In Philadelphia, we enjoyed a great dry month (excellent for mountain biking, although not so good for gardening). Perhaps this weather made Wonderful Machine’s users also seek the outdoors, rather than staying by their computer and visiting the site. So yes, May was not good as far as numbers go.
Seeing trends in traffic when comparing one month’s numbers to the previous’ requires an even broader, synoptic view to mean something. So be cautious in what you “read” into the numbers. Remember that correlation does not imply causation, as free speech partisans everywhere will remind you. As site managers, you are each concerned about causation because that describes what is actually bringing people to the site. Whereas Google Analytics and its competitors are mainly only showing you numbers (correlations).
In comparison to April 2021, during May, every basic traffic metric showed declines. The number of users dropped from 9,865 to 8,695, which constitutes a -11.8% change. In comparison to May 2020, the change was -22.7%! Ay caramba! Similarly, the number of pageviews (individual page viewings) dropped -30.1% from 48,532 in April to 33,940 in May. Finally, the number of sessions (from entering the site to leaving the site, not including each of the individual pages viewed) dropped -16.1%, from 14,230 in April to 11,941 in May.
Sessions per user and pageviews per session also declined 1.44 to 1.32 (-4.8%) and 3.41 to 2.84 (-16.6%). Average session duration and bounce rate also got worse: from 4:03 in April to 3:20 in May and 50.6% in April to 55.5% in May (remember that bounce rates should be low, not high). However, as some consolation, May’s numbers in average session duration and bounce rate actually improved compared to May 2020 by +60.9% and -19.8%, respectively.
As mentioned in last month’s analytics reports, no longer can users click on an individual photographer’s profile. This was a decision made to cater to the users that we most wanted to court (for the sake of photographers, no less), namely, clients. Photo editors, art buyers, producers, creative directors, and the like are just as busy as you are, and we’re convinced that a list of potential candidates, from which they can easily check out a photographer’s site and Instagram feed, is a better approximation of their needs.
The robust new search functions of the site allow more precision in finding photographers (like you!). During the month of May users conducted 7,419 photographer searches altogether. Those users conducted 2,666 searches by location. They conducted 1,399 searches according to specialty, 718 searches by name, and 358 searches by date.
Wonderful Machine maintains two different blogs, both publishing articles for photographers, the Read Intel blog, and about recent projects photographers have completed (this one is for clients), the Read Published blog. Unsurprisingly, the fortunes of the blogs during May suffered like the rest of the site.
Because all of the site’s articles fall into the /article/ folder, we cannot simply count the numbers of Intel vs. Published blog posts. So while we may have had fewer users to the Read Intel blog, 1616 visits in May against 2419 in April and 817 readers to the Read Published blog against 887 in April, this isn’t actually counting any of the views of specific articles. Users may arrive at the Read Intel page, but they can read through articles without returning to it.
So, to be clear: The Read Intel blog suffered a jaw-dropping -33% drop in visitors between April and May; the Read Published blog suffered a modest -8% decline. In addition, only 8,296 articles were read in May, though 9,386 were in April — a not unsubstantial -11.6% decline in readership.
The five most read Read Intel articles were:
The five most read Read Published articles were: