Maybe. It’s hard to say. Keep reading for brief inconclusive navel-gazing.
This blog’s annual traffic has been dead flat for years now. But it’s looking like it’s going to be down appreciably this year, even though we’re posting just as often. We just completed our 7th consecutive month of lower traffic year-on-year, which has never happened before. Since the end of Feb., we’ve lost an average of >10% of our monthly pageviews, year-on-year.*
I can imagine several not-mutually-exclusive reasons for this, on which I’d welcome comments:
- Pageviews originating from searches have been down for the last 7 months. And many of our old advice posts are showing steady long-term declines in their pageviews. Maybe that’s because some of our popular old posts no longer come up as high in search results? Perhaps because Google’s search algorithm downweights old pages? If that’s what’s going on, I’m not sure we should worry much about it. After all, much of our search traffic presumably comes from people who weren’t searching for a topic our posts actually cover. So if those people are no longer being sent to Dynamic Ecology only to immediately click away, well, that doesn’t represent an actual loss of readership for us. But insofar as people who are searching for a topic covered by our old posts aren’t being sent to them any more, that’s a bit of a bummer from our (and their!) perspective.
- We’ve gotten stale, so long-time readers have started drifting away at a faster rate. Definitely could be something to this. I know I’m repeating myself much more often than I did back when we first started. And over the years our Friday linkfests have increased in popularity relative to our other posts, presumably because on average the linkfests have more “brand new” or “unexpected” material than our other posts do.
- Brian and Meghan are busier and aren’t able to post as much these days, and so readers who like their posts, or just like variety, are drifting away. This is a variant of the previous bullet.
- People are getting away from reading blogs. Maybe people increasingly don’t want to read long blog posts on their phones? Maybe people are increasingly listening to podcasts instead of reading blogs?
*Year-on-year comparisons are appropriate because our pageviews have strong seasonality. We get much less traffic in the summer, and over Christmas/New Year’s.