Friday, February 17, 2006

Navel Gazing: LPF Stats

Something's changing and I don't know what it means or why its happening....

Long-time readers will be aware that I don't often indulge in talking about server-reader stats. First, they're not all that accurate, secondly, they're near impossible to interpret reasonably, and third even keeping track of these things distracts the writers from the point of the blog. (Which is not circulation but the local dissemination of information.)

By far the best use of my ISP's minimal stats is to enforce a little humility. The website as a whole (including the moribund static portion) had a long-term stable "unique" visitor readership (uniques only get counted once a day no matter how often they drop by or how many pages they view) that has varied around 230 a day. Nothing to brag on by any means but enough to do the job of circulating good information on this topic to enough different local folks that the pro-fiber, pro-development, pro-technology, pro-equity, and pro-community position that I fear would otherwise go underreported has a chance to be heard and become a visible reference point in the local conversation. LPF is pretty content to be a small voice heard fairly well locally. That's all the point has ever been.

A count of the total number of page hits --an even more dubious statistic-- are more impressive with a long-term average of 1100 hits a day. That has added up to more than 600,000 page hits over the last year. Knock off the 7-8% that look like spiders crawling the web and that's still fun to look at (and hard to make sense of ).

All of which brings us to the curious changes that prompt this post: LafayetteProFiber has experienced an approximately 37% jump in the six weeks since the first of the year. That's a lot, and it's sustained and continues upward. Daily unique visits this year are in excess of 300 a day and 350 in the last week. We've had over 100,000 hits in 2006. Previous jumps have been clearly spikes -- they have been easily explicable by "big events," and less sustained. They were clearly tied to local events that sent occasional readers over to check out what our take might be.

Now, I'm not complaining--but I am confused. Two "big picture" explanations occur to me. 1) the site has become well enough know in area circles to have reached some sort of tipping point--so the jump represents a "more of the same" readership. Or 2) This change argues and augers a shift in readership. Different people have found the site and have decided for reasons of their own to hang around.

I'm inclined to think that number 2, a new group has started hanging around,--but if that is so I'd love to be clued in as to what the story is.

Ideas? Thoughts?

Back to our regularly schedule show.....

4 comments:

John said...

Ok, that's all pretty vauge. Being an old teacher I know that vauge questions don't always get answers. So, for folks who don't know about the broad "what's going on here" quesiton: What about yesterday; Thursday, Feb. 16th. Or the day before, Wednesday, Feb. the 15th. Especially for those that don't visit regularly did you visit on those days? Why? And why are you back now?

GumboFilé said...

Was the overall 37% increase due to smaller steady increases over the six week period, or did much of the increase happen over a shorter period during the six weeks?

Could it be that there's a lot more interest from New Orleans folks?

David in Grand Coteau

John said...

David,

The increase has been pretty steady...about as smooth as such things are. Meaning that there are 15 to 20% blips that last a day or two --I am in the habit of attributing these short spikes to posts that tickle some reader's fancy and move them to email the links. Or RSS grazers that are pulled in by a post.

My sense of statistics and pattern is that what I'm seeing is a baseline shift. It's sustained itself for much longer than a "normal" movement. And the day to day variation seems unchanged. But the week to week trend has been steadily up these last 6 weeks. I read that as a baseline shift.

(Frankly, I am puzzled that traffic never fell off after the referendum as I expected it to.)

It could be that New Orleans folks have found the site. The last week has hit on some statewide issues and particularly a New Orleans bill. Are you thinking of folks who are now in Lafayette or of folks who are currently in NO?

GumboFilé said...

both