During the month of September we were finally able to implement the tag that records how many times site users have followed links from photographer records to websites. Everyone was happy — especially me, as I was keen to track these numbers. Yet, as you may know, launching a new website creates long lists of to dos, and walking must precede running (so I’ve been told, yet this advice falls on the deaf ears of a biker … ).
Like in months and years past, we saw improvements here and declines there across our general traffic numbers in September. We saw a slight increase in users (+2.7%), with 8,274 while only 8,056 in August. New users and sessions also increased by +1.6 and .1% respectively, from 7,659 in August to 7,779 in September; and from 11,678 to 11,688.
In comparison to September 2020 these numbers are not rosy, when we received 10,562 users (-21.7%), 9,916 new users (-21.6%), and 13,446 session (-13.1%).
Pageviews, sessions per user, and pageviews per session all declined between this month and August, by -12.6, -2.6, and -12.7%, respectively. Average session duration shortened, from 4:18 in August to 3:42 in September (-14.1%), and the bounce rate increased (that is supposed to be lower), from 53.45% in August to 56.12% in September — a change of +4.9%.
Our average session duration is up +66.7% and our bounce rate is down -12.9% since September 2020. Both of these are positive indicators.
As mentioned above, we finally implemented the tags so that when a site user clicks on the link to a photographer’s website, that event is recorded. This was a feature that we had working on our older site, but it was one of the many items that our web developer had yet to put in place. He has done an incredible job and we’re all very pleased with the new site.
This means that now, whenever a user happens upon the profiles of Julia Vandenoever, Ally Lindsay, Sheldon Sabbatini, or any photographer and click on their phone number, email, website, Instagram, LinkedIn, or bio, we have a record of that site event.
During September (starting from September 8, in fact) our photographers’ site were opened 3,426 times, Instagram accounts 628 times, bios 419 times, LinkedIn profiles 282 times, emails clicked 192 times, and phone numbers referenced 32 times. If you’d like to know precisely how many times such events occurred for your profile, please drop me a line.
Another feature of the new site that we think makes a difference is the variability with which users can search for photographers. Users can search photographers by specialty, but also by location, date, and even name.
During September users conducted 4,751 photographer searches, which is a -8.7% drop from the 5,204 searches made in August. Videographers were sought 232 times, as opposed to the 376 times in August — a -38.6% decline. Users sought photographers (and videographers by location 2,917 times, which is a -12.6% decrease over the 3,388 times in August.
Photographers sought users by specialty 1,388 times in September, a -29% change from the 1,955 searches conducted in August. The date search function was used 1,728 times, a -11.6% drop from the 1,955 of August (yes, it’s strange that there were the same number of specialty and date searches in August). Finally, searches by name were performed 1,731 times in September and 1,509 times in August, a +14.9% increase.
Wonderful Machine’s users hailed from the United States 57.6% of the time in September, followed by India 5.8% and by Canada 4.3% of the time. Other countries were also represented.
The cities from which users accessed our site included, in order: New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, London, and San Francisco.
If you’ve read our Web Ads report card articles, you’ve seen their effectiveness in drawing traffic to our site and, presumably, bringing photographers’ clients to work through our directory. During September “Paid Search,” as it is known in Google Analytics (web ads), constituted 13.6% of the site’s traffic.
Search engines like Google, Bing, Duckduckgo, Baidu, Yandex, and others bring 35.6% of our site’s traffic. In point of fact, this percentage is down significantly over the previous year when search engine traffic made up a whopping 55.8% of our traffic. Being the SEO consultant, this is in part cause for concern. Yet the quality of our traffic has improved dramatically over the past year and the implementation of the new site is no insignificant part of that.
More than a quarter (26%, in fact) of our traffic is direct, which is a slight increase over the 22.6% of September 2020. Whether that is an improvement is another question.
Social media — among its other functions — drives traffic to our website. It drive 10.2% of the traffic to our website, which is an increase over the 6.7% it drove last year.
Among the social media platforms on which we promote the skills of our photographers, Facebook remains the most important, provoking 645 sessions in September, which is a +67% increase over the 384 sessions of September 2020. Instagram, by contrast, elicited only 62 sessions, a -34% decline from the 94 it provoked in 2020.
In fact, both Pinterest and LinkedIn started 140 and 132 sessions, respectively. For Pinterest that is a -.1 decrease from the 141 of last year; for LinkedIn that is a +55% increase over the 85 sessions of yesteryear.
Wonderful Machine has two different blogs. The first, called Intel, is designed to provide information germane to the business of being a commercial or editorial photographer. The second, called Published, promotes recent usually published projects by our member photographers.
As a whole, over the month of September the blogs received 10,152 pageviews, which is a -6% decrease from the 10,804 pageviews of August.
On the Intel blog, the most popular posts were:
On the Published blog, the most popular posts were: