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Happy New Year! We wish all of you a very happy, prosperous, and rewarding 2015.
As has become our New Year’s Day tradition, we thought we would share with you some facts about the website. Hu-dad is notoriously one of those geeky, statistical people, but we promise to try and make it interesting. If you have your own website, you may find some interesting trends.
- Total number of sessions (i.e., the number of times anyone visits our website) are up a whopping 27% over 2013. Our traffic hit such a level that we finally had to move to our own dedicated server because none of the shared service vendors could handle the traffic flow.
- Interestingly the number of page views (that is the number of pages each person looks at during a session) is up only 15% (which means people were more likely to visit, but less likely to visit several pages in the website). That tells us that we need to spend some time freshening up our other pages – not just the blog – and we promise to do that!
- In a continuing trend, 55% of all people now visit our website from a mobile device. Just a few years ago, in 2011, mobile devices accounted for only 7.5% of our traffic. That grew to 21% in 2012 and 38% in 2013. We worked this year to make our website more mobile responsive (meaning the website itself and all pictures are designed to fit mobile screens, regardless of size).
- Over 60% of our visitors come to us directly from one of our social media sites. Overwhelmingly, our Facebook Page is the dominant driver and continues to increase. In fact, sessions started from our Facebook Page doubled in 2015 from 2014. No other social media tool has a significant impact and some, like Twitter, actually decreased this past year.
The role of social media, particularly Facebook, is astounding. Facebook has become the dominant traffic driver – far more powerful than search engines like Google and Yahoo – but they also control so much of your returning traffic. For example, we realize that many people rely on our Facebook page to know when a new blog post is available (the most critical server load for us is the 60 minutes after the post to Facebook each morning).
Did you know that the average Facebook page has an organic reach of about 16%? What that means is that if you “like” a Facebook page, you will be notified of new content about 16% of the time – about one of every 6 posts. We are fortunate that because of fan engagement (“liking” individual posts and making comments), our average reach is about 40%, but that still means that more than half of our Facebook fans do not know about a blog post every day.
Facebook has already announced that they are updating the algorithms again to lower that reach. You can’t really blame them – they want business to pay for advertising. Unfortunately, personal, non-business websites like ours are controlled by the same mechanisms and we will continue to struggle to get our posts to our Facebook fans.
That’s why in the upper left corner of our page you will find a way to get notified directly by email about every new blog post. We have never shared a single email with anyone else and never will, so feel free to use that if you want to be assured of never missing a post.
Now let’s talk about search engines and popular sections:
- Interestingly, search engines provided only 11% of our traffic, but that traffic increased 57% in the past year. Most of those searches contained phrases like “thundering herd”, “Siberian Huskies”, or “Maggie Valley” (our home).
- The most common unusual search phrase to find us was Daisy. Confused? Daisy is an Urban Legend about a Golden Retriever who rescued hundreds of people during the tragedy of September 11, 2001. We posted a tribute to dogs of 9/11 way back in 2010 that still receives visitors to this day – and they often find it because they are trying to find out if Daisy is real. While Daisy is not real, we did highlight several real canine heroes of that day.
- The hardest to explain search phrase used to find us was “Fuzzy Alarm Clocks.” Oh, sure, we have a story by that title, but we are still very concerned about what people were really looking for.
And now for everyone’s favorite section. The most popular items of the year:
- The most popular post from this year – Unexplained Mysteries.
- The most popular post NOT from this year – the post we mentioned above about Daisy and the Canines of 9/11.
- The most popular story. No surprise here because it has been the most popular story since it was posted back in 2006 – Frankencouch.
- The most popular dog page. Big upset here. It was Natasha for many years until Typhoon took the top spot last year. Natasha passed Typhoon to claim second this year, but they were both beaten by the big, fluffy, cotton ball himself – Qannik.
- And, finally, the most popular video is, once again, Taste Test. We have to tell you that this has never made sense to us, but apparently it has been mentioned by other blogs and continues to be our most popular video.
- Most popular video from 2014 – Sarge’s Downtown Dog Walk 2014.
And, finally, for the weirdest statistic of all. Like every other website, we constantly have people trying to hack or spam the site. To give you a feel for how wild the web can be, we now receive over 1,500 spam comments A DAY that are blocked by our servers (99.8% of them are blocked without any human intervention). Since there are 1,440 minutes in a day, that means we get a spam comment every minute of every day. We do our absolute best to ensure that all of those bad guys stay away and don’t bother your enjoyment of the site.
So, your turn, Dear Readers. What do you want us to do in the coming year to make the site more enjoyable? We do this strictly for the fun of it (we have resisted advertising even though the cost of doing this increases all of the time) so we want to make sure that the effort we put in is something you enjoy. So, please, take a minute, fill out a comment below, and let us know what you want!
Oh – and you can add your email address so that you are guaranteed to never miss a post (just make sure that our email doesn’t get caught in your spam!).
And, most importantly, have a very Happy New Year!
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