank you to any of you that are a part of that number!

I suppose the conclusion I can make, and it is something that I feel should always be kept close at hand, is that I enjoy doing this kind of thing no matter how many people are reading it. But the numbers sure do look pretty in a spiffy graph!

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