It’s been about a month since I rebooted the website, and I wanted to talk about early results! First, hi all you new people! Thank you for coming by and I hope you like it here. ^_^ This is a DIY post; I try to do them on a regular basis, usually on Wednesdays.
So! A recap of what I did to the website. It wasn’t a major redesign; it was more a reimplementation – and better implementation – of the original idea. I overhauled the blog to look like the rest of the site; I put in my own videos page instead of linking off to my YouTube channel; I did a lot of general cleanup and fine-tuning.
I also threw in some collections of themed posts (the studio buildout series, the travel case construction series, and music in the post-scarcity environment), and added links to them, and started linking the Podcast page in a bit.
Finally, I simplified the hell out of the front page, throwing out lots of crap. I’d fallen into the throw-a-little-bit-of-everything-at-the-f
All the refreshes/re-implementations followed the principle of each page having a primary goal (gets the most space), a secondary goal, and, optionally, tertiary goal.
The big goal on the front page refresh was to get more plays on in-site players. The big goal on the blog was to get more views – and particularly depth of views – with a secondary goal of getting some plays.
Here’s what the reboot has done for my music plays via embedded players on the website. Each dot is a month; the most recent dot is not yet an entire month:
Embedded plays this month are more than the entire previous year combined.
Now, some of that is going to be cannibalisation of plays from the bandcamp-hosted “music” page; those aren’t counting as embedded. Let’s look at total plays:
Plays this month are about equal to plays of the last two and a half months combined.
That’s rather dramatic, isn’t it?
Now, I have had a bit of a traffic spike this month, mostly related to the SFWA debacle. But I’ve had those before – actually, larger ones – and I’ve done the math for comparison.
In this spike, people played 17.3 times as many tracks per 100 page visits as in the last major traffic spike, despite having the same players on the blog, just in a different and apparently less clear place.
I would say that while this is early, the preliminary results here are very promising. Some of it is a result of newness, but hopefully not all.
Now, about depth of views. That’s much less dramatic and a little less clear.
A lot more random people are finding the blog on searches; those collection-posts are search-engine magnets. That’s led to a climb in the ‘bounce’ rate, where people hit one page, go nope, and bounce off.
Subtracting out the SFWA bounce, pageviews are up about 158%, at 258% of the month before. As mentioned, bounce rate has climbed by 10%, rather than dropping as I’d hoped; but at the same time, the amount of time spent on per page by viewers has climbed (only by about 3%, but that includes those bounces), and the pages per visitor appears to have climbed by about 17% – a healthy increase.
So, less clear, particularly with the rising bounce rate, but still elements of promise.
The biggest surprise, by far, though, has to be discovering that trackbacks still matter. I didn’t get a big SFWA bounce by writing about SFWA’s sexism and fails; I got a big SFWA bounce by writing about SFWA’s sexism and fails and linking to other blogs which support trackbacks so people could find me.
I had no idea people followed trackbacks. But they do. Sometimes, in flocks. HI!
Anyway, to sum up: I think the three-goals approach is so far proving effective. We’ll have to see how it stands up over the next few months, of course, but it’s off to a good start. Consider it when designing your own website.
As for further goals: I’d like to see more comments on the band blog home proper; most comments are usually made on the echo which is cross-posted to Livejournal, with Dreamwidth also regularly seeing comment traffic, and some at Tumblr and Facebook. The advantages of echos outweigh the lack of centralised comments, at least for now, but I really wish there was a way to copy them over to here. That’d be awfully nice.