Hi. My name is Ben and I am a stats junkie.
[Here is the part where all of you are supposed to say collectively ... Hey, Ben ...]
It’s true. I can’t peel my eyes off the stats on chowtimes. I guess that is one of those things that keeps us going with the blog. We use a variety of tools to keep track of the traffic. Our primary ones are sitemeter, Feedjit, StatCounter and Google Analytics.
I like Feedjit because it is realtime and the sound it makes each time someone hits a page … ding-ding-ding-dong-dong-ding-ding … sweet music. LOL! Every time when furious dings emitted from the computer, we are alerted that something is up (most likely visits from our dear friend, Google bot).
Suanne loves statscounter but I hate it. She likes that because she likes to see what keywords that Google brings traffic to the site. I think I know why. You see Google brings more new readers to chowtimes via recipe posts than restaurant ones.
The Flagcounter is a pretty one but it is quite useless for us. This is located way at the bottom of the right-hand sidebar.
I think we had maxed the number of flags already because for the past six months there had not been any addition of countries. I think there are either 100 flags or 104 flags (so hard to count those tiny flags).
It goes with saying that most traffic is from Canada. Although a lot of the content in chowtimes are Canadian, the traffic from the US is pretty high too. So it is good to know that the reach of chowtimes does extend beyond the 49th parallel.
The UK and Australia took 3rd and 4th spot while Malaysia and Singapore was not far behind.
Of particular interest to us is China (2,924). There used to be … negligible traffic from that country languishing with 20 pages or so. Then a few months ago, the increase of traffic was encouraging. Yeah, if there is one country that we hope chowtimes gets know in, we want it to be China because of the potential growth.
Our favourite stats tracker is still the one that we had used from day one — sitemeter.
We love the simplicity. We track many stats but one what we took pains in growing is pageviews. I figure if there is one metrics that would provide the measurement “size”.
This stats gives us motivation to blog and grow chowtimes. It is just me … I want to see how far I can take the site.
It is great to see it growing. I remember it was just back in November last year when Mia Stainsby wrote a piece on chowtimes (newspaper article here). I was telling her that we were averaging 8,500 pageviews a day. A couple of months later, chowtimes was also featured on Fairchild TV’s Timeline documentary (see documentary here).
It goes without saying that the traffic skyrocketed for days. Since then it had stabilized at the 10,000 pageviews mark. To us this is a major milestone, achieving 10,000 pageviews a day is phenomenal. Actually we had not seen many Vancouver area blog with this level of traffic (checked against compete.com and alexa.com).
Oh I want to show you this. The above was the traffic that came to chowtimes at the very moment that the Fairchild TV program was shown. That show was broadcasted four times on TV. The first broadcast was in Toronto and we caught it on TV. We witnessed that 2 seconds right after the word “chowtimes.com” was flashed on the TV, Feedjit ding-ding-dong-dong went off the roof.
In the video above, you will see the moment starting at 1:20.
Three hours later, when the show was shown again in Vancouver we were ready to capture the video above. Let me tell you, this 2nd broadcast was nothing compared to the first one. In the first broadcast, there was 2-3 pageviews every second.
Hehehe … exciting times!
People asked us this question a lot: “How did you do it?”
Well, part of it is to create pages and posts that people can use and come back again and again to. If you see the top pages/posts of the past 6 days, you will notice a few pages that are not really posts.
The Chowtimes Blogroll was a great success. So it was worth the while building it and then maintaining it is so simple. Yet it brings in lots of traffic everyday. You see, many of our friends use this page as the launching pad for their daily dose of food porn. AYCE food porn — it is all there.
We tweaked our site to tightly integrate Google Search into chowtimes. This is done so that even when you perform a search, you don’t leave chowtimes.com at all. It was technically challenging for me doing this but it pays dividends. It also helps that chowtimes has amassed a big content base to search into. So chances of you looking for something you want using our search widget is not bad.
“All-Pokemon” is our latest star.
We publsihed the Cake-Ya post on February 17th. It took Google a few days to index this page and then starting on February 20th, it took off. For some reason, the “All-Pokemon” page was indexed Google Images as the #1 image for the “all pokemon” keyword and top 10 for the “pokemon” keyword.
So, yeah. These types of posts and pages are the staple pages on chowtimes which accounts for at least 10% of all hits.
People are beginning to tell me that it is getting too difficult to follow the discussions on chowtimes. