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OK, so the last time I did this it wasn’t REALLY the end of the business Q1, and some of you complained. That’s fine, even though I liked my 4 month quarters I’m happy to put us back in line with the rest of the world. We’ve looked at where the traffic was coming from, but today let’s try to look at trends over time . . .

For those who are interested, the proportions of traffic haven’t changed much (if at all) since the last time we did one of these analytics things. Pageviews are still trending up, the U.S. is still our primary audience, and Monday is still the top day.

The following is a table comparing the traffic per quarter since early 2010.

Quarter Views /Quarter Views/Day (Avg) % Change
Q2 2011 1,823,178 19,817 +38%
Q1 2011 1,314,424 14,604 +130%
Q4 2010 570,765 6,203 +116%
Q3 2010 264,047 2,870 +174%
Q2 2010 96,296 1,058 +431%
Q1 2010 18,107 306

I think that chart just about says it all. Since this blog started it has been gaining readers at a good pace, admittedly in fits and spurts but growing nonetheless. Four quarters of constant growth and increased quality isn’t something many (any?) big companies can claim these days.

The site passed the “half a million views per month” mark in April, the first month of this quarter. Since then, the site has actually been closer to 3/4 of a million views per month than 1/2 a million and with no signs of stopping. In total, since the site started operating, there have been 4,086,817 views.

The average time spent on the site (per visit) has also been increasing. For the first four months of the year we were running about two minutes and thirty-five seconds per visit, indicating that people tended to actually read what we were writing. That metric has jumped to two minutes and fifty eight seconds per visit for this quarter, which may be an indication that more of the readers are actually… well… reading.

Last month we introduced a statistic I liked, which was the net loss to the economy from our site. Using the minimum wage for the state of Rhode Island (where, if the writers were to actually get paid, we would have our checks issued from) and multiplying by the hours our readers spent reading our stuff (42,635 hours or 1,776 days), we have successfully sapped the world economy of more than $315,500.51 for the last three months. Which is $21,887 more than the first four months of the year combined.

What kind of content is driving this surge in viewers? Or, more accurately, how can we tailor our content to what our readers want? TO THE PIE CHARTS!

What we have here is a pie chart showing the total views for an example day (yesterday, actually) broken out by the type of post that was made. Gun reviews were in purple, opinion pieces (such as the ever popular “ATF Deathwatch” series) in green, and news (“OMG NEW SHOTGUN!”) in red.

I can hear RF shouting from here. “We didn’t publish any gun reviews yesterday, so why is that section so big?” And the answer is that gun reviews are actually the most popular part of our content, just not necessarily the gun reviews we published that day. Of the total articles viewed that day (195) nearly half (47%) were reviews, yet they accounted for far less than half of the traffic. That’s because each article was only viewed a couple of times. This effect, however, is cumulative.

A quick look at the 10 most popular posts of all time gives you a good idea of what we’re talking about.

  1. Gun Review: Ruger LC9
  2. Gun Review: SIG SAUER P250 9mm
  3. Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day: FPS Russia. Again.
  4. Gun Review: Ruger SR9c
  5. Gun Review: Remington Model 700 VS
  6. Hi-Point .45 ACP Carbine: Are Handgun Caliber Rifles the New Home Defense Shotgun?
  7. Gun Review: Springfield Armory XDm-45ACP
  8. Gun Review: Springfield Armory M1A Scout Squad
  9. Gun Review: Century Arms WASR-10 (Romanian AK)
  10. Gun Review: Kel-Tec Sub-2000 .40

I think I see a trend here. While opinion and news pieces give the site a good and immediate boost, the majority of our traffic comes from gun reviews we did long, long ago.

The moral of the story seems to be that while gun reviews may not necessarily be “the hot thing on the site” for that day, they slowly but surely drive traffic to the site. And while the readers are waiting for the latest and greatest gun reviews, the opinion and news pieces keep them interested. Opinion pieces = short game, gun reviews = long game. And the internet is all about the long game.

Join us next quarter for how we became more popular than Google (I hope…). Oh, and just FYI, this was post # 5,000.

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  1. “The average time spent on the site (per visit) has also been increasing.”

    Technical www question, how does the server know when someone leaves the site?

  2. Whenever you enter TTAG a small program is inserted in your computer which tells Nick whatever he wants to know. It will also jump to a smartphone/netbook/pad computer and follow you around all day sending pictures of everyone you meet and jumping to the phones of everyone you speak/Message/think about. Nick, Brad, and RF plan to use this information to control the world eventually.

    Unfortunately they are at the same planning level as the underpants gnomes at present.

  3. You seem to know that drives traffic to your site.

    But do you know what drives people away? Love the reviews, news, and the witty commentary, but grinding on Government agencies and law enforcement are negative distractions in my eyes.

  4. Mikey’s site is stickier than TTAG. True, he only has two viewers, but they stay on for the entire quarter. It’s not like they enjoy the site. It’s because they’re still learning to read to themselves without moving their lips.

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