Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Decline

So regular readers will know that I religiously track (at least) three numbers here at MRML: visits, downloads and comment numbers. The last two numbers have been very healthy these last two months (as have the blog's number of followers and its subscribers on Google Reader) but the visitor figures have plummetted. We hit a high of 37,000 visitors a month in April sunk down 33,000 in May and I can guarantee you June will not make 30,000.

That's over a 20% drop in two months!


Here's some speculation:

1) The death of Totally Fuzzy
The internet's highest profile blog aggregator recently quit posting blog updates. This hurts us because Fuzzy readers' interest could be piqued by a good write-up, the same of which cannot be said of our other key sources of referrals (search engines, blog rolls etc.)

2) A decline in blog readership?
I don't know if the Twitter-ification of the universe has taken mouse-clicks away from us in Blog-land.

3) A change in Google's search algorithm.
I've seen this happen before (and it almost made me cry) but it was not this sustained. I also know Google's been tinkering a lot with its search results lately...

4) A decline in quality here at MRML.
Not my favourite theory but it is a possibility.



I haven't really decided on my reaction to this statistical deviation but any thoughts on it's origins from other bloggers or more tech or number savvy readers would be appreciated.


  1. Blog traffic is down, across the board. Other people have noticed, too. My own traffic has regressed to below what it was a year ago. I think it's Facebook. No sense making a big deal of it, probably.

  2. don't blame me... i only found my way here a week ago.

    luckily my life had already been ruined long before then. probably by music...

  3. Not sure what the cause is (though I know it's not #4), but Brushback has a point about Facebook taking up peoples internet time. My humble suggestion that won't fix it, but may help, is to make a Facebook page for the blog, so you can link your posts there. I've done it for my blog- and if you make it a "page" as a opposed to a personal account, people can "like" it, which means you don't have to approve friendships or any of the usual facebook hassle. It also provides people with a different method of subscribing, if they don't have a google account to follow with. Just my two cents.

  4. Another thing maybe: If people are reading this site through an RSS reader (e.g. Google Reader) then they might see the page within the reader, but decide not to actually click in to your site unless they are actually interested in that specific post.

    (Also kind of new around here, so I'm bringing your numbers up :)

  5. 33,000?? I don't even get 3300!

  6. It's Summertime, Summertime, Sum-sum-Summertime.

    Other things to do, get tired, fall asleep before I can read anything.

  7. Brushback
    Sucks that it's down all over but it's still good to know (and as for hits, yeah any blog that shamelessly blathers on about Bob Dylan and The Police, however willingly, so damn much is gonna rack up numbers but then again Gerald Cosloy ain't gonna drop by to defend what I do!)

    On a related note, I also saw that when my OWN local record store made its 'essential blog list' - that you made the cut and I didn't!
    When I read that I actually smiled and thought to myself "Rock on, Brushback, Rock on!"

    Glad to have you on board!

    I've been thinking about the Facebook page for a long time - I've never been against it - just have to figure out how to make it work for me.

    Thanks for adding to the conversation (and those infernal numbers!)I try to account for the RSS (which is at around 850 - at least in GR - right now) but maybe people are finding other ways to access the blog.

  8. Woodworker
    It's true there are seasonal variations but May's a little early of a start for the Silly Season!

  9. Possibly the depth, but not breadth, of your recent topics. Since March/April:
    1. Rezillos x a billion
    2. Lots of Redskins
    3. Lots of Moondogs
    4. Lots of Billy Bragg.
    (not a ton else)

    Now Bragg's got me interested again, but one can only handle soooo much of a good thing with certain bands, eh?

    (plus all the other stuff, except facebook, facebook isn't new and wouldn't trigger that quick a drop).

    BTW: more NomeanNo plz. Your old post has disappeared.

  10. BTW: You rock! I love the punk history!

  11. I might say the nice weather was keeping the traffic away, if there had been any (nice weather, that is...), but it is likely the Dylan crowd and fans of Gordon fucking Sumner's old band were keeping those past numbers high.

    My current tastes are running bubblegum, 70's rock & glam and 60's soul, as well as pop-punk, so I've been all over the place.

    But technically, I'd say your past few months of posts are including way, way too many videos which make your page loads excruciatingly slow.

    Anymore than 3 embeds to a post caused me slowness on the page.

    On the main MRML page, my computer hangs all the time because of all the other posts with video embeds.

