This article continues the trend of discussing our web traffic and provides a summary of web traffic activity for February 2009. The purpose of this article is to provide our readers with insight that we have gained through our analysis of web traffic trends in the hopes that it can help our readers through the information that we document as we experiment with varying approaches. February was an outstanding month – our best yet – and was marked by a greater than 50% increase in overall web traffic when compared to January’s traffic.
Web Traffic Analysis
Let’s start out by reviewing our daily web traffic and overall summary of activity. Figure 1 provides a visual depiction of web traffic as measured in terms of page views.
Figure 1. February 2009 Daily Web Traffic
While reviewing Figure 1 keep in mind the approach we used was different than the preceding month as reported in “Web Traffic Summary, January 2009“. In January most of our blog posting occurred at the end of the month and we found ourselves scrambling to achieve traffic level goals by posting more frequently at the end of the month. During the month of February we were hoping to be proactive and achieve our traffic goals early in the month to give us some breathing room at the end – we were hoping not to repeat the marathon session that occurred at the end of January!
We were very successful at this and posted one article per day up to and including February 19, 2009. Our goal was to achieve a 20% traffic increase by the end of February – we achieved January traffic levels on February 14, 2009 and the goal of a 20% increase on February 18, 2009 – well ahead of schedule. Another remarkable event occurred as well – we achieved a total of 4,556 page views in a single day which is our highest day to date, by far! We are not sure what caused this drastic spike – roughly three times our daily average – but if I had to guess I would say that it was a combination of content and posting frequency as I had discussed in previous articles.
Concerning content, on the busiest day we had posted an article by Amy titled “The Key To Successful Business? Partnership.”. Although I believe that this was a great article, I do not believe it is vastly different from our previously posted content. So if I were a betting man I would have to say that posting frequency had a stronger role than content, although good content serves as a foundation. I personally believe that many bloggers miss this point – they post very frequently – sometimes multiples times a day, but the content suffers – this may work some of the time, by my thought is that eventually like anything lacking a strong foundation, it will eventually crumble under it’s own weight.
Another item worth noting is the drop-off that occurs past February 19th – our traffic drops from our busiest day ever to 908 page views – not bad, but a far cry from the previous day. Traffic continues to drop until the end of the month – registering 8 page views on February 28th. It is worth noting that we did not post any new content past February 19th, this was caused in part by burn-out and another part laziness. I found that although we were excited at the beginning of the month and built up a tremendous amount of momentum, once we hit our goal I had reached a point where I was tired of writing. In addition, we had just returned from a road trip to Washington D.C., although exciting, like all good trips it was a bit tiring as well. Finally, I noticed once we had achieved the goal the sense of urgency had diminished and we just didn’t post any new content for the remainder of the month. The trick will be to balance the need for content posted consistently without reaching burn-out or missing our traffic goals.
Now let’s check out some detailed numbers for the month of February as shown in Figure 2 below:
Figure 2. February 2009 Web Traffic Summary
I will not go into too much detail here as you can read this on your own if interested. I will note however that we had a total of 29,357 page views by the end of February, an over 50% increase from the previous month – not bad! In addition, we had an average of 1,048 daily page views which corresponds to an over 70% increase in average daily page views. Finally, as noted previously, February 19th was our busiest day of the month (and since inception) at 4,556 page views.
Figure 3 provides the traffic summary by week; areas of interest for the month of February is 2009-06 through 2009-09.
Figure 3. February 2009 Weekly Web Traffic
Traffic during this period make be broken down as follows:
1. Week 6 (2/1 – 2/7): 11,064 page views
2. Week 7 (2/8 – 2/14): 8,484 page views
3. Week 8 (2/15 – 2/21): 8,154 page views
4. Week 9 (2/22 – 2/28): 291 page views
Yet another item worth noting is that a holiday, President’s Day, occurred during Week 8. Historically we get creamed during holiday weeks and to even have a decent showing we need to compensate by doing a double post on a holiday, and that generally does not return traffic to normal levels right away. We did not post two articles for this holiday, and overall we did not do too badly at 510 page views on 2/16, however what amazed me was the rapid recovery as shown below:
1. 2/17/09: 932 Page views
2. 2/18/09: 716 page views
3. 2/19/09: 4556 page views
So in essence, the our busiest day on 2/19 allowed us to have a week that was comparable to the preceding week – 8,154 page views versus 8,484 page views; early to mid-week this did not even seem possible.
