A year in the Broadsheet

It’s been a year since Broadsheet.ie and launched and it’s been a rather interesting year to see it grow with such limited resources.  I’m going talk here about some of the bits and pieces that have interested me.

Obama > Queen > Stephen Ireland

For the last three months, Broadsheet has done over 1 million pageviews a month, which accounts for about half the total since it started.  Considering the site started off on shared hosting and is now on a vps, it’s pretty good going.  For caching, the site had been using WP Super Cache but it seemed to struggle somewhat (this, in fairness, could be down to being misconfigured).  I switched W3C Total Cache and that seems to have improved things.

The first standout post the site was one about Stephen Ireland’s house.  It was one of those posts that caught people’s imaginations and spread like wildfire across the net.  It reappears every so often on football sites, usually to howls of incredulity.  It remains the second most popular post on the site.

There’s been a couple of outstanding days where there’s been a general surge in traffic, most notably during Obama’s (78,041) and Queen Elizabeth II’s (69,154 64,735 55,199) visits.  The nice thing about days like those is that there’s generally a little extra boost to traffic afterwards.

However, despite all that, the most consistently viewed post is a silly screencap of a Yahoo question.  It ended up on Stumble Upon and people are still coming to the site nine months later for a cheap giggle.

Something that surprised me was the number of people that viewed the previous posts pages.  There’s a huge drop off from those that view the second  compared to the first page and continues to drop off rapidly.  The fifth page has less than 1% of the views of the first.  So the moral of this story is content dies very quickly.

The top five posts of the last year have been:

Facebook > Twitter > Google+

Traffic from Facebook has been pretty consistent, being about 1/3 to 1/2 more referrals than from Twitter.  That said, the site has been taken down via links from Graham Linehan and Charlie Brooker’s twitter streams.  Google+ is yet to have an impact, with barely a trickle of incoming links.  Both Boards.ie and Politics.ie both provide a steady supply of views, usually for the politically charged stuff (and pictures of Irish models, of course).

The top five referrers were:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Stumbleupon
  • Boards.ie

Dirty Old Goats

The growth in traffic from Google has grown steadily since launch with some notable spikes (Bing and Yahoo provide so little traffic they’re not worth talking about).  Brian Cowen hungover on the radio and then the sketch on Jay Leno was the first example of search traffic spike.  Neil Prendeville and his misadventure though is the king of spikes, adding 4.7K visits to a baseline of under 1K at the time.

But the queen of keywords is Madeline Mulqueen after her appearance in that Rubberbandits video.  Plenty of dirty beggars out there looking for more photos of her and who are we to disappoint?

Six of the top ten searches bringing people to the site involve ‘broadsheet.ie’ (mostly because people are too lazy to switch to the URL bar), so excluding them the top ten is:

  • madeline mulqueen
  • gary busey
  • neil prendeville
  • alison o’riordan
  • jean byrne
  • dominic hyde
  • sarah carey
  • jay leno brian cowen
  • damo and ivor
  • brian cowen drunk

I wonder if Alison is happy with her internet fame?

IE6, why won’t you die?

Firefox rules the roost, with 29.98% of the browser share.  IE follows with 24.70% but Chrome is snapping at its heels with 23%.  Safari lags behind with 15.74% (which would include both desktop and mobile versions).

8.72% of all visitors still came via IE6.  The only glimmer of hope is that this month it’s fallen to 7.88%.  One day, it will be ground into the dust and be forgotten about like a bad dream.  But that day is not today.

Android accounts for about the same amount of traffic as iPads and iPods combined but is still 1/3rd of the traffic from iPhones (and if there wasn’t an app it would only be higher). After that there’s there usual suspects of Blackberry/Nokia/Samsung (in that order).

14 thoughts on “A year in the Broadsheet”

  1. What about RSS readers? Google Reader says 271 subscribers, which is how I view the site 95% of the time (the other 5% is split between Chrome and Android).

    1. I’ve not been tracking the feed stats unfortunately so I don’t have the same sort of break down to hand. Looking through the logs though gives me 57,476 views for July, 63,709 for June and 81,309 for May of the feed page.

  2. Are you planning to go back to advertising? OK, the execution last Friday was a bit heavy handed, but the site is excellent and deserves to make a decent living. Also, what about merchandise? I’d pay for a mug.

    One more thing – what about iPad? I use the iPhone app, but it’s not great at the x2 format on iPad. Any plans?

    1. There are plans for advertising in the pipeline but that’s all I can say for now. We will be taking on board all the comments about the experiment last Friday.

      As for an iPad version of the app, I don’t really see the benefit when the iPad stats are so small. Also since the site looks fine on the iPad it makes it a little redundant. I’m not completely ruling it out, but it’s very much at the bottom of the ‘to do’ list.

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