Every quarter I like to give you guys a little update as to how we’re doing — by “us” I of course mean TTAG and by “doing” I mean how our traffic looks. By investigating the traffic for the site we can figure out how many people read our blog, and hopefully provide advertisers with an idea of how many people they’re reaching when they advertise here (thus providing an incentive to do so and funding our website). So let’s begin, shall we?
Let’s start with a summary. This quarter (the period from April 1 to June 30 inclusive):
- 1,711,639 unique visitors
- 6,353,098 pageviews
- 3:05 Average length of visit
But what does that mean exactly?
“Unique Visitors” is a measure of how many individual people read something on our site. If you want an existing metric you can compare it to, “circulation” for magazines is probably the closest you’ll find. Our monthly average for the quarter was around 615,889 individual people per month. Put another way, that’s 148% of the readership of Guns & Ammo (source) — their entire readership plus almost another half more. In other words we’re playing with the big boys now.
That’s not to say that we’re the most widely read — Field & Stream and American Rifleman still seem to be the top dogs with 1.4 to 1.5 million readers — but we do think that we’re the best. And a growing number of people seem to agree. Just not necessarily those who want to advertise with us, unfortunately.
“Pageviews” is the total number of times our web servers have generated a page for our readers, be it the front page or an article. For advertisers this would equate to the total number of opportunities for someone to click on a link in your ad or be influenced by one of your advertisements on our site. Its also a pretty standard metric among those running websites for the proverbial “whipping it out” contest, since its an extremely easy number to compute and compare with great accuracy.
The above graph shows our pageviews broken out by month since we started, and there is one rather alarming dip right around March. You may remember that around that time RF decided to move the servers to GoDaddy (no doubt drawn by the… erm… “talents” of their marketing department) which resulted in just about everything going wrong that possibly could. Comments didn’t work, posts were lost (everything I wrote in December 2011 mysteriously disappeared, for example)… It wasn’t fun. Traffic took an instant 10% hit and refused to recover.
Thankfully RF saw the light and moved our servers back to Rackspace. Not long after we transitioned to Zippykid, which compared to everything else we’ve been doing to keep this website running is the promised land of milk and honey. We’ve since restored all of the missing posts and comments are working better (if not perfect), and traffic is starting to return to its normal roaring pace. Ignoring the “SHOT SHOW jump” from January we’re actually still remarkably close to being “on pace” for continued growth.
Despite the website issues we still had the best quarter ever in terms of traffic. And the weekly numbers continue to trend ever skywards.
“Average Length of Visit” tells us how long the average reader sticks around. If that number were under a minute I would have to conclude that people come here expecting something and finding something completely different, then scurry away like a cockroach when you turn the light on. But because the number is roughly equivalent to the time it takes to read one of our reviews I get the distinct feeling that people are actually reading what we write.
Speaking of reading what we write, here are the top 10 articles of the last quarter determined by total pageviews:
- Gun Review: Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport
- Gun Review: Ruger SR22
- New Smith & Wesson M&P 9 “Shield”
- This is What Happens When You Have A Population That Has Never Seen or Interacted with a Firearm
- Oops: Red Jacket Firearms Loses Their FFL
- Gun Review: Ruger LC9
- Quote of the Day: Narrative Destroying Edition
- Gun Review: FN Five-SeveN
- Ammunition Review: .300 AAC Blackout
- Gun Review: Glock 19 Gen4 9X19mm
I bet you can see the pattern here. It gets a whole lot more clear when you realize that the next 20 articles in the list are all gun reviews. People seem to really like our reviews.
So what’s the point of all this? What am I trying to convey? I’m trying to point out to prospective advertisers that we’re the best bet for investing their advertising money, as we have gobs of loyal readers (and are growing that number every day) and FAR cheaper than magazines to reach similar numbers of people.
I’m trying to point out to manufacturers that we’re a trusted source for gun reviews, and that you should lend us your firearms so that we can provide an accurate and truthful review to people who may be interested in purchasing your goods. And I’m trying to confirm in your minds, our dear readers, that you’re not alone in thinking that we’re awesome. The cat’s pajamas, even. Because we are. And we will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
So what’s coming up that’s new and exciting? Well we’re launching a podcast, but more on that later today. We’ve also invested in some video equipment to do better quality videos and possibly feature length segments.
But mostly we’re going to keep focusing on what we do best, namely gun reviews and providing in-depth coverage of news and events. As I like to point out, the difference between TTAG and other blogs is that here we strive to give you the whole picture when something new comes up. Some blogs just post a short blurb about the news with some comment about how excited they are. Others just repost press releases, or do a half-assed job of reporting the news. Here you get the whole story, including why the news is interesting or important and what the impact may be. Well, we try at least.
Keep reading — it only gets better from here.