Yep, it’s that time again — time to give the loyal Armed Intelligentsia a peek behind the curtain at how the site’s doing traffic-wise. We don’t hide anything when it comes to reviews or editorials, and we try to achieve that same level of transparency about how we run the site. It also gives our advertising partners a way to compare us to the rest of the field (spoiler alert: we’re the best) to make sure they’re getting the most bang for their advertising buck. So once every quarter we take a moment to reflect on how we’re doing, what articles seem to be the most popular, and where we’re planning to take the site in the next three months . . .
The best phrase to describe our current traffic is, “back to normal.” The spike we saw after Sandy Hook and the ensuing gun control push (not to mention our annual SHOT Show saturation coverage) seems to have died down , and we’re back on track with our expected growth rate.
Our biggest month ever was January, and ever since we’ve seen a gradual regression back to the mean as the number of OMG-level articles about gun control efforts in congress and the states have died down. What we’re left with is an increase of almost 25% per month in terms of traffic over November’s traffic. And these figures don’t include any activity in the new Free Fire Zone forum.
Looking at the weekly reports (too jumbled a graph to publish) we’ve leveled out. The monthly graph shows what looks like an alarming descent from the historic peak, but the weekly results show that we’ve been hovering around the 1 million pageviews per week mark for the last two months, never going under the magic line. In fact, it looks like we’re seeing a slight upward trend once more.
Compared to this time last year, we’ve doubled our traffic. So, I’m pretty happy in terms of continued long term growth of the site’s readership.
As usual, the main thing driving that traffic are, by and large, reviews. Here are the top 25 articles for the quarter:
- Oops: Red Jacket Firearms Loses Their FFL
- BREAKING: President Readying Executive Orders on Gun Control
- Gun Review: Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport
- Gun Review: Ruger LC9
- Bottom Drops Out of AR-15 Market
- Gun Review: Hi-Point C9 9mm Pistol
- Question of the Day: Has Sons of Guns Jumped the Shark?
- Gun Review: FN Five-SeveN
- Gun Review: Smith & Wesson BODYGUARD 38 and BODYGUARD 380
- Gun Review: Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield
- Gun Review: Springfield Armory XD-S .45 ACP
- Gun Review: Beretta Nano
- Gun Review: Glock 19 Gen4 9X19mm
- 9mm Subcompact Pistol Roundup – Because You Asked for It
- Ammunition Review: .300 AAC Blackout
- Gun Review: Ruger SR22
- Gun Review: Mosin-Nagant
- Gun Review: SIG SAUER P238
- Gun Review: SIG SAUER P226
- Lever-Action Ballistics: .30-30 vs. .357 Magnum
- Ask Foghorn: What’s Up With the Ammo Shortage?
- Gun Review: Glock 20 10mm Auto
- Gun Review: Springfield Armory XDm-45ACP
- Gun Review: Mossberg 930 SPX Tactical Shotgun
- AG Harris Bans All New Semiautomatic Handguns in California
Sprinkled in with the reviews are a smattering of politics and economics-based posts, notably a couple dandies by yours truly (hint, hint RF). But while they drew a lot of pageviews, they don’t represent a long-term, sustainable growth opportunity the way the reviews do.
Like I’ve said before, TTAG survives on the “long tail” theory of content. Certain posts might be very popular when they first come out, but the real power comes from their ability to draw people through Google searches again and again over time. Politics posts make a big splash, then disappear. But gun reviews are our bread and butter, bringing in people years after they’re written.
Interesting to note: the most popular gun reviews are concealed carry and “home defense” style handguns. That jibes nicely with NSSF’s recent report on new gun buyer’s habits.
So what’s the plan for the future? Steady as she goes, as far as we can tell. We’ll have a survey out shortly asking The People of the Gun for some more targeted feedback, but according to the stats, we seem to be giving our readers what they want. And, as always, thanks go to the fantastic writers who have dedicated their time to making this site run. Not to mention our loyal and ever-growing readership who make the whole thing work. Thanks to you all.