I know some of you out there are analytics nerds like I am, so I thought I'd take a minute to share a few metrics, from across the Empire. I'm mostly focusing on year-over-year analytics here… I look at these numbers once a month or so to get a feel for how each site is aging, and assess whether there are any strategic shifts I need to make.
This is Offbeat Empire's archive of statistics posts.
I've talked a LOT about my conflicted feelings about Facebook, but things have changed over the course of this year as I've been shifting my thinking about recency vs relevancy. Also, the recent performance of Offbeat Families' Facebook page has pretty much blown my mind. Moral of the story: my contentious publisher relationship with Facebook is shifting, and I conducted this survey to help me confirm some hunches.
This post I wrote six months ago may be the most important thing I've written all year. After we stopped publishing new posts on Offbeat Families in September. Then traffic and revenue then went UP… and it's all because of shares on Facebook. Content recency is OUT. Content relevancy is IN.
As a publisher, I'm *super* excited about the Smart Layers. This kind of module is pretty common across the web, used on sites like NYTimes and HuffPo. I added the functions because it's a great way for readers (especially drive-by and first-time readers) to easily find additional posts on the sites… and it's crazy awesome to see how much it's getting used…
I recently compared the traffic for Offbeat Home & Life with Offbeat Families, and was amazed to see that Offbeat Home & Life has not only caught up to Offbeat Families — but surpassed its traffic pretty significantly with over double the visits.
And you know what's responsible for most of those visits? FUCKING BASIL.
We have some general guidelines about what fits on each Offbeat Empire blog, but there's definitely some overlap and wiggle room. Newlywed stuff generally goes on Home & Life (but sometimes goes on Bride), reproductive health generally goes on Families (but sometimes goes on Home & Life), and child-free stuff generally goes on Families (even though it's very much about NOT having children). Anything meta (business, community, tech) goes here on Offbeat Empire, but sometimes we also post on the sites related to the meta-issue.
But sometimes there are some posts that stump us…
I've talked a lot about my love of RSS. RSS is the outgrowth of a content logic that's very much in-line with my old school blogger brain: show me all the posts, with the most recent at the top. I started blogging in 2000 (aww, look!), and that's just how my brain works: the most recent stuff is the most important. When it comes to how I think about content, it's basically the homepage of a blog. Most recent = most important, and then everything else is listed beneath in descending order of recency. That's how I read everything. That's how I think about everything. That's how my editorial brain works.
I've become increasingly aware however that, thanks to the popularity of Facebook and Pinterest, that's not how many Offbeat Empire readers think about content. These two social media tools are changing the way my readers learn about our posts, and as I adapt to the shift, it's changing the way I think about social media broadcasting and my editorial strategy.
A few weeks ago, Google announced that they were shutting down Google Reader, the tool used by thousands of Offbeat Empire readers to follow our RSS feeds. I had some super strong feels when the announcement was made, because I've been personally using Google Reader pretty much daily since it launched 8 years ago. For those of us who digest a LOT of information online, RSS is an awesome method, and Google Reader was the best tool. While it was sad for me personally, it was mostly a theoretical sadness because honestly? I'd already switched to a new RSS reader a few months ago…