Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ups and downs of web traffic

This chart shows how page views at have waxed and waned over the past couple of years, since the site went to a WordPress format and independent web hosting in the fall of 2013.

As expected, the summer months mark the low spots because students are the paper's primary audience and they're not around then. Also, no new content is usually posted from June to the middle of August, so visitors quickly learn there's nothing new to see.

And as I have explained several times in this blog, breaking news on the website is the biggest driver of traffic. Consequently, big news in September to November 2014 shows up as the big bump in the middle of the chart.

What's not immediately clear here is how much traffic improved the second year. The average number of page views per month for Sept. 2013 to August 2014 was 402,825. For July 2014 to June 2015 that number was 621,637.

The biggest area of concern for me is the way traffic tailed off last spring. I think the cumulative effect of having few strong news stories on the site spring semester reversed the trend of better and better numbers from month to month. There are lots of reasons for this, and getting it fixed should be the top priority for the new editors coming on board this fall.