Q2-2013-quarterly

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.

Q2-2013-monthly

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:

  1. Oops: Red Jacket Firearms Loses Their FFL
  2. BREAKING: President Readying Executive Orders on Gun Control
  3. Gun Review: Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport
  4. Gun Review: Ruger LC9
  5. Bottom Drops Out of AR-15 Market
  6. Gun Review: Hi-Point C9 9mm Pistol
  7. Question of the Day: Has Sons of Guns Jumped the Shark?
  8. Gun Review: FN Five-SeveN
  9. Gun Review: Smith & Wesson BODYGUARD 38 and BODYGUARD 380
  10. Gun Review: Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield
  11. Gun Review: Springfield Armory XD-S .45 ACP
  12. Gun Review: Beretta Nano
  13. Gun Review: Glock 19 Gen4 9X19mm
  14. 9mm Subcompact Pistol Roundup – Because You Asked for It
  15. Ammunition Review: .300 AAC Blackout
  16. Gun Review: Ruger SR22
  17. Gun Review: Mosin-Nagant
  18. Gun Review: SIG SAUER P238
  19. Gun Review: SIG SAUER P226
  20. Lever-Action Ballistics: .30-30 vs. .357 Magnum
  21. Ask Foghorn: What’s Up With the Ammo Shortage?
  22. Gun Review: Glock 20 10mm Auto
  23. Gun Review: Springfield Armory XDm-45ACP
  24. Gun Review: Mossberg 930 SPX Tactical Shotgun
  25. 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.

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31 Responses to The Truth About TTAG: 2013 Q2

  1. Well done, TTAG, Robert. It’s the 2A and political issues that get me in the door; I am at most moderately interested in gun reviews (HINT: the TAVOR reviews and articles suck me back in), but I am grateful for all that is offered here.

    On into the next quarter; let’s ROLL!

  2. Keep up the great work, Team. There’s a reason I’m on 2-3 times a day to check every last word written here. I can also personally testify that your articles have “converted” 2 people that I know *after I sent some links and had a reinforcement chat and range trip*.

    Thanks for all all you do.

  3. Why on earth aren’t those top 25 linked to the articles? Ain’t nobody got time for searching each one individually to see what all the hype I’ve missed is all about! :0

  4. Great work. My daughter is a freelance writer….too bad she is not into guns. So I know how difficult this world can be. Keep up the good work and I’ll keep reading and if I can ever get her into guns I’ll send her your way.

  5. I second James’ call for links to those articles.

    I started reading TTAG because of the 2nd Amendment and related articles (was linked to a well-written article here), but I continue to read and comment because I like your style, the no-bullshit approach, the willingness to touch the live wires rather than avoid controversy, and the mostly intelligent comments!

    Oh, and the reviews of guns I’d love to own don’t hurt. Alas, my finances ill-match my desires.

    • There’s a search box at the top right. Type the name of the article in word for word and the article you want should be the first result.

      • It’s even easier than that .. highlight the article, right click and select ‘search for blah’ and there it is..

    • I usually have 3 or 4 tabs open with a different article in each one and I refresh non-stop to read all the comments as they come in.

  6. Pretty tough (i.e., impossible) to maintain the interest of what was going on in the first quarter of the year. But the trend is your friend. Keep doing what you’re doing.

  7. I read this site almost daily and love it. Here’s the content I love most (in descending order):

    1. Gun rights victory
    2. News about a possible upcoming gun rights victory
    3. Recap of how a gun rights victory was achieved
    4. Rifle (and rifle accessory) reviews
    5. Handgun reviews
    6. Ammo related articles

    Here’s what don’t like so much:
    1. Coverage of tragedies (but necessary, I suppose)
    2. Gun CONTROL victories (also necessary)
    3. Reader submitted stuff (sorry)
    4. The use of “slave state” (maybe because I live in one though)
    5. Ask Kirsten Weiss stuff (I think it would be much more entertaining in video form… no surprise, eh?)

    All in all, I’d say there is a “farrago” of wonderful content on the site. Great job, guys.

  8. Can’t wait till the back orders start to go down an manufacturers start thinking about new products again.

  9. My gun related youtube channel saw a remarkably similar usage profile. I don’t get nearly the hits TTAG does, but percentage wise the graph is almost identical.

    -Jim

  10. I more or less stumbled in here when I was researching information and reviews for the M1A rifle, and the rest was history. Only one problem – I’ve had a lot of Java Exploit attacks blocked on this page, and my computer keeps asking me to update Java, but I’ve heard you shouldn’t. Likewise, the plug-in is disabled. Other than that it’s all peachy-keen.

  11. Is the dip because of what you say? Or is it because that marks the point where you decided to double down on propaganda and throw the “truth” about guns to the wind in search of pageviews?

    Any kind of balanced reportage on this site has been noticeable only by its absence lately and your mission statement all but abandoned it seems. It’s not that I even mind you selling out to those interests, it’s your right after all (although I do miss the way the site was back in the day, when it was more review centric) but the hypocrisy of claiming you “explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns” when all you are now is a hollow sounding board for right wing gun toting ideologues is kind of distasteful and pathetic IMO.

    • Admit it. You secretly love guns. Otherwise, why would you troll TTaG when you could spend your time on MSN.com, Slate, or HuffPo instead?

  12. What do you know? TTAG traffic being driven by factual reviews not Farago’s extremist gun politics rants. Big surprise…..not

    • Reviews are great, but what good is a review if you can’t buy the product because some naive, left-wing utopians ban it? This website provides great, high-quality reviews -in fact, that’s what drew me here in the first place. I stay here because not only are there good reviews every so often, but there are constant updates about the political shenanigans which threaten our hobby/way of life, and other news of interest to those who love firearms. A mere reviews database draws people….who then proceed to visit once every month or three. The updates and insightful, real-time commentary on current goings-on keep people coming back.

      • Looks like Ben and hmmmmmmmm took time away from their Hillary for president fan club to make stupid comments.

  13. I was initially brought to TTAG for the Henry Big Boy .44 review by Chris Dumm which was spot on. That review prompted me to resolve the galloping rear sight problem I’d been experiencing with the carbine. One call to Henry Repeating Arms and one replacement rear sight later = problem solved.

    Once I started browsing the TTAG website, I knew I’d found a gem of a forum; user friendly and informative with a wide spectrum of firearm topics matching my interests plus new interests to be discovered.

    Thank you all at TTAG for your high quality efforts in bringing all these topics to the fore at one easy to use location.

    Thanks to the many followers who post comments offering diverse insight, opinions and information.

  14. Wondering if your stats capture folks like me using readers. I use netvibes and pop over to the site basically when I want to comment. But otherwise I read the articles on netvibes.

  15. Do you count page views from Flipboard?
    I often view Twitter via Flipboard on ipad.
    You probably get a page view when I open a page, but Flipboard preloads several lines of text, sometime enough that I don’t have to open.

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