Usually we just have LiveJournal's internal statistics to go by, but this year we've got some Google Analytics to throw into the mix. Shiny!
In general, the most-viewed pages on LiveJournal over any given time period are from recent issues. Over that same time period, the most-viewed pages on our website aren't -- they're spread out throughout all issues. The Google Analytics statistics pages will only show the twenty-four most-visited pages. Over the last ninety days on our website, only three of those twenty-four pages are stories, one of which was from this summer, and two of which are several years old; eight are issue pages, half of which are from before 2014. If you look at the list of recent favorites from our website, the list rarely contains stories posted within that thirty-day period.
By contrast, nineteen of those twenty-four pages on s2b2 during the last ninety days are stories, only two of which were not posted during that time period. Part of that is surely due to how issues get posted to LJ two days before they appear on our website -- but even after everything has been mirrored, people are still reading them on LiveJournal.
The conclusion that seems to come from all this is: LJ and our website are serving different purposes. http://shousetsubangbang.com underwent some major revisions and overhaulage at the end of last year, on into the start of this one. Soon after all that was finished, it became quickly clear to anyone looking for past issues and old contributions that it's much easier to do that on our website than on LiveJournal. Thus, hits that would have gone to searching LJ for back stories now by and large appear on our website.
If you look at 2013's numbers, it looks like we've shed just huge chunks of readership. In fact, we haven't -- what has happened, though, is that a significant amount of back-catalog traffic has moved to our website. We're about to 2012 numbers, in fact, only now those numbers are for just one of the places readers visit.
What this also means is that these numbers are probably more accurate now in terms of how many people are reading issues at the time they are posted. While we've got some older entries on LJ that still get lots of traffic (usually from a few very specific, longstanding links), the majority of LJ hits are to new releases.
Despite having no issue released that month, January was s2b2's most-visited month in 2014. See above for some possible reasons why.
February brought our first issue of the year, On the Air. In general, if there's a spike in traffic late in a month, that's the day the issue was released.
Our Earth, Wind, and Fire f/f special came out in March, though it seems it had to compete with some belated catching up on February's issue.
Numbers were back up with an impressive bump of attention for our April A.I. issue.
May is our second no-issue month of the year.
June saw our Father's Day issue, which was a hit.
Our Yes, And issue came out in July, though it seems like everyone waited for the weekend to read it.
August was our 50th regular issue, the Soldiering Life.
Our Four Seasons Artist Special came out in September, with lower viewing numbers probably corresponding to how nearly three-quarters of the issue was made of single images, which can be viewed in their entirety on Tumblr without having to click through for the rest.
October's Under the Sea issue was another art-intensive collection, despite being a regular m/m text issue.
There's no November issue either, partly because everyone needs extra time to prepare for...
December's themeless big bang! (And the month isn't even quite over yet!)
We love our website, our website is awesome, it does many things, it has lots of nice bells and whistles, it makes us very happy, etc. But here are some examples of what I was talking about earlier, in terms of how the pageview profiles are different -- now in Google Analyticsvision! Don't forget to pay attention to the y-axis:
The last seven days. You can see a little midweek bump on the right from when the issue was mirrored on our website, but it's nothing like the Monday spike on LJ.
The last thirty days. There's that new-issue spike again on LJ, while the website's readership is more evenly distributed.
The last ninety days. It’s far more obvious, looking at LJ, when the two issues released in that time period happened. The early-November increase in traffic on our website is probably due to the introduction of the bulletin boards, though they haven't had heavy enough use to explain why the hits have kept on coming. Wizards? Could be wizards.
I don't have comprehensive data for the SSBB wiki, though you can see view counts on the bottoms of individual pages. If you're a contributor who wants specific numbers for your own entries, contact us and we'll be happy to crunch them for you.
So here's this year's distillation, repeated from last year as applicable:
Even when they're not leaving comments, people are reading, and even the small issues have a lot of eyes on them. Contributors, please don't be discouraged: your hard work has not gone unnoticed!
Spreading the word continues to be absolutely vital to keeping this project going. Retweets, reblogs, and recommendations elsewhere are all much appreciated, because they're what get attention and lead to more views, especially now that LiveJournal is well into its twilight years as a social media platform. If you like something on SSBB, there's two people you should tell: the creator and a friend.
Despite how most of the buzz about SSBB tends to be generated elsewhere, it generally leads back to our traditional stomping grounds on LiveJournal. As we said earlier, we intend to stay with LJ as long as we can, partly because that's where people expect the issues to be. The feed at Dreamwidth is there for people who still want the announcements, but as far as journaling sites go, we'd like to remain where our readers know to find us.
As time goes on, though, people who look for older stories are doing that on our website. We're not surprised by this -- it's much easier to find things there, and even though the website's current incarnation got going last year, it didn't really fully get going until 2014.
Special issues generally aren't as popular as our regular issues, but we still love them -- and based on the responses to our May poll, there's a lot of deep affection for them out there too. So we're glad they exist, and we're going to keep them coming.
Even as the number of people reading issues is growing, the number of people contributing to issues is shrinking. Spreading the word is great for getting readers, but it's also how we get contributors. If you've been thinking about participating but don't feel you have the experience, know that you're in good company -- this year's issues featured a number of familiar artists and authors alike, but also included several great works from more than a few brave first-timers. We editors are fun and friendly, and we're long-practiced at giving good, gentle constructive feedback. And as the wise philosopher Jake the Dog once said, sucking at something is the first step to becoming sorta good at something.
And for those of you who like super-short summaries, here's the tl;dr:
- We've still got a large readership, even though it's sometimes hard to see without the above numbers.
- s2b2 is still far and away where people go for current issues. http://shousetsubangbang.com is where they go for past issues.
- Three things you can do to keep SSBB going: contribute, leave comments, spread the word.
This is also an open thread! Got questions? Comments? Suggestions? Here's where to leave them -- or you can put them on the thread mirrored on our bulletin boards.