    I thought it was just me and my computer, but found out last week I wasn't alone.

    Maybe just linking to them would help?

    Anyhooo, speaking of videos, please check these two out:

    The Dumb Fox


    The Magnificent


  12. i wouldn't worry. popularity contests never benefit anyone, and every blog i've ever paid much attention to has noticed spikes and hard times for a variety of reasons. my only public web presence is photo-based and the stats never make any sense so i assume they're safe to ignore. do what you like (but i second the nomeansno request).

  13. Hi again jeffen, again I drop in as usual once in a while, and have some time to comment on your question.

    Facebook is definitely a phenomenon, as Brushback has said, although I don't reckon it will ever rival blogs.

    Your content is certainly not to blame - searching the web for Rezillos a while back turned up your blog, reminding me it was there.

    My guess is it is just a temporary blip, and with those visitor figures, I really wouldn't worry. Keep rocking! Cheers, Dave Sez.

  14. i don't rememeber where but i rerad something about that...because of the new Google search for pictures here in France

  15. Love this blog but gotta say, recently it's taking ages to load up on my computer (it might just be me). Anyone else having this problem? It used to load up mega quick

  16. I have to agree about the slowness of the page loading, but it's always worth waiting for. Certainly shouldn't be anything to do with the quality of the posts. Keep up the good work, Jeff.

  17. Loads slowly for me too, and always has ever since the beginning (meaning when I first started reading, whatever number of years ago). I think it's all the widgets and YouTube videos and what not. No big deal.

    Jeffen, it's certainly not the quality of your posts or the bands you're writing about, so please don't think that! It's also not because it's summer, otherwise we'd see this happen every year and would already be ready to accept it. Honestly, you're not the first person to point this out - I've discussed this with two other blog people recently, and it seems that everyone's traffic has just fallen off a cliff in the past two months. I wonder myself, if Google Reader actually registers as a "visit" when someone looks at a post on their scroll-down, but I try not to get all hung up on these things myself. Seriously, I think everyone just hangs out on Facebook all day now, and the Blogger platform just isn't interactive enough for them to bother with. On Blogger there's no "like" buttons and stuff where all your friends can see what you're reading and commenting on, and I guess that seems boring to most people. They're not getting enough attention just by reading a blog!

  18. Hey Jeffen

    I always check in every morning.I download selectively unless it is an artist I love.

    And MRML does load a little slowly because of the videos.I personally like the videos(unlike Fuzzy!).Maybe just supply links?

    Also I have been heavy into the new albums by Dave Alvin,Joe Ely,Garland Jeffreys,Matraca Berg,Gillian Welch etc.Kinda an alt country phase.

    Great photo of Art Bergmann by Alex Waterhouse-Hayward:

    And 'NHL Final' Theme Song:
    Kaiser Chiefs 'I Predict A Riot'



  19. Anon
    I did consider the hyper-focus I often commit (though of course it's that obsessiveness that justifies the title of the blog) but the one point that undermines that argument is that my two highest months ever were April (16 Rez/Rev-illos posts and March (17 Stranglers-related posts).

    I'd like to ask a more tech-savvy person's view on this: what constitutes "excruciatingly slow"? Page-loading time is not a huge issue for me but I know there are people who can tell the difference between, say Chrome and Firefox, so I'm just curious.
    I do really have to overhaul the page, I'll look into some page-loading issue this summer.

    P.S. Loved the The Dumb Fox and as for the The Magnificent I'd hear that song but hadn't seen the video - cool!

  20. Dave Sez
    Thanks for coming by and for the encouraging words- keep up all the great work at KYC.

    Yeah the numbers can`t overwhelm us - but I have to say Blogger stats are usually pretty consistent.

    P.S. More NoMeansNo coming...

    Yeah and Google went on a rampage against `content farms` which, despite MMRL not being one of those, may screw up statistics.

    I`ll be looking at this issue over the summer.

    thanks for the good words!

    ``everyone's traffic has just fallen off a cliff in the past two months.``

    As discouraging as that is, it is good to know that this drastic decline is not borne by me alone.

    Thanks for the good words about the blog. I actually wasn`t too worried about the quality, such as it is, having suffered - I mean this blog is what it is - a slow-loading, obsessive-compulsive cultural mish-mash - and that hasn`t changed much lo these past few years.

