I read a few websites that share their traffic statistics and I find the whole process fascinating. The stats themselves don’t really interest me. What does interest me is the analysis that goes with it. Why did this month get more visitors than last month? What was done in January that increased the traffic on that day?
Since I find the posts interesting I thought others might like to see what I do with my website in order to make increase the traffic, so I have decided to start writing posts about my monthly traffic stats. I will do this for one whole year, starting from today. This post will serve as a benchmark so that in 12 months time I can look back and see how things have changed.
Last year I decided to spend some time focusing on page views and, as you can see from the traffic graph below, it worked quite well. In January I was getting around 30,000 page views a month, and by December this had risen to 109 thousand. My goal for this year is to double that number to 200 thousand per month.
The stats are recorded using the WordPress.com stats plugin, and the current high point is December (I missed out in January by about 500 page views :().
- Twitter Followers : 1956
- Facebook Fans : 0 (I only started the facebook page last month and have yet to promote it at all)
- RSS Subscribers : 840
Posts last month
Last month was quite quiet on the blog post front. At the start of the year I was focused on creating my new theme, Meteora, so the blog posts got pushed to one side for a while. I did manage to squeeze out two though:
Most Popular Posts
- TimThumb Hub – looks like building the hub was worth it then!
- New Super Mario Brothers – one of the posts I added images too. It’s 4 years old, but everyone loves Mario (including me).
- Disney Ads – the post that started the image optimisation craze
- WordPress Tips and Tricks: Custom Login Page – I think I will have to revisit this some time as it still seems to be doing well
- BM Custom Login – as I said above, I need to give this some loving 🙂
- CSS Button Redux – a very simple post about some css tricks to make a nice looking button.
- Binary Moon – The homepage
- TimThumb – Getting started with TimThumb, the first in the series of tutorial posts I wrote.
- Disney Cinderella: Scarlett Johanson – The most popular of the image posts from the Disney Photography article in 3rd position.
Optimizations and changes made
I didn’t change much on the website last month so I’ll mention a few of the things I changed last year that helped to get me from 39k to 109k page views a month.
- Posting more regularly – In 2009 I slacked off a bit, not posting as much high quality content as I should have, so I tried to fix that last year. So far this year I haven’t really fulfilled this requirement but I hope to fix that for the rest of the year (and this is a starting point!)
- Give people what they want – Lots of people have talked about TimThumb recently and so I wrote a series of articles on using TimThumb, and I created a hub as a central resource for everything about it. These now create a nice steady stream of Google traffic.
- Image based posts – One of the things I discovered, by analysing Google Analytics, is that the images on this post about Disney Photos were doing great. I can only assume they were doing well because of the SEO optimization in Elemental. At the time I only had 4 or 5 of the pictures so I went and found the rest of the series and posted those, and up went my hits, so I then went crazy and uploaded loads of photos for all my film reviews on the site, and my hits continued to go up. I then added galleries to the attachment template and the average pages per user went up. All the improvements were added to Elemental so will benefit everyone.
- Speed – I sped up my website, and that increased the amount of visitors. Seeemples.
- Optimized Page Titles – I made the most of one of Elementals SEO abilities and improved page titles on key posts (mostly about WordPress and TimThumb).
As you can tell from the descriptions above, my goal last year was purely to increase page views. My goal this year is to focus more on the quality of the visitors, getting people who are interested in engaging with me and my website more.
Since I am passionate about WordPress I am always tweaking and improving Elemental (WordPress theme framework), however recently I haven’t been updating the Binary Moon theme, so it’s starting to look like it’s falling apart. The reason I haven’t updated it, is that I am working on a new design and I don’t want to spend time on this theme when it will be replaced ‘soon’.