First time, last time

| Thursday, February 17, 2011
Spikes are spikes because they come back down.

Not so long ago I had a spike. I traced it to wowinsider, sending visitors to a post linking cross-realm LFD, Nazis, and terrorism. You know, a typical boring post. about 1650 more people visited than usual, give or take 50. That's a whole lot. Or at least to me it is. I think Tobold calls that Wednesday from 4-5.

It doesn't look like many stayed. Or any.

The obvious explanation is that what I write or how I write doesn't appeal to the same audience. Makes sense. But then why link me? That would be as absurd as referring people to a cocaine dealer at a state dinner. I'm really bad at analogies.

It may be a mildly altruistic attempt to help a blogger and show readers something new. If so, it fails. This time I took the time to glance a bit more closely at incoming visitors and I finally figured it out.

People don't read linked content. On average visitors spend about a minute and twenty seconds. Except on the days of the spike. On that day, it dropped more than in half. That suggests a whole lot of click, glance, leave.

So that's that.


Melmoth said...

I too have pondered the curi... ooop sorry, time's up, must dash!

Foo said...

Some people do stay. Not many, but some. You got your established readership from linked articles. The number of readers you maintain did not appear from nowhere.

Me? My glory days were in the leadup to cataclsym, and have fallen back to about 1/2 of those levels

theanorak said...

Are you looking at your subscriptions too, or just your site traffic?

When I'm linked to something, I'll often just skim the first few hundred words. If it interests me, I add it to my feedreader and read it when I'm next catching up unless there's something about the site design or the topic that means I must stay or comment.

Anonymous said...

You were good enough for me to add you to my reader... thats about all you can ask for really.

If you want lots of traffic, read lots of Markco

If you want insightful commentary about the broad range of gaming industry context, read spinks

If you want to know about 5HP per second? you are the authority my friend, no question about it.

Nils said...

I, too, often wonder how people can read my blog that fast .. I mean, they come back, so they must have found it interesting *somehow*.

Several times now, I have been covered by MMOMeltingPot in a way that I can only conclude, that even they didn't understand what the post was all about!!

It's frustrating .. sometimes .. a bit. :)

Fidjit said...

I admit it took me a few tries, but I actually really like your blog. Insightful and funny writing! I also like the fact that it has a very simple layout with very few pictures.

Kind of hijacking, but @Nils: I also love your blog to death, but for some reason it never lets me comment on your blog. I can't just select a name and comment... so I end up just lurking in the shadows.

Larísa said...

It's not about the visitor numbers, Klep, it's about the Egoboo! :) I think it's about time you got some recognition.

Tesh said...

My biggest day was just over 500 hits. I call it the Big Bear Bump. (BBB linked to my place because I did some art for him.)

My average these days is, well... just over 15% of that, and typically more than half of those are just there because I have a pretty Avatar (that silly supersmurf movie) picture that shows up in Google's image searches. I'm pretty sure none of those visitors stick around. I doubt many of them even read the article that the picture is in.

...yeah, my influence on the industry is about as much as a speedbump's influence on a Blackbird SR-71. Good thing I'm writing because I like to, not because I'm out to Change The World!!! or something.

Klepsacovic said...

@Foo: I could go back and figure out the history from hits and posts and incoming links, but I'm pretty sure most of my readers wandered over here from the Pink Pigtail Inn and a brief period when Gevlon didn't mind my socialness. Wowinsider seems to be a different part of the blogosphere.

@theanorak: Both. Subscriptions seem to randomly go up by one or two, which I've never seen related to any hit activity.

@Fidjit: Let's pretend that my lack of pictures is a minimalist design and not laziness. :)

@Larisa: Egoboo?

@Tesh: I bet if you had a typical concrete speedbump in the air, hit that at Mach 3 and it's going to be very effective. Permanently.

Tesh said...

Oh, most certainly. That's just a very big "if"... and somewhere in the "highly improbable" realm of things.

I heard from a museum curator of his friend who lost a Blackbird midflight. He and his copilot heard a "bump" and almost immediately ejected. They watched the plane disintegrate almost right under them. Crazy risky, those.

...not often near speedbumps, though.

Larísa said...

It's fanslang. We used it frequently in sf fandom which is my old domain. As a fanzine editor you couldn't expect to get rich, but occasionally you could get some egoboo. It's the perfect word to describe the pleasure of being named in places like Wowinsider.

Klepsacovic said...

Tesh, that was clearly a floating speedbump.

Larisa, that's a great term. I am glad to know it now, because it is totally applicable.

Anonymous said...

The biggest influx I ever had was from StumbleUpon when I got a few thousand visitors which may sound impressive but, according to the analytics, the bounce rate was massive and I think like one person subscribed to my feed. This is why people talk about quality of visitor rather than quantity and why "number of visits" really means nothing.

I do a lot of web analytics analysis in my professional life and you soon learn that big numbers do nothing but stroke our egos. People that run companies want to see an increase in the number of visitors, even when that's often not important at all. What really counts are stats like depth of visit, time on site, and conversation rates (i.e. the people who subscribe to the RSS feed if your a blogger). Likewise, getting a good referral from a relative source is a lot more potent than from something random like StumbleUpon. Equally so, getting mentioned a few times is what really does it for people as they're more likely to stick around and take notice of your blog if they've heard it being mentioned over the course of a few weeks or months.

Finally, I will say something say very interesting: Google Analytics has no way of measuring time of visit if the user does not click on another page on your blog. They could read your article for 10 minutes and then shut the browser or go to another bookmark and they will still count as a bounce. This is why blogs generally have high bounce rates.

Klepsacovic said...

That last bit I did not know. Fascinating.

I wonder what they use to track new vs. returning visitors. It must have some significant flaw or way to be avoided, since I have a very consistent stream of new visitors, almost as if they are returning but look new. Makes me wish I understood software better.

I've stopped getting much ego boost from spikes, but comments, oh I do love those. They make me think that my posts make other people think.

Nat said...

I... I like your blog...

Klepsacovic said...

Reala, you really should be careful what you say on the internet. These sorts of statements linger and someday, you might be applying for a job or running for office, and this comes up.

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