On a side note, you can read more about this concept of honesty in blogging in the excellent book Blog Marketing. I recommend it to anyone that blogs.
I thought I might do some sharing of my own with some real stats about my blog here, perhaps someone out there might have some good ideas about the problem I have!
A couple of months ago I migrated to Joomla 1.5 on this blog, I have been scrutinizing my Google Analytics reports and have found some depressing results. It seems that at the point I switched to 1.5, I have lost about 20% of my traffic!
In the Analytics graph below, you can see the point in march when the site was migrated, and then a significant drop in traffic.
I knew the migration was going to change the links across my site, and I had a plan to redirect old URL’s after migrating. I anticipated some traffic drop, but this was surprising. Comparing the site usage from, say, February and April, was not encouraging reading.
My immediate reaction was to start rummaging deeper into the Analytics to isolate the reason. When I did this, I came up with several observations that did not make much sense.
First stop is where the traffic is coming from. As anticipated, in absolute terms, the biggest traffic drop is coming from Google, which is my biggest source.
Clicking on the Google (organic) link will show you the keywords that are getting the traffic. Its here where things started to get confusing. As you can see below, all my major keywords did show some traffic drop, but nowhere near enough in absolute terms to account for the 24,644 (103,474-78,830) visits I had dropped from Google. For some terms, I had even increased in traffic!
[Note: Actual terms edited… I am not *that* naked :)]
So where could the missing traffic be?
I still have not really been able to track this down. The only possible clue I can find is the number of keywords I am getting traffic for. In the bottom right of the organic Google keywords it says in small letters: " 1 – 500 of 46,507". This means I got traffic, either in February or April, on 46,507 keywords. My strategy for redirecting old URL’s was based on some global edits in htaccess for my "big hitters". It turns out I was dead wrong.
Seems I both gain and lose form what is know as the Long Tail. A chunk of my traffic comes from searches on obscure keywords, just a few hits at a time. But all added up, the misplaced URL’s aggregate that traffic into a significant amount.
What should you learn from my migration?
The million dollar question right now is "Should I migrate to Joomla 1.5 for my website"?
Everyone’s stock answer is "it depends". Well, one of the things it depends on is how much traffic your site gets, and what you depend on it for. I like to think of myself as relatively knowledgeable about SEO, yet I got tripped up and paid the price in a big chunk of traffic. If you want to migrate a popular site, you need one of two things:
- A seamless way to redirect thousands of URL’s
- Be using a SEF extension that produces identical URL’s on 1.0 and 1.5
One thing I have realized is that the people who are going to be hugely influential in the adoption of 1.5 is going to be the developers of the various SEF extensions. The current list includes:
So I still only have a guess on what my traffic drop is due to. If you have any ideas, please share! Or maybe you’d like to tell us about how your 1.5 migration has gone….
You’ll have to excuse me, I need to go and put my clothes back on….