News and Views from Dave Wilson

Archive for December 18th, 2010

Rollercoaster Month

by on Dec.18, 2010, under Photography

A bit like salaries in the technology industry, no-one ever seems to talk about traffic on their web sites. I can understand this, I suppose, if you are trying to attract advertisers and are unhappy at the number of visits you are receiving but, since I’m not trying to pay for my blogs via click-through advertising, I reckon it can’t do any harm to talk about it a bit. I would love to know how much traffic other folks get – I’ll show you mine if you show me yours?

This blog gets, frankly, very little traffic. A good day sees about 50 visitors and I have somewhere around 120 people subscribed via RSS according to FeedBurner. My busiest day ever was in January 2010 when a link from DPS resulted in 1500 visits and caused the site to go down since my self-imposed monthly bandwidth limit was exceeded (I’ve since changed the limit!). The blog has been around for about 7 years and I don’t do a lot to publicise it. Most incoming traffic comes from cross-postings on Facebook and Twitter. This is fine with me since I consider my photoblog to be my main site and it’s the one I use as my homepage URL in all publicity and when posting on other blogs.

The photoblog has been up and running now for 22 months and I’ve been tracking its traffic with interest. The past month has proven to be rather interesting:

November/December - Views per day

November/December - Views per day

The highest traffic I’ve ever seen occurred on a day when I suspect someone emailed a link to some of my Longhorn Band pictures to the whole band (and all their relatives?). From my typical 200 or so visits, the traffic jumped to just under 2000 on one day before falling back quickly. A week later, one of my images appeared in a post on DPS again and this translated into another large spike in traffic. This is unusual and daily visit rates tend to bounce around a fair bit but looking at the average, things are looking encouraging regardless of these unusual spikes. Viewership has increased reasonably linearly since I opened the blog and this trend appears to be continuing.

Photoblog views per month

Photoblog views per month

These charts show page views so don’t indicate if this does, indeed translate into more individual viewers or whether the fact that there are more images on the site means people have more to look at if they decide to wander back through the archives. A look at the raw statistics from the server does, however, indicate an increase in unique visitors per month of somewhere between 60 and 100% since the start of this year.

All this, of course, begs the question of whether the number of visitors is actually important or not? I post to both of these blogs mostly since I enjoy it. It’s encouraging when other people look at my work and the fact that more people appear to be looking now than a year ago feels good but, when it comes down to it, I don’t change what I do based on the readership numbers and I almost certainly wouldn’t change anything if they started to drop again. This is somewhat different from the case with my previous “cash cow” web site, which averaged 3000 to 5000 visits a day and ran click-through advertising. In this case the income generated could be correlated pretty well with the number of visitors each month (ignoring Google’s many and confusing advertiser rate changes). I sold that site earlier this year since I was outside the PC video loop and not updating it as much as it needed and now only manage my “fun” sites and a few for clients I’ve had for years. Traffic now is merely an ego modifier, I suppose 🙂

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