Happy New Year! A Look Back at 2009 for Playbsides.com

A recurring tradition for me is to recap the site statistics for playbsides.com with some commentary on the content that was seeing the most traffic for the site. I said it last year– but probably I’m the only person who really is interested in this information, but again, I’m going to do it for posterity sake.

February 21st, 2010 will be the fourth year of playbsides.com! The traffic to the site increased pretty dramatically over the last couple of years. Some of the new traffic is a result of my use of twitter and facebook to share new article posts. Some of it is that I happened to blog about some things that people were really interested in and I got some new inbound links. I also undertook a substantial site redesign and introduced the new “Play B-Sides” logo you see at the top of the page which was designed by the very cool guys at cottonfactory.com. Check out their “I Buy Vinyl” tee! I also got rid of the ineffective Google AdWords campaign that was doing very little and replaced it with a MOG campaign. The nice thing about MOG is that it is music-blog centric and there are some blogger bennies like free access to their MOG music streaming.

In 2009 I had 42,113 unique page views! This is over twice 2008’s 18,964 unique page views– a pretty good feat, I think, and showing that the crowd of viewers is steadily growing. When those 18,964 unique page views happened, folks spent an average of 2:27 minutes there, which is pretty good. Around 71% of those visits end up leaving the site, which is generally supported by the high number of search hits to the site– most people are only reading one article when they get here. This really isn’t surprising or revelatory.

The rundown of most popular articles are:

At #1 for the third year running is the home URL of http://www.playbsides.com which was visited 3,283 times. 1,077 of those visits came from someone entering the URL in a browser which is surprising. 917 of those visits came from google.com. The rest of the major hits came from facebook and other places where I use the URL of the site in an e-mail signature.

At #2 is my article comparing the Fender Baritone guitars— this is the third year running for this article #2. Obviously people find the article useful even though none of the guitars compared are still in production. An astonishing 3,018 hits to this article! 2,007 hits came from google with the rest of the hits coming from a number of guitar sites.

At #3 for the third year running is my article on the Fender Hard Tail Stratocaster. 2,324 hits on that article, with 1,758 views coming from google.

At #4 is yet another guitar article– this time it’s about my 2008 acquisition of one of a Guitar Center-exclusive Gibson Les Pauls. I’m assuming that there are a lot of people looking at getting these entry-level American Gibsons and are trying to find more information. In fact, I think that my article might be the only place where this information is collected. Gibson doesn’t have any information about this particular Les Paul. 2,173 views with 1,200 of those coming in via the google express. Interestingly, someone in October on the Portland Craigslist was linking to the article which drove 60 views on 10/11.

At #4 is a 2009 article about David Sylvian’s new album Manafon at 1,828 hits– 1,145 of which came from google. Whew! I was getting worried that I wasn’t creating any new content of interest! Still– what kind of article can topple my guitar ones? Maybe I need to just write guitar reviews– Fender, Gibson, Taylor, et al– feel free to contact me about where to send guitars for me to review.

At #5 is a 2009 article about one of Ryan Adam’s digital download releases under his PaxAm label. 1,439 page views on that one. Ryan mysteriously stopped releasing these previously-unreleased gems. There was a lot of chatter about it and interest. He even pressed a 7″ single with a promise of some more physical and digital releases. I hope that Mandy can talk him into doing more releases!

What will 2010 bring? Well, I’m hoping for more opportunities for interviews and concert reviews. I’ve got a couple of things starting to solidify already and I’m pretty jazzed about it, so I hope it pans out. Stay tuned, gentle reader!

Happy New Year – A Look Back at 2008 for Playbsides.com

Last year at this time, I provided a year-end wrap up which included a breakdown of the statistics for playbsides.com. I’m fairly certain that I’m the only one who really is interested in this information, but still I want to capture it for posterity, if nothing else.

