The time has come once again to justify to advertisers, gun companies, and the mainstream media why we (TTAG) matter. All those three constituencies care about is how many eyeballs we can bring to the table, so the better we do, the more we (potentially) get. The more advertising dollars, the more guns to review, the more invites to gun control debates and so forth. Other websites (we’re too classy to name names, but you can figure out they are) go to great pains to keep their traffic stats a state secret. We don’t roll that way. So let’s take a stroll through the stats from this past quarter and see how TTAG is doing . . .
While we usually get a nice traffic bump from the SHOT Show, the January time frame also seems to coincide with other events that bump up the number of viewers in and of themselves. One year it was a gun tattoo. The last year it was aftermath of Newtown and the NY SAFE Act passing in the dead of night. But this year? There were no extraneous goings-on to muddle the numbers. That traffic spike is 100% due to articles we published from SHOT Show this time. And more specifically, as we’ll see in a moment, the article highlighting the Gilboa Snake.
This most recent quarter was again our best ever traffic-wise. But it was also a relatively turbulent quarter when you drill down a little bit.
The extended traffic spike we saw in Q4 of last year seems to have subsided, and we are once again close to the “normal” traffic curve. I was concerned that after the SHOT Show we were going to see a slump like we did after all of the post-Newtown gun control fervor died down last year, but it looks like we’re back to our old “onwards and upwards” trend. The February dip was a little over 10%, which could partially be explained by the fact that February has roughly 10% fewer days than January or March.
Anyway, March was our best month ever in terms of traffic. From looking at the daily traffic it seems like we’ve hit a new “normal” for daily visitors, but we’ll have to see if the trend continues.
Here’s a new chart for you stat nerds: change in pageviews month over month. This shows the percent that the total number of pageviews changed from one month to the next, highlighting a little more clearly where the traffic spikes were over the last couple years. Nothing really groundbreaking, but still nifty to look at.
The metric known as “unique visitors” isn’t exactly the most scientific count of the number of people who read our site, but it’s an internet standard measure and its’s close as we get. And that number for this quarter is over two point one million. Per month. That’s like having the entire population of Houston, Texas reading our site every single month.
My favorite metric, though, is the average time on site. In the first quarter of 2014 TTAG’s average time on site was 6:06. That’s up from five and a half minutes last quarter, and means they’re actually reading the articles. Sure, some people skim the content and only look at the pictures, but most viewers actually read our reviews and opinions. That’s pretty cool to me.
And then there’s the derived metric we can extrapolate from that figure: lost productivity. It’s pretty simple: if we know how much time people spend on the site and how many of them were here, we can use the average hourly wage (for February 2014, since March isn’t available yet) to figure out how much money we cost the economy in lost productivity when all of you could have been working. The tally: for Q1 of 2014, that figure is $1,589,866,690.84. In other words, this one website cost the world economy over $1.5 BILLION DOLLARS in lost productivity. And that was only this quarter. That’s an accomplishment we can really be proud of.
So is all this traffic because gun sites are doing well, or just because we’re the best? Well, here are a few selected competing websites and their global rankings, as reported by Alexa.com:
|Website||Alexa Ranking (US)
|The Truth About Guns||3,986|
|The Survivalist Blog||6,446|
|The Firearm Blog||9,432|
|Sipsey Street Irregulars||24,740|
|The Gun Wire||35,630|
|Gun Nuts Media||41,463|
|Moms Demand Action||201,798|
|Walls of the City||295,183|
|Mayors Against Illegal Guns||1,286,034|
(Numbers as of 4/1/2014 7:00 PM Central)
We’re continue to be number one for gun blogs, but there are still a few sites between us and Google. We’ve leapfrogged about five hundred websites since last quarter, and I expect that to slow down over the next few months. Pageviews per site tend to grow exponentially as you get closer to the top, so the same month-over-month gains won’t sustain this rate of ascent. The good news is that our competitors have the same issue, so while the absolute number won’t change much the relative distance might increase more than expected.
For us, our popularity is due to the ever-popular posts we have in our back catalog and their easy availability via Google. So it comes as no surprise that our most-read articles aren’t necessarily from this quarter. Here are the top 25:
- Gilboa’s Double-Barreled AR-15, The “Snake,” Makes its American Debut
- Gun Review: Remington R51
- Gun Review: Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport
- BREAKING: Anti-Gun CA Senator Leland Yee Charged With Gun Running
- Gun Review: Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield
- Gun Review: GLOCK 42
- BREAKING: Winchester Recalls Lots Of .22 Long Rifle Ammo
- Gun Review: Ruger LC9
- NY Legal 50 Round AR-15 Magazine, New from FAB Defense
- G2 Research’s RIP Ammo – Ballistic Testing, Phase One
- BREAKING: Ares Armor Raided by ATF
- Gun Review: Beretta Nano
- BREAKING: Smith & Wesson M&P Pistols to Fall Off CA DOJ Approved List
- Gun Review: Smith & Wesson SD9 VE
- Chris Willden Saves Three Kids with his Gun
- Gun Review: SCCY CPX-2
- Gun Review: Glock 19 Gen4 9X19mm
- Colorado Town Orders Local Gun Club to Drop NRA Membership Requirement
- Gun Review: Hi-Point C9 9mm Pistol
- Gun Review: Smith & Wesson BODYGUARD 38 and BODYGUARD 380
- Gun Review: SIG SAUER SP2022
- BREAKING: Facebook Considering Banning Gun Related Pages
- Oops: Red Jacket Firearms Loses Their FFL
- Have Retailers Been Hoarding All The .22 LR Ammo?
- Gun Review: FN Five-SeveN
Gun reviews are the theme, as usual, but just like we saw last quarter some of the more time-sensitive posts are making it onto the big board as well. The Gilboa Snake was the runaway hit of the quarter, but articles like Leland Yee’s comeuppance and Facebook’s capitulation to Moms Demand Action also made a big splash in terms of readers.
So, that about wraps up our quarterly stats. Riveting, I know. Based on the numbers it seems like the “full steam ahead” approach is the best one, sticking with what we’re doing now — just more of it.