Happy New (Financial) Year!

As part of clocking over from June to July, we’ve commenced a new financial year. It also means that it’s tax return time – so pull out that shoebox of receipts and get going with all your logging of expenses…

I’ll take this opportunity to review some of the overall website statistics that are tracked, across WordPress and also at the host provider level.

Website Host Provider Statistics

For 2014, I have had over 4000 unique visitors, with an average of 3.5 visits per individual and about 700 per month. In January I had 399 visitors whereas for both May and June I have comfortably increased viewership to over 800 (100% increase). On average, there are over 2400 visits a month, with a peak of 3328 visits in March. Across the board, for all metrics, my website is increasing in traffic and viewership – so THANK YOU!

In May 2014, I started using the “Read More” tag, which would have started influencing the measurement of pages viewed per visit, as well as hits per visit. The number of pages of content has been increasing, as a result of my attempts to be more regular and intentional with my blogging. The “Read More” tag may be the main reason why the monthly pages metric has increased to the current 17K for the month of June. Back in January-February, this metric was counting 3500-4000 for the month. The other noteworthy observation is that in terms of pages viewed per visitor, the first two months in July and August 2013 was in the range of 15-17, suggesting that when I first launched the WordPress content management system for XBOP, I had a good 2-3 months of visitors who spent time checking out all the pages of content I had created.

When combined, the average pages per visit (pages divided by visits) was around 2 for January – April, whereas a dramatic increase is evident for May (4.5 pages/visit) and June (7.5 pages/visit). Interestingly, the average pages per unique visitor has also doubled, signifying the impact of the “Read More” tag.

The motivation for introducing the “Read More” tag was focused on helping to reduce the length of the main front page – which I discovered in March – was growing very long as a result of each lengthy posting I had created. If I am interpreting the “hits per page” metric correctly, it measures the number of times the one page is visited. This measure seems to be fairly static and unchanging – averaging 1.75 for the six-month period.

The final measure from the host provider summary tables is bandwidth. One key factor in driving up the monthly bandwidth from ~200MB to 1GB (peaking at 1.4GB for May) is the fact that I have also started to include images up the front before an article.

My main readership remains Australia-centric, with the US remaining in second place. This trend, with China a surprising third top country of origin, has been in place since May. Interestingly, for the month of April, the order was reversed – China – US – Australia. Prior to this, China had been a constant third place country of origin for people visit XBOP. Understanding why countries like China (and Russia & Saudi Arabia) are a growing segment of website visitors is a bit of a puzzle, other than the most obvious that XBOP could actually be a word/name more common in those countries…

The visit duration statistics shows the majority (80%) of visits are less than 30 seconds. Unfortunately, this is the lowest range, so a more detailed analysis is not possible. I suspect the 100s of visits that are longer, such as over 30 min are attributed to my own use of WordPress, where I am spending hours writing my posts.

Another interesting observation is tracked against the Downloads metrics, where 99 hits have been recorded against my influence tally CSV, which was only added in the last 2-3 months as part of introducing the Easy Table plugin.

Half of all website hits are from a Mac, with Windows constituting the next largest share at 31%. 43% of all views are from Safari, with the next most popular browser being Google Chrome (13.5%) above Firefox (11%). Internet Explorer is thus the lowest of the big 4 browsers. References and entry points to XBOP are either via Google searches, or from the LinkedIn post which announces when I have published a new post.

Searches that result in a visit to XBOP have invariably been local search terms – with a noticeable mention of “Myki project scope”. A small yet noticeable trend is the search terms for the Christian presentation software packages – ProPresenter, EasyWorship and PowerPoint.

WordPress Jetpack Statistics

When comparing the statistics of WordPress against those extracted above, the country stats provide for a different insight in relation to China, which is simply NOT listed. Digging a little deeper on the website host provider side, it appears that the Chinese search engine baidu.com has been the source of some of the various search results. Why WordPress does not list the Chinese-originating visits is interesting – some of the pages that have been visited also appear to be specific pages within the WordPress behind-the-scenes PHP engine. Whilst not a huge security concern, it does suggest a level of ?hacking? at play?

The change to “Read more” has helped to ensure statistics are more accurately attributed to individual posts/pages. Generally, the Home page/archive is the constant landing page for the website, and thus receives the highest number of content views. As the date range is expanded more and more to review longer durations and earlier periods of time, a number of topics start to float to the top of the statistics rankings for page views. In particular, I wrote a page on Church Presentation Software which seems to have developed a clear characteristic of staying power. That is, even though it was first published in August 2013, it periodically receives a handful of visits – with a peak of 15 in January, but ever since – six per month! Combined with ProPresenter – Managing different content on multiple displays, there are over 100 views on this one topic of church presentation software. The other content page on the website that I expect to get a bit of repeat traffic is my profile – Nic Lee (Summary).

WordPress statistics also confirms the same trend observed earlier for the channels of visitor referrals – Google followed by LinkedIn. Facebook and Twitter round out the various channels directing traffic to XBOP, which makes sense given the way I have implemented the social media account connections so that the three channels all announce when a new post is published.

The WordPress Jetpack statistics feature helps to create a simple overview of the metric “views per visitor”, and it helps to visually indicate the emerging trends – that overall visitor numbers are slowly increasing, and levels of engagement (as measured by the number of views) are returning to the initial levels expected in June & August 2013 when XBOP was first relaunched via WordPress.


WordPress & Social Media Implementation

Having WordPress as a free content management system has been a big boost overall to XBOP. The ease of use in creating content, plus the slow expansion and adoption of various plugins available to the platform have helped to deliver a slowly growing online presence.

WordPress is simply the foundation for any website/blog. The implementation and integration of social media plugins, to channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter are essential aspects that need to be configured once the core WordPress engine is up and operational. This “publicize” function helps to ensure a level of pro-activeness in directly communicating WordPress website content to other channels, WordPress also allows (and encourages) direct social media integration – whereby posts/pages can be liked, shared and commented on.

Apps for WordPress are available across both iOS and Android devices – I have personally found the iPad app for WordPress very handy for use on the train commute between work and home. The 45-minute commute is ideal for writing, since the length of an article written in that amount of time is of a reasonable length; not too short or long. Since April 2014, I have made a greater effort and commitment to ensuring that I have the time to write up and create content for XBOP – not just for the sake of creating new content – but as a way to reflect and create space amidst a busy social and work schedule.

The interesting parallel and timing in use of WordPress for website/content delivery is that at the time of writing this post, I have the opportunity to help establish Christians 20/30. The parallel here is that, similar to other current work-related efforts at Terra Firma – development of a Social Media strategy, and contributing to the SharePoint implementation – the common theme here is to plan strategically the underlying information architecture. One way to understand the concept of information architecture is that it is the skeleton/bones that act as the foundation of an information system. In all these examples – a web/online channel delivery is the outward implementation and result of the inner (and often not so visible) information architecture. Defining the WordPress categories up-front helps to guide future content development. Defining and visualizing the information architecture/road-map is also useful for implementations where multiple people are involved. The documented strategy and architecture frameworks thus allow for a common and united approach to developing the content flesh that is added to the architecture/skeleton.