Odd Spike

So, over 2015, I noticed that NIU seemed to spike between April (going from 768 views/145 visitors) and May (3,069/502.) It then peaked in July (3,922/768) and began to slowly drop off. It finally got to a low in February (2,288/304,) which was better than anything when I had started around the same time last year, but it got me worried. Then, this month, I got a huge spike. I'm now breaking all sorts of view numbers, including my monthly record (I've gotten 4,217 views so far) and my daily view counts are... abnormally high. Last year, I rarely got as high as 200 views, usually only once a month. This week, in the past seven days, I've had five days of views over three hundred, one of which ended up having 445 views. That being said, I'm still not up to the number of visitors I had during the summer.

Now, the question I have is why? Why is there a sudden spike? Is it because I've been been posting to RRL in March? Probably not, since it only came through last week, and I've only had 18 people come from there. Is it because I've built up my backlog? If that's the case, why did views and visitors go down during the fall and winter?

My best bet at the moment is it has to do with seasons. If that's the case, why is it that March is such a good month? Does that say anything about my audience? Also, why is March 2016 so much better than March 2015 (544/114)?

I don't know the answer, but I suspect Wordpress doesn't show nearly all referrers. I know I've gotten some visitors from forums that never showed up in my stats. Those same forums also don't show up in any google searches with links leading to my blog. Maybe because they're private / members only? Who knows.

It seems you're enjoying some word of mouth effects. Congrats! :D

Maddi might know an alternate method of identifying visitor sources that doesn't rely on Worpress' stats. If so, I'd love to hear about it, too!

Google analytics is doable, if you're able to put the CSS on your site. Have only just recently figured out how to adjust CSS in a way that works, without actually trying analytics, so make of that what you will.

Only recently reached out to Wordpress re: some gaps in my numbers, and was told that I'd turned some referrers off, for some reason or in some way. So that was one invisible referrer that was helping me out. You might have the same, so it might be worth asking support staff.

It's also worth remembering that, these days, there are a lot of people with various blockers out there who won't show up on your stats, period. Not that I think that has much to do with your spike, but it does mean you've probably got more readers than you realise!

I had a couple of people binge reading earlier this week who showed up on Wordpress, but not Google, so it also possible that some people block one but not the other (I do myself, in fact, since it stops GA registering my own hits, which WP filters out automatically).

Hey Wildbow, are you getting significant added value out of Google analytics? Does it find sources of traffic the Wordpress stats missed? I consider dabbling with it and I'm curious :)

So far, this all pretty helpful, but I was wondering if anyone else sees drops in the fall and winter and spikes in the spring and summer?


It must be because the people are hibernating in winter and waking up in spring, hungry for entertainment.

Jokes apart, is there a region-specific fall/rise in your number? Lots if people go vacationing during the winter holidays and lots of educational institutions have a break/holiday season in March-April.

I've always found 'season effects' to be completely random. There was almost no consistency between the stats of 2014, 2015, and the start of 2016.

Big spikes are usually word of mouth.

Hey Chrysalis, I'm not Wildbow but I find Google Analytics invaluable for a number of reasons:

1. It continues to be the most accurate traffic measuring tool I've used. It is very good at telling the difference between bots/crawlers and real people, so you get a fairly accurate view of traffic. It can be a little unsettling when you first use it, though, because for a lot of people it looks like their site traffic goes down - their previous tool had been counting bots.

2. It let's you see real-time traffic on your site. So at any given time I can see who is visiting and where they're browsing.

3. It gives you an idea of the demographics of people visiting your site - age, gender, location.

4. It gives you a pretty good idea of what kind of technology people are using to access your site. Browser type, whether they use smart phones, that kind of thing.

It's an awesome system if you're comfortable with a bit of coding to get it working.

I have actually wondered the same in terms of peaks and valleys. My suspicion is that there's a drop in summer, because while people have more spare time, they're not spending it online (and my troughs kind of back that up). In terms of monthly statistics though, most of my spikes can be attributed to something.

For my Wordpress site (typically under 200 views in a month) the exceptions were: April 2015 (April Fool Swap), May 2015 (Review by Billy HP), June 2015 (some damn bot that hit parts 4-6 on a daily basis), February 2016 (likely Maddirose reading), March 2016 (Review by Maddirose). So I've had a higher spring too, but who knows? Incidentally, Wordpress seems to filter out spam. On a day with zero hits, I got a new spam comment by Akismet.

For my Blogger site (monthly average maybe 800 views), in March 2013 I crescendoed towards a plateau that held June-Sept. Spikes after that were in October 2013, March 2014, and then October 2014 despite me having ended the math serial in May. Sooo.... nothing conclusive. Maybe you got a lucky share somewhere on March Break?

Code? Oh god, no. If I actually have to work with code to use google analytics, I'm doomed.

Imagine a cave woman trying to open a coconut with a bone knife. That's me, working any kind of code.

Looking at my old site's stats, from 2009-2010, there were major boosts around September/October, which I attribute to students coming back from summer break and needing a distraction XD