The 2017 audience report was fun to put together, so you get a 2018 report, too. As an added bonus, it’s done on January 1st, as opposed to late February!
Total Visitors and Views
Google Analytics was running the full year this year, but to ensure the numbers are comparable, I’ll use the built-in WordPress stats again.
In 2017, we doubled traffic over 2016. We didn’t do quite as well in 2018 over 2018, but we weren’t that far off.
Once again, the Soapbox leads in visitors and views.
Our most popular posts all-time remain about the same, with the addition of two more Fishbreath entries: the DCS Harrier review, and my wireless hydrometer entry from the summer (which got some good Reddit play).
Battle Royale remains the most popular single post, but is down to a mere 1,477 views this year (from more than 6,000 in 2017). The home page and archives pages (tags and chronological) took the lead at 6,095 views.
Posted This Year
2018’s most popular posts are an interesting bunch.
- Fishbreath Flies: DCS AV-8B NA Harrier Review
A Fishbreath post tops the list! Surprising.
Gravity, Graviton, Pendulum: a wireless hydrometer for homebrewing
Thanks to Reddit for my success here.
USASOC’s URG-I for the M4
Parvusimperator will have to tell you what this one means.
The first traditional civilian gun article on the list.
Competition Meets Tactical: SOCOM and the Vortex Razor HD Gen II 1-6x
Parvusimperator’s optics reviews are always popular with the Google set.
The Crossbox Studio: multiple mic podcast recording for $60 per person
I’m making a much better showing on the list this time around. Maybe we should do some further podcasting in 2019.
On the Glock 19X
Another modern pistols article.
Sweden Chooses an MBT: Looking back at the ’94 contest
Defense and tanks in particular being one of our main topics, it’s no surprise that one of those articles took a spot in the top 10.
Handicapping the FFG(X) Contenders
We’re keeping an eye on the competition, and will perhaps write up how we did on our predictions when there’s a result.
Resurrected Weapons: XM806
Good old resurrected weapons.
Compared to last year, our traffic share from search dropped from 81% to 75%. Our direct traffic rose 3% to 15%, while our referral traffic rose 3% to 9%.
Google accounted for 70% of our sessions last year, while direct traffic was about 18.5%. Reddit comes in third at 3.3%. These changes indicate to me that we developed a stronger base of regular readers this year.
The most popular traffic source outside of search and social was rumaniamilitary.ro, for which we have a certain reader to thank.
The Soapbox’s readers in 2018 were 95% male, compared to 97% last year. I think it’s safe to say we’ve made great strides in inclusiveness and diversity this last year.
Most of our readers are still in the prime 25-44 demographic.
60% of our readers were Americans this year, followed by 5% Canadians and Brits, 2.5% Aussies, Frenchies and Germans, and 1% or less of the following countries: (the rest of the countries in the world). Romania is notably overrepresented relative to its population.
Views By Month
March, May, June, July, and December all saw north of 3,000 views. June came first, on the back of Reddit views of my homebrewing post. Eliminate tose, and it falls to third (approximately tied with May and July). December is second/first, and March is third/second.
We ended the year with a very good month, entirely (I suspect) on the strength of regular readers and newcomers alike having more spare time to crawl the archive.
In the last year, we (i.e., parvusimperator) wrote 124 posts containing 90,905 words, for an average of 733 per post. All of these numbers are down from our peak in 2015 to 2017, but I’m entirely happy with the schedule and output we’ve maintained this year.
On the other hand, we had 291 comments this year, an average of 1.7 per post. Granted that a lot of those were us (i.e., parvusimperator) answering questions or responding to comments, it’s still encouraging to see a little community forming.
Exercises for the Reader
And now a few questions for you, readers, which you can feel free to answer in the comments.
First: what do you think of the weekly Wednesday What We’re Reading feature? Useful news? Too many links? Too few? Too much editorializing? Too little? We started in August, if you can believe it, and I figure five months is a good length of time for a trial period.
Second: do you miss the podcast? If so, we might be persuaded to do a new run of episodes given some topic suggestions. At the same time, one of the values of we crotchety oldsters here at the Soapbox is that text is the best format for both presenting and consuming arguments and commentary, and we prefer to produce content in that form.
Third: how do you feel about the schedule? Right now, we have a Tuesday and Thursday post most weeks, plus a Wednesday What We’re Reading. Would turning the latter into the Saturday Morning Post be an improvement for you, or do you prefer the weekday diversion?
Finally: give yourself a big pat on the back. We appreciate your readership, your return visits, and your comments, and we look forward to bringing you more of the content you expect from us in 2019. Happy New Year from us here at the Soapbox!