State of the Burg: A Tale of Two Statblocks

I’ve been experimenting with analytics on Nuketown for the last few months, setting Google Analytics to watch the site’s web traffic and Feedburner to keep an eye on the RSS feeds.

Over all, things are going about as well as they usually do, with no huge spikes up or down. The top referrers — the sites that send me traffic — continue to be and, in that order, which just goes to show I should have been posting news items about my Nuketown game reviews to gamingreport years ago.

What I find most interesting about these two analytics tools though, are the most popular pages they report. These were the most popular pages for October 2008 according to Google:

  1. Nuketown | Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Geekdom (homepage)
  2. Linksys, Open NAT, and Halo 3
  3. Installing Ubuntu Linux on a G3 iMac
  4. Nuketown‘s Mac RPG Tools Page
  5. Reboot your game with Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition
  6. Phenylpropanolamine Chain Letter Confuses, Misinforms
  7. Gameroom (games index page)
  8. Hoax Central (hoaxes index page)
  9. Search (site search engine)
  10. Star Wars: SE RPG – The Annotated Playtest #1

Each of these pages received at least several hundred visits (the top five averaged 1000 reads, except the home page, which got about 4,500), and represents largely what Nuketown‘s external visitors (those outside of our little community here) are interested in. Traffic to these pages is driven largely through Google and the other major search engines. As you can see, even though I don’t update it all that frequently, the hoaxes section still gets a hefty amount of external traffic.

Meanwhile, over at the Feedburner, there’s a different story. One curious fact is this: for some reason, the site’s seen a steady uptick in the number of RSS subscribers over the last week, and is averaging 89 subscribers (up from about 65 at the end of the summer).

The traffic numbers there are far more modest, but what I find interesting are the stories that people are reading. You have to go out of your way to subscribe to Nuketown‘s RSS feed, so I expect that most people following it are part of the Nuketown community, or at least actively interested in what I’m rambling on about. These were the top 10 stories for roughly the same time period as the Google Analytics numbers (Oct 9-Nov 9, 2008; FeedBurner won’t let me do reports for a specific month:

  1. Star Wars: Saga Edition – Annotated Playtest #1
  2. RPG Reviews Digest: 3rd Party 4E, Champions, Hero, Against the Darkness/li>
  3. Radio Active #73: The Could Touch of Autumn
  4. DeadSpace Reviewed
  5. Star Wars: Saga Edition – Annotated Playtest #2
  6. The GM Has Had It
  7. CNN: Space fashion is here
  8. Game Day: Dawn on Zebulon
  9. LEGO Batman reviewed
  10. Feel the Force (Chips)

Each of these stories saw 40-60 clicks, sometimes more, sometimes less. Some entries on this list don’t surprise me — the Saga Edition playtests, the Radio Active posts — but I was happy to see that the RPG Review Digests were popular with my readers. All in all, there’s a strong gamer vibe to what people are reading in the RSS feeds.

I think this is partly because the RSS stats reflect what I’ve been writing about recently, where as the Google Analytics are looking at the site as a whole, but the game bias is still present if I look at the lifetime RSS stats going back to the spring.

Overall, I’m pleasantly surprised at how much traffic the RSS feed gets, with 10,008 views and 3,356 clicks between May and October 2008. Those aren’t awe-inspiring numbers — I know some gaming sites get six to ten times as much traffic to their feed — but I find it gratifying, and a little humbling, that people are not only reading my stuff, but going out of their way to keep current with it via the feed.

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