Broadsheet – Entering the Terrible Twos

Broadsheet is two today so it’s time for my yearly round up*.   All the stats have been pulled from Google Analytics so should be pretty reasonable.  You can read my post about last year’s stats if you want some extra context.

Broad strokes 

First off, some year on year details:

  • Visits up 234% (10,378,376 vs. 3,105,424), with an increase of 142% in unique visitors (2,693,084 vs. 1,112,596)
  • Served up 253% more pages (23,128,367 vs. 6,544,165)
  • 75% of our visitors are repeat viewers

It’s been a year of tremendous (and consistent) growth. The addition of Cloudflare to the server setup has really taken the brunt of the increased traffic. There’s still intermittent issues, but certainly not as common as they were in the previous year.

Traffic is still growing so hopefully next year I’ll be commenting on similar growth – something I wouldn’t have expected last year.

Number One With A Bullet

I love lists (the ‘Top 100 x’ shows Channel 4 used to do were complete catnip for me), so of course I’m going to do a couple of Top Tens.

Top Ten Posts

The Garda/horse pictorial was a thing of absolute beauty. The pictures were submitted by a reader, thrown up and within hours had spread all over the internet. It may be crude and gutter humour but people are a sucker for the humiliation of others – especially when a figure of authority is involved.

The flip side of that though is the interest shown in the tragic story of Kate Fitzgerald. While it would be easy to put it down to morbid curiosity, I do think people were genuinely moved by it and annoyed with how the Irish Times handled the situation.

Recycle, Reduce, Reuse

The reason for all our traffic has been the 11,936 posts with 154,748 comments. In the last year, there’s been a few recycled post titles.

Top Ten Search Terms

Once again, Google is the only search engine worth talking about as Yahoo and Bing only accounted for 2% of visits from search terms.

When it comes to the phrases used, the actual top ten is dominated by people lazily typing in ‘broadsheet’ (or some variant thereof – it’s 7 of the top 10) into a search box so I’ve excluded them to get at the more interesting terms.

  • tallafornia
  • kate fitzgerald
  • niamh horan
  • mario balotelli
  • crackbird
  • yootube
  • jean byrne
  • balotelli
  • axl rose
  • eoin mckeogh

Jean Byrne is the only term from last year, so the list is a reasonable approximation of what people’s obsessions were in the last year.

During the Dundrum Shopping Centre flooding last October, there was a huge spike of incoming searches (jumping from about 6K to 15K). While the number of visits have been building we’ve still to beat this with an average of about 11K visits a day at the moment.

Facebook > Twitter > Reddit > Google+

Facebook continues to be the single biggest referrer outside of searches, maintaining the healthy lead on Twitter with more than twice incoming visits (~2.3 million vs. ~1 million).

Twitter on a rare occasion will send more traffic but that’s usually down to someone like Dara O’Brian retweeting a story (a recent case was the prank call to the TV3 psychic).  What’s nice these days is that the extra traffic tends not to cause the site to lock up.

After the two sharing behemoths, the social referrals drop off very quickly.  Reddit comes in a distant third, providing about 80K visits.

Google+ does practically nothing for the site in comparison to the other social networks – so much so the button was removed to save on the extra Javascript it needs.  It barely even scrapes into the top ten social sources. You can understand why it has been called a network for Google employees and Amazon employees who want to Google employees when you see how little traffic it generates.

The top five referrers were:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Google

Browser Battle Royale

Google are claiming Chrome is the most popular browser and it certainly king of the hill for Broadsheet jumping from 3rd to 1st accounting for 30% of visits.  Firefox dropped 6% to 23%, Internet Explorer is down to 19% and Safari stays at 15%. I point blank refuse to talk about Opera.

The IE 6 death match nears the end with only 0.7% of visits from the decrepit browser.  This drop off was helped by the fact that the version of WordPress used doesn’t support it.

Beauty and the Beast

Microsoft might be losing the Browser Wars, it still is the 800 pound gorilla when it comes to what people are running on their machines with 62% of devices running some sort of flavor of Windows. There’s still people using Windows 98! Apple comes in with 20% of devices using some version of OS X.

