I’ve been trawling the 2007 website statistics for interesting trends. Search terms, popular pages and the like. I wish I had something earth-shattering to report, but the trends in terms of readers’ interests stay pretty consistent.
The thing I notice on a daily basis is that the same old (and I mean old) posts keep appearing on the top 10 list: anything to do with Super Junior (above)1, Lee Hyori, Lee Eon-jeong and the rest will always be represented. But other, more value-added, posts often squeeze in as well — for example the listing of Korean food stores in the UK. And every now and then it’s really rewarding to see that (presumably driven by a college project, or a post in a forum elsewhere) something more original gets a spike in traffic — one of Anna’s interviews with unusual bands, or an article on a particular artist. And while this site is not known for its music reviews, it’s always nice when someone visits and leaves a comment (which doesn’t always agree with the reviewer, particularly in the case of Super Junior).
Before you continue, you may want to read the caveats about the data.
The big picture
First, here’s a composite analysis of top 30 things people look at on the site. It’s a sum of the views of pages, posts, categories and images, categorised in a rough-and-ready way.
Inevitably, celebrity and TV / Film dominate as topics. But I take heart from the fact that a topic which I’ve labelled “Korean community” is very high up the list. The main contributor to those 37,000 views was the category Koreans in London, with also significant interest in my posts on New York Koreatown. I wish I had more time to devote to covering the activities of Koreans in London, but you really have to invest a lot of time in getting to know that community – time which I don’t have. But I hope that during 2008 I’ll be able to answer at least some of the questions that people ask about things Korean in London (coming soon: what is it that people most want to know?).
Music old and new is an inevitable draw (28,500 views), but Art, with around 23,300 views, is not far behind. And when you add in the coverage of the DPRK art show (5,100 views) the two categories are neck-and-neck. Coverage of London cultural events and news of academic conferences are also reasonably popular, though obviously not as popular as Jeon Ji-hyun.
Wild cards in terms of popularity are anything to do with B-boys (at #19, not bad considering this time last year I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know what a B-boy was), plus the inexplicable Boryeong Mud Festival (below)
In terms of individual articles, Korea’s cute and funky cultural exports got nearly 20,000 readings on its own (views as part of the Korea Discussion Group or Hallyu categories will add to this). Combining as it does discussion of Rain, Super Junior, Dae Jang Geum, Pucca, Full House, TVXQ and more, it’s a sure-fire drawer of traffic (which is why I embedded a few extra ads in the text). Below is a listing of the top 30 articles ranked by page views – the trends support the big picture outlined above.
Overall traffic statistics
At the start of 2007 I set myself a target of 1,000 visitors a day measured by AWstats. That target was hit in the second quarter, and by the end of the third quarter the numbers were 2,500 per day. It’s now eased off slightly, but has stabilised at around 2,300. Hits per day are a pretty meaningless 40,000, while page views are 7 – 8,000 per day. Both AWstats and Webalizer estimate around 3 page views per visit, while Sitemeter estimates around half that. Whichever you believe, I know the ratio isn’t going to get any better until I sort out navigation. Better navigation requires more scripts, which requires more processing power, which my current webhost can’t give me. Which is why I’m spending rather too much time at weekends working out how to operate my new VPS package at a new webhost.
And finally, the statistics themselves
The most comprehensive statistics I have are produced by AWstats. They’re pretty detailed, but need to be taken with a pinch of salt, like all statistics. Particular examples:
- AWstats report visitor numbers 2 to 3 times as high as the other statistics tool I monitor (the WordPress statistics plugin and, even meaner, Sitemeter) — which I’m told results from their inclusion of bots in the statistics in addition to real people.2
- Accuracy of logging of search terms. The WordPress plugin that I monitor every day tells me that Super Junior is by far the most-googled item in bringing people to my site (on many days by a factor of ten times the nearest rival). This is borne out by the AWstats readership statistics which indicate that by far the most popular post on the site talks about Super Junior. So the WordPress search term data agrees with AWstats readership data that Suju rule supreme. But the AWstats search term log tells me that the comely Lee Eon-jeong / Lee Sabi is the most searched-for celebrity, a full 42% more popular than Super Junior.
- I’m pretty sure the statistics are severely distorted by hotlinking: ie that if a bandwidth thief hotlinks to an image on my site rather than copying it and uploading it onto his site, then every time someone visits my hotlinker’s page, AWstats registers that my image has had a viewer.
So the statistics are not perfect, but as they’re the most comprehensive I’ve got most of the analysis will be based on them. Other caveats are just one of those things:
- I carelessly failed to backup my statistics files when I moved webhost in March, so these statistics only represent 9 months of data.
- Clearly an article that has been on the site all year will have more chance of getting read than one posted at the end of December 2007. I suppose I could make some allowance for this, but frankly I don’t think anyone could care, least of all me.
One day I’ll get Google Analytics working on my site to get another view on the traffic. I’ve already got Sitemeter as another source of data, but I don’t look at it too much as the numbers it gives me are 30% lower than what WordPress is telling me. [Back to main article]
- Incidentally, can anyone tell me why there are only 10 of them in that photo?
- That explains the otherwise inexplicable popularity of my brief post on Hwang Sok-yong’s The Guest. It’s not my highest quality article and does not deserve its position in the rankings. My assumption is that for some reason spambots have latched on to this particular URI, because this is also the most comment-spammed article on my site.