If you’re reading this, you already know that I also run the busy Ask Dave Taylor site, focused on tech support and related Q&A topics. What you don’t know are the traffic statistics of the site. I read Google blogger Matt Cutts’ stats and was inspired to post my own. It’s quite interesting:
First off, note that I only turned on Google Analytics in April of ’07, so the numbers you see are for three quarters of the year, not all four quarters. Extrapolate and you’ll come up with 11.6 million visitors and 17.71 million page views for the year. Yow, that’s a lot of traffic!
Dig a bit deeper and you’ll notice a peculiar characteristic of a Q&A site: there’s a relatively low percentage of people who come back. Why? Because most people don’t start out on Ask Dave Taylor, but rather on Google or another search engine. You can see what I mean by searching on Google for iphone help, for example. I’m #1, so I get lots of that traffic.
Nonetheless, while ADT is arguably one of the most trafficked blogs on the Web with over one million visitors/month sustained throughout 2007, 87% or more of that traffic are first time visitors. Very interesting, I’d say! Before you say “ah, that means that your search engine placement is a critical factor in the success of the site” do the other half of the math and you’ll find that 13% of 13.3 million visits is 1.7 million return visitors, month by month, so even if we were to lop off all of the new traffic, that’s still quite a healthy figure for a weblog.
Don’t forget too that this doesn’t take into account RSS subscribers who might not actually visit the site itself nor traffic that is subverted by sites scraping (uh, sorry, “aggregating”) my content on their own pages. Not germane to this discussion other than that it could account for another reason why there appear to be a relatively low percentage of subscribers.
If you’re running Google Analytics, go back and review 2007, then post what I think is the most interesting number: % new visits. Also add a sentence or two to characterize your blog and let’s see if we can draw some more general characterizations of typical traffic on different types of weblogs.