Quarter

Statistical trends being what they are, for the second quarter in a row, we seem to be experiencing a “regression to the mean” situation. Over the winter of 2013/2014, there was quite a bit of news and excitement (you may have heard about it) that drove our numbers to previously unseen heights. Over the last couple months there has been…virtually nothing news-wise. Small things mainly, but nothing really big enough to drive the same kind of traffic (not that we’d ever want to see anything like another Newtown). The resulting impact on our traffic is somewhat depressing, but nonetheless expected . . .

Up until the end of 2012, we had years of constant, steady growth based solely on our ability to entertain and inform readers. It was a slow burn, but important for one reason: it gives us a baseline. Using that traffic, we can extrapolate on the graph where TTAG should be naturally without the big breaking news stories. While we might be trending back towards that “natural” line, we’re still well above the mark — about five million pageviews per quarter above the mark, actually. So while we’re trending slightly downward, we are still beating the curve by quite a bit.

PVMStacked

The reason for this summertime slump? Elections. Politicians (everywhere except California) are intentionally avoiding the the topic of gun control because they know there’s nowhere to go but down. Democrats have learned the hard way that gun control isn’t a winning platform, and Republicans will only get more riled up by gun-grabbing talk from the left. There’s really nothing to be gained, so while there have been a couple shooting events that seem to be perfect for a “think of the children” type appeal for more gun control measures, none has been forthcoming. That dynamic will go away after the first week of November, though, so what happens then should be interesting to watch from a pro-gun perspective.

Visit

While the pageviews are declining a bit, readers seem to be sticking around. There is a slight drop in readership, but it isn’t proportional to the dip in pageviews. We still hit the two million readers per month mark for the quarter so I’m happy, and I suspect that the decline might have something to do with the beginning of class and the end of summer. The good news is we’re about on the money for a “normal” level of readership given past performance.

And looking around the gun-o-sphere, just about everyone else in the space did worse.

Website Alexa Ranking (US)
The Truth About Guns 4,756
Bearing Arms 5,652
Gunbot 7,528
The Survivalist Blog 7,737
Guns.com 9,253
The Firearm Blog 10,656
Guns & Ammo 14,575
Ammoland 20,014
ENDO 25,564
American Rifleman 36,855
Monderno 43,534
Gun Nuts Media 77,734
The Gun Wire 84,500
SaysUncle 85,653
Sipsey Street Irregulars 152,712
Moms Demand Action 137,902
JTT 192,290
NRA Blog 215,649
Walls of the City 585,011 (G)
Mayors Against Illegal Guns N/A

(Numbers as of 10/1/2014 11:00 PM Central)

For the umpteenth quarter in a row, we beat everyone else in the gun blog world popularity contest. We also hit a couple new milestones on Facebook, soaring past guns.com to take the #2 slot in “likes” for all gun blogs. We think. Anyway, we’re getting a whole mess of readers both here and on Facebook.

What’s really interesting to note is that the Mayors Against Illegal Guns website has become so unpopular that Alexa.com doesn’t even have enough information to take a guess at its readership level. Sniff.

The reason for our sustained awesomeness: as always, gun reviews. Some blogs rely on breaking news stories to generate all of their content, so they only thrive when when news breaks. Take a look at the Alexa pages for our competitors and note how their stats resemble a roller-coaster. Ours, on the other hand, are relatively constant and the reason is our gun reviews.

Here are our top 25 articles for the quarter:

  1. BREAKING: Obama Administration Bans Import of Izhmash & Kalashnikov (Saiga) Firearms
  2. Gun Review: GLOCK 42
  3. AR-15 Rifle Choices
  4. BREAKING: Armed Doctor Stops PA Hospital Killer
  5. ‘Sons of Guns’ Stephanie Hayden Says Father Will Hayden Raped Her, Too
  6. Gun Review: Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield
  7. BREAKING: Remington Scrubs All Traces of R51 from Websites
  8. St. Louis Cabela’s Protects Guns From Looters
  9. Gun Review: Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport
  10. Oops: Red Jacket Firearms Loses Their FFL
  11. The Best Gun for Home Defense Revealed
  12. BREAKING: Sons of Guns’ Will Hayden Arrested for Child Molestation
  13. Red Jacket’s New Owner Speaks Out About Will Hayden
  14. Project Build: The Ultimate Mosin Nagant
  15. Gun Review: GLOCK 26 Gen 4
  16. BREAKING: Sons of Guns Star Arrested (Again) for Alleged Rape of 12 Year Old [UPDATED]
  17. ATF Just Approved the First New Civilian Machine Gun in 28 Years. By Accident.
  18. Moms Demand Action Group Asked to Leave Lansing, MI Kroger
  19. Gun Review: Glock 19 Gen4 9X19mm
  20. Gun Review: Ruger LC9
  21. Patriot Promotions Statement on Child Abuse Claims Against Sons of Guns’ Will Hayden
  22. 9mm Wins the Caliber Wars
  23. Gun Review: Smith & Wesson SD9 VE
  24. Gun Review: Century Arms Zastava N-PAP AK-47
  25. Red Jacket Firearms Fires Will Hayden Over Child Sex Allegations

Make no mistake, breaking news stories benefit us, too. But as you can see, the gun reviews hold their own and even surpass the “OMG look at this!” sensational articles over the course of time. I’ve been giving away the secrets to our success for years, but it doesn’t look like anyone else is paying attention.