On the mobile side, iDevices still rule the roost with 11.5% of visitors compared to Android’s 3.7%. I keep on hearing about Android’s supposed dominance of the smart phone market but any time I’ve seen website stats it’s been trailing. Maybe next year but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

One minor thing to note is that the Windows devices include the Windows mobile numbers (albeit in tiny numbers) while the Apple’s doesn’t. I can only assume if there’s a big uptake of Windows Mobile 7 and 8 in the coming year they’ll be separated out.

An oddity that surprised me is that there are the people out there still using OS/2 and SunOS.  I can only assume they’re self-flagellants (or just messing with the user agent field to mess with my head).

And We’re Done

That’s all I’ve to say for another year.  If you’ve any comments or questions, let me know and I’ll try and answer them.


Since people have been asking about a geographical break down, the top 10 visitor locations (with number of visits) are:

  • Ireland (7,551,080)
  • United Kingdom (1,117,594)
  • United States (519,110)
  • (not set) (120,021)
  • Australia (118,150)
  • Germany (101,340)
  • Canada (93,057)
  • France (72,971)
  • Netherlands (72,412)
  • Belgium (65,618)

*If you saw this post a month ago it’s because I can’t tell the difference between a 6 and a 7 in a date…

A Sunday Afternoon Project: KMMapList

I’ve been toying with the idea of doing another version of the Pint of Plain app and one of the things I want to change is list of bars you first see when you open the app. During the week I ended up on Dribble and saw a screenshot from an app called Chow Now.
What I liked about this is that the extra detail about the restaurants is present at the bottom where’s there’s more room to breath.  It’s a nice combination of the now traditional map and list views.  I’m guessing that tapping a pin will make the scroll view move and swiping the scroll view highlights the pin.  The details at the bottom are far more detailed than a normal call out and there’s enough room to have the phone number tapable as well as leading to a more detailed view.

Now I’m sure this will be easy to build with [REDACTED] in iOS 6, but I want something I can use now as other wise it’s an idea that would lie rotting in my brain.  I also wanted to play with reusable UIViews built with Interface Builder as a test for a couple of future app ideas.

I’ve a first pass of my code in a repo on GitHub  and I’ll probably be poking at it a bit more over the next few weeks.  For something that I kicked about for a couple of hours today the core of it is there and I’m happy enough with the result.  It’s not as pretty as the example from Dribble, but that was never going to happen with my cack handed design chops.

Functionally there but just not pretty

There’s probably quite a few improvements that could be done to the current code (apart from the obvious hard coding of the data points).  It’d probably be better if the off screen views were generated just in time rather than all at once and I’ve still to figure out how it’ll handle a large number of annotations.  Still, it’s a good proof of concept and worth moving along.  We’ll see how it goes over the next little while.

The Dark Knight Rises

A quick note on spoilers – I have linked to Batman stories which the plot borrows from.  If you want to remain completely spoiler free, don’t click the links.  You have been warned.

So it’s finally here: The Dark Knight Rises – the final part of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. I will admit I’ve been looking forward to this and I am a huge Batman fan, so my opinion may be biased.

The story itself is a mishmash of new elements as well as liberally borrowing from Knightfall (with the classic scene intact) and No Man’s Land.  It works well and the pace is such that you don’t really feel the 164 minutes it takes to tell.  There’s no lulls and everything has it’s place.  That’s all I say about the plot as to do otherwise would stray into spoiler territory.

The film tended to be all serious business, but there are moments of humour (although I’m sure one of them has been used in a previous film).  They didn’t feel shoe horned in or put in as after thought which is why I thought they worked so well.

There are a serval of large set pieces through the film to remind you firmly that this is an action film and not just some police corruption drama.   Nolan handles these with his usual deft hand and shows you just where all the money spent on the film went.

Christian Bale could have done without his 60 Major a day voice when he has the cowl on but otherwise puts in as good a performance as he always does.  Bane is restored to his proper menace by Tom Hardy (after the terrible version in Batman & Robin from 1997) but had a very odd accent which I still can’t place.  Even with it supposedly re-dubbed, I found him hard to understand at times as he was drowned out by the soundtrack.

Anne Hathaway steals the show from both of them, flipping from meek vulnerability to stoney faced confidence in an instant.  She carried off Catwoman (not Batgirl as an unobservant friend thought) with an air of world weary ease.  The impractical looking costume did have a reason for every part and wasn’t just to show off her bum (although it did that as well).

The geek in me was kept very happy and the more dispassionate adult was entertained so a huge thumbs up from me

Poster by Jock for Mondo

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