    I`m still thinking of doing a Facebook page...

    thanks for the regular visits (and comments) and as for `selective downloading` that only makes sense.I`ve always gone on the idea that even regular visitors only downlaod a fraction of the uploads available.

    IPAR is one of my fave songs of the last decade!

  21. Jeffen

    "Excruciatingly slow" = < 3 minutes.
    It was like 1997 all over again, but with video!

    I think I was using Firefox 3.6 or 4.1 when it was really slow.

    4.0 came out the last week in March and 4.1, the end of April.

    That might correlate with your blog drop?

    Since then, I was using the FF 5 Beta browser, until last night, when I switched to FF 5.0.

    Tonight, the main page took an average of 11 seconds to load for me, with 16 videos embedded.

    That is a definite improvement over the previous version of FF.

    I'm on a Mac, and there was something like this happening earlier this year for Mac users.

    It could be likely that peoples' machines are being overwhelmed by the sheer number of youtube cookies that would need to be deleted from the cache/history.

    - biopunk

  22. I love this blog and have no idea why traffic is down. Any of the musicians you post could tell you that, whatever the reason, popularity/traffic/sales are overrated. Great stuff. Thanks for the Billy Bragg.

  23. Not sure about the drop off, I'm here every few days. I haven't downloaded very much lately, I just haven't been all that interested in some of the bands. I do appreciate the research you put into your posts, it's gotten me to download a few things I would have passed on otherwise.

    I'm on a 1 year old iMac 3.3 GHz with basic cable modem, other sites load much slower than yours.

    Forget Facebook, I've been on it several months, I just don't understand the obsession. It's a real pain to find people sometimes. It might also alert the bootleg police.

  24. Any of you who are experiencing it as slow, are you connecting to YouTube on a HTTP or HTTPS connection?

    Some Macs using HTTPS are experiencing slowness when connecting with YouTube.

  25. There are so many great music blogs now that I usually find myself months behind in visiting even some of my top favorites, like MRML, which I think I last checked in on around three months ago. I'll be busy this weekend working my way backwards through the posts and will likely have to forget about downloading lots of things that I'd possibly enjoy but don't have the time to grab, unzip and then burn to CD/data DVD. For instance, the bounty of Billy Bragg that I see has been posted since I was last here... I might like to have it all, having been a fan since the release of "Talking With The Taxman About Poetry," but I'm just not going to have the time. Fact is, I can download only a fraction of the things that interest me on the music blogs that I try to keep up with... and I will also add that around 95% of the time I spend on the internet is devoted to music blogs... I don't mess with Facebook or Youtube or even read the news online. I probably spend more time downloading music right now than I do actually listening to music, just because there's so much available that I might never see again... better grab it now and save it for the day when I finally can enjoy it, which might be until I either retire or win the lotto. I'm also buying more music than ever -- I bought around 250 CDs over the past five or six weeks -- so I've got more than I can possibly listen to at the moment. But one day I hope to have heard it all...

    I guess I'm saying that I can only get here occasionally, and then have time to download only the most desirable things when I do visit... perhaps there are others like me. I do usually find something that I feel compelled to comment on with each visit, but I certainly don't leave a comment for everything I download... not even close. I appreciate everything you do here, even if I can't get to all of it.

    I'll agree with a few of the comments above... something's making the page load as slow as Christmas... probably all those embedded video clips. BTW, I rarely watch any of those myself, but I do know that some readers love them, so I certainly don't object to them.

  26. well i mean come on...Billy Bragg? And you seriously wonder why people aren't visiting the site? Give us something interesting to read about and worth downloading and I promise your numbers will improve...sorry. Otherwise thank you for all the time and energy you put into MRML.

  27. Bio
    That's shocking! I tried making some fixes -let me know how it went.

    Mr. Dave
    Glad you enjoyed the Bragg!

    Jerry Lee
    "I do appreciate the research you put into your posts, it's gotten me to download a few things I would have passed on otherwise. "

    Those are words that mean more than numbers.

    Thanks for the thought-out response, my favourite part was this idea:

    "I probably spend more time downloading music right now than I do actually listening to music, just because there's so much available that I might never see again... better grab it now and save it for the day when I finally can enjoy it, which might be until I either retire or win the lotto. "

    Bragg was my first post and has always been a ratings winner here before. And, you're welcome.


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