February 21st will be the third year for playbsides.com which is a feat in of itself I think.  Most of the “big” music blogs have been around for this long or longer, so that is pretty cool. I’m not sure how many people are regular readers– I have a handful that follow my site via RSS feed, but most folks come here via search engine by a large margin. Considering how many articles I’ve amassed here, it stands to reason that this will continue to be the norm.

2008 was a pretty big year for the website it seems. In 2007 we had 9,469 unique hits. We seemed to gain some very dramatic growth as we had 18,964  visits, with 16,651 of them being absolute unique visits accounting for 27,663 pageviews. The average visitor looked at 1.46 pages while they stopped by. I’d say this is supported by the fact that most of my traffic (66.42%) comes from search engines, so the average visitor would only be interested in the one article that was pertinent to the search result.

Speaking of search engines, google.com is still the top driver of traffic at 11,611 visits accounting for 61% of my overall traffic. My top keywords are “fender baritone” which is up from last year’s #2 position. Apparently people are very interested in that rather obscure guitar. At #2  is “Lindsey Buckingham Gift of Screws” amusingly enough. I have a handful of articles I’ve written over the last couple of years while Lindsey prepared that album and the prior Under the Skin which had a shared history in an unreleased album. Down to the #3 position from last year’s #1 is “play b.” Interestingly (and I say that understanding that you’ve bothered to read this far) the next five keywords were all variations on searching for the Fender Baritone guitars.

The top articles for 2008 were:

The homepage got 4,629 pageviews with 3,932 unique views. These stats are very similar to last year.

The second highest read article is not surprisingly the article on the Fender Baritone Jaguar at 2,429 unique pageviews– up from last year’s 1,754. The funny thing about this is that I seriously considered not selling this guitar last year just because of how popular this article is.

At number three is the article about the discontinued Fender Stratocaster Hard Tail at 2,156 unique page views.

At number four is the article I kept up-to-date providing the links to the freely-downloadable tracks for the new Pretenders album Break Up The Concrete at 1,414 unique page views. The popularity of this page is a testament of the power of mp3 crawlers like elbo.ws.  These mp3’s were “unveiled” once a week until the release of the album. The reason this article was popular was that no one else was keeping track of the prior-week’s downloads. A comment I would make is that most of the “internet PR” people don’t really understand how the Internet is used related to finding information and a lot of the neat opportunities for promotion are missed based on short-sighted planning like this.

In the third year of this blog I think I learned a lot about what kind of content is the stuff that people are interested in reading, and certainly what content is read most. As I look back on the year there were a lot of really interesting developments in the music industry and in some respects 2008 was sort of a turning point for the industry where it was taught some lessons– if not learned them. With news of the RIAA changing its tactics in prosecuting copyright violators one would hope that the approach to the music consumers would be one where the music industry would be more about getting the music to the fans in a format that they want than it is about holding on to old practices and ideas surrounding ownership. 2009 brings a US President that is a first in many important respects, but is also a President I think that represents the population more accurately when it comes to technology use– he was an avid Blackberry user, apparently he has a Zune (for whatever that means). His campaign was grassroots, but arguably won via a successful Internet campaign that he seemed to be very involved in orchestrating. Whether or not you agree with his positions on the political topics, he certainly is more like the people reading blogs like mine than the competing candidate was in my opinion. What this means for the country is anyone’s guess at this point, but I’m hopeful that we see more reasonable legislation when it comes to matters of intellectual property, copyrights and patents and social parity when it comes to availbility of technology and information.

What does 2009 mean to playbsides.com? Well, it probably means a site update. In a couple of weeks (or sooner) I’ll be introducing a new logo for the site– replacing or re-engineering the long-standing 45s picture above. I’ll continue to try to bring reviews of decent music– most of it will continue to be the somewhat obscure music I listen to– this is largely a factor of the major labels and now, large independent labels ignoring my very important, taste influencing, insanely great site– but really how many Radiohead and Death Cab reviews does the Internet need? 2009 will bring more of my “B-Sides in the Bins” articles, of course, as I plot my course to certain LP storage failure…

As always, thanks for stopping by and support your independent record retailer.