So while we’ve been in a slight “correction” statistically, so has everyone else. More or less. I expect traffic to start picking up once again when the elections are over, but until then, it’s steady as she goes.

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26 Responses to The Truth About TTAG: 2014 Q3

    • I second this. I did like the daily digest, also if we can link all the days articles into that post it would be great.
      Then I get a single email with all the links in it, hopefully.
      This lets me quickly reference what I want quickly, since well I really have no life with 9 kids and commuting 4 hours a day.

    • I really do miss the Daily Digest. It put pertinent and entertaining news all in one place. It needs a resurrection.

  1. Looks OK to me.I spend way more time than I should on TTAG. I would spend MORE time if mobile wasn’t kinda’ buggy. Oh well…keep up the good work.

  2. Fourteen of your top twenty five articles are gun reviews, or directly related to guns. Seven (approx. 30%) are about Red Jacket Firearms. That makes approx 90%.

    Note that none of the “police militarization” and similar highly charged political/opinion articles are on the top 25.

    I’ve been reading TTAG for about two years now, and the last nine months there has been a huge increase on that kind of articles. I first came here looking for no-nonsense, professional, trustworthy gun review. Now I find myself having to wade through a lot of chaff to get to the actual gun content.

    A suggestion? Add, if possible, a quick “1 to 10” survey on each article. From “I don’t give a fig” to “totally rocks, please have more of this content !”.

    And after a reasonable amount of time (1Q ? 2Qs?) – tally the results.

    • Keep in mind that our hourly posting keeps those gun reviews at the top of the Google search engine. If we didn’t post so often the gun reviews wouldn’t get read.

      • dnk that. very interesting. then keep posting hourly!

        Best gun reviews anywhere.

        Fwiw; Want more on precision semi .308….

  3. Anyone notice Everytown.org?
    They are rated at 15,825, globally they are 93,657.
    They are mainly female and 89% from the US.
    Although while their peek was slightly above 20K the graphing is so bad it is not even showing up for much of the time. So the quarter listing of 15K is a false positive. They are not even registering, forget a roller-coaster we are talking on existent.
    Our readers spend over twice as much time on our pages.
    While we are mainly US based we actually have rankings in other countries where they don’t even get that.
    Also of note.
    Most of their traffic comes from face book. So you know you go out there see some picture saying 86 school shootings have happened since Sandy Hook, yes they do say that, and then it take you to their page.
    TTAG sees 35% of it’s traffic from google searches. This mean people are searching for reviews, articles on what ever and we are hitting the top of the list, which is a good thing.
    While we are mainly male they are mainly female, with almost no males. Of course have some females, but would love to have more. Also we our readership educational levels run from no college to graduate school. For them it is almost all exclusively college.
    Of course momsdemandaction.org doesn’t even really exist anymore, but was a complete failure in regards to traffic.

  4. I believe “The Gun Wire” stopped updating stories on the 18th of Sept. Did they die?

    Thanks, btw, for alerting me to yet another weapon I must have – Sig P220 in 10mm. The wife, not so thankful.

  5. Great job but I know you’re not satisfied with status quo. Marketing solution to the sales plateau since 1880? Sex sells. Where are those Israeli super models? Hell, use Lebanese not-so-super models.

  6. The new format tends to crash my iPad in batches – after a few times I stop trying for a day or two. Anyone else having this problem?

  7. Six months ago, I got mad about Google’s policy of not accepting ads for guns and gun-related products. I typed “guns, guns, guns” in their search bar and up came TTAG. Two years ago, I didn’t own a gun and now I own three. I can’t begin to tell you how much I’ve learned here. I love this site.

  8. I’ll take a guess that the buggy new format took a huge toll on readership, I stopped reading everyday for a few months because the auto open of the google play store was so unbearably annoying!

    • I’m finding page loads to be rather long and Safari isn’t caching. It almost renders the site unusable but I love TTAG and hope that it gets figured out at some point. All started at the same time as the new format. It has certainly affected the amount of time I spend on the site.

  9. Love the articles and the reader comments. This is one of my go-to sites.
    The one thing that does detract slightly from the experience is sometimes the very slow page loads when you drill down into an articles and the periodic warning about closing a “long running script”, and on all browsers, the googlehead ads that fill up the web page load history which prevents use of the back button.

  10. Would you like to reverse the down trend? It’s easy. Make sure that at least 50% of the articles you post are actually about guns, not about gun politics, not about gun laws, not about some grandmother who used a gun to stop a burglar.

  11. Pretty certain the decline is not statistically significant. You are seeing a strong seasonality. Q1 numbers every year are strongly above trend. Q2 numbers every year are notably below trend.

    Construct a moving average chart and overlay the quarterly numbers. You will see the seasonality.

  12. I have been a long time (far before the Newtown spike) reader of this site. And honestly I have been coming to it less recently, and reading TFB more. TTAG has too many articles about cops, non-gun politics, and other random news that I get from my news website. RF, if you want to start a personal political blog, you are free to do so. But it seems to me like you have been turning TTAG into a political grandstand for your pet causes (that aren’t guns), and I don’t like that.

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