Figure 4 provides a monthly view of web traffic.
Figure 4. February 2009 Monthly Web Traffic
Here are the values to date for 2009:
1. January 2009: 19,070 page views
2. February 2009: 29,357 page views
Nothing really new to discuss here that has not been addressed in the preceding paragraphs, just that we are heading in an upward trend which is fine by us! Now let’s get into the lessons learned from this month.
February 2009 was our best month so far, not just in terms of traffic but our overall rhythm. Although we had a great showing in terms of web traffic there are always things that could be done better based on what was experienced – here they are:
1. Frequency: As previously discussed, January 2009 was a rushed month as far as striving to reach our web traffic goals, it really came down to the wire – and in the end we did not even achieve our goals for that month. In all fairness we did have have server issues, with the server being down for a good part of the month as detailed in that article. In order to recover once the server was back online, we had implemented a various rigorous schedule, posting up to six times a day during the last week of that month! February 2009 was much easier – we not only achieved our goal in record time, but we demolished our objective and only posted an article once per day until we reached the web traffic objective by February 18th. That being said we were tired by the time this occurred! The only difference being we front loaded the work instead of procrastinating to the very end. This was a great improvement, however more can be done here. For March 2009 we hope to further refine this a bit, perhaps instead of posting daily until we reach the objective, post three times a week consistently throughout the month, we shall see how this works out and report back next month.
2. Content: We noticed a definite relation between content and traffic patterns. When posting the personal development type articles we witnessed consistent traffic levels that occurred over a longer duration. These articles were also more likely to be viewed over longer periods of time even in our “Posts” archive. On the other hand, when we posted technical articles addressing such items as Technorati, SEO, etc. – they were more of a flash in the pan. We would get very high traffic levels for the first day, sometimes within the first few hours, but traffic would quickly fizzle over time. We believe that our readers who are interested in personal development stay and read the whole article and then progress to the other articles. The visitors looking for the “how-to” type of material tend to visit to figure out a technical problem, gather the information and then leave. Although this is traffic, I believe that all traffic is not created equal. Our goal is to achieve long term sustainable traffic, visitors who read an article in it’s entirety, perhaps go to other articles, and return on a regular basis. As a result we are going to reduce, perhaps even eliminate many of the how-to type discussions and focus more on personal development. This may cost us traffic in the short term, but we are betting that it is worth it in the long run.
3. Growth Patterns: During February I had read and reviewed five books to include Do The Right Thing, Guilty, ProBlogger, and Still Alice. When reading ProBlogger I had discovered quite a few interesting subjects and tips. One subject that I found of particular interest was that of buying and selling blogs. It turns out that there is a community of people who buy and sell blogs – they even have criteria of what makes a blog attractive or unattractive – the process is very similar to real estate. There are even people who flip blogs for a living, purchase a fixer-upper blog, give it some TLC, and flip it for a profit. In the business of blogs, one item that is viewed as unattractive is abnormal spikes in traffic patters that are unexplainable or worse yet unsustainable. Actually in general unsustainable, unexplainable abnormalities are a bad thing even when good, and in the case of blogs it is no different. Refer back to Figure 1, specifically February 19th for an example. One objective for March will be to lessen these occurrences or at a very minimum have a really solid explanation.
My hope is that a combination of spacing the articles out throughout the month and focusing our content will result in a more steady growth pattern. In the end I believe that this will make for a better blog and improved experience for our viewers and regular readers.
Amazing web traffic growth was experienced this month!