At the end of the month I like to publish and analyze my website traffic stats from Google analytics. I got this idea from another blog where the owner publishes his earnings every month. Since I don’t make any money and think analytics are more interesting than finances I put my own twist on the idea.
Visits and Pageviews
The “Visits” parameter is considered to be any unique visit to the site, not necessarily a unique visitor though. For example, if you were to visit the site and look at a few pages, then close the window and come back later in the day that would count as two visits but only one unique visitor.
The “Pageviews” parameter is an estimation of how many pages have been viewed. So if you came to the site and looked at the About Me page, then read about the SensorCape, then read my article about designing a PCB, that would count as three pageviews.
The totals for this category are:
- Visits – 5,732
- Unique visits – 4,180
- Pageviews – 22,700
Overall I am very happy with these numbers. With this being the first month of real publishing coming out of the site, I have been surprised and impressed with the amount of traffic generated. Growth was pushed along by makezine.com which drove about 40% of the total monthly visits to this site thanks to a linkback on the “How to Design the Perfect PCB – Part 1″ (Part 2 coming VERY soon by the way).
Looking at the trends for the month I started out with ~50 visits/day and have closed out the month with a 5 day moving average of ~500 visits/day. That is solid growth, and with the high quality articles and projects I have coming down the line, I am confident that traffic will continue to increase.
The bounce rate is essentially an estimate of how much your site sucks. If I visitor comes to your site, looks at one page, and then leaves then they have “bounced.” If they look at another page before leaving then it doesn’t count as a bounce.
I have been fortunate enough to have a few interesting posts that encourage people to stay and read at least one more before leaving so my bounce rate is hovering at around 0.2% right now. I would consider this to be an excellent bounce rate, if I can keep it there I will be happy. If it goes up, well, I’ll still be happy.
Visit Duration and Pages/Visit
These two metrics are (indirectly) related to bounce rate and serve as a good estimate of how engaged your audience is. Over the past month I have seen average visit times bounce around from 40 seconds to above 6 min. In the past week, now that traffic is stabilizing I am seeing an average visit time around 2:45 min which is an okay number.
A related metric is the pages/visit metric which shows how many pages a visitor looks at before exiting the page. I have seen a very consistent average of about 4 pages/visit for the past month. I would normally consider this to be good all on it’s own. Unfortunately, when combining the pages/visit number with the visit duration number I am seeing that people are spending less than a minute on each page, while the majority of visits are to pages that can’t possibly be processed in one minute.
This means that the readers are not as engaged as they should be, which is kind of expected in the internet age, but I would still like to improve on this.
Takeaway: I will be working over the next month to make content more engaging.
Visits by Country
Most of my visits (47.5%) came from the U.S. this month. Since this is a U.S. based website and most of my referral traffic came from other U.S. based sites that is not exactly surprising. The top ten countries are shown below with number of visits.
- United States – 2725
- Germany – 308
- United Kingdom – 306
- Canada – 248
- France – 131
- Australia – 123
- India – 123
- Netherlands – 100
- Spain – 92
- Romania – 86
So clearly the US was a significant traffic driver and overshadowed the other visitors. One point worth noting is that, with the exception of Canada, the US also provided the most engaged users with average pages/visit above 4 and visit duration about 3 min. The only other country that came close on visitor engagement was Canada, this tells me that perhaps my content is too localized and is less engaging to other audiences.
Takeaway: Attempt to create content with an international appeal as well.
Visits by State (USA)
Within the United States I have seen two major areas of concentrated traffic. If you guessed that these two states are Texas and California then I would have to tell you that’s a good guess and you are absolutely correct. The traffic from California is easily explained, it’s a huge state with a major focus on technology.
I think the same explanation applies to Texas, but that I also saw more from Texas because I am currently located here and am working for Texas Instruments. I good number of my Texas visitors came from the Dallas area which tells me they are most likely fellow TI’ers interested in my design project.
Takeaway: I think my content is fine for US audiences, I just need to do a better job of marketing it to other population centers.
I won’t spend a lot of time on this subject, but I think it is worth noting that over 4000 of my visitors were counted as using a desktop device while just under 1000 were using a mobile device. I better engagement from desktop users in nearly every metric which tells me that my site may not be as mobile friendly as I hoped. Alternatively, this could just be a result of mobile users being generally more brisk users.
Takeaway: Re-evaluate mobile design if necessary.
The most popular content on the site is determined by what pages get the most visits. For this month, the winner is the How to Design a PCB post, with over 2000 visits in just a few days (thanks to makezine.com). The top 5 (actually only 4 this month) pages and number of visits are shown here.
- How to Design the Perfect PCB – Part 1 (2254 visits, Part 2 coming within the next day or so)
- SensorCape Home Page (543 + 510 visits, this is my intern design project that I have been promoting, I changed the URL some-time last week so the metric was split in half)
- Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone Black (622 visits, Soon to be republished on makezine.com)
- Using Eclipse to Cross-Compile for BeagleBone Black (200 visits, One of my first real posts, I didn’t do a lot of promotion for this one. Most of its traffic comes as clickthroughs)
There are several things I can take away from this. The first is the importance of external advertising/marketing. Especially when the site is still small as it currently is, the importance of getting the word out there can’t be underestimated. The second is the importance of linkbacks from other referrers. The link traffic provided by my linkback from makezine.com more than quadrupled my regular traffic and resulted in a (seemingly) permanent increas in visitors.
Takeaway: Continue writing useful content and then focus on promoting it through the best channels.
I think that’s it for this round, there is so much more data to look at that it’s really astonishing. If I can ever figure out a good way to directly share this data I will do so in the future which will allow me to focus more on analysis and less on searching for data and rewriting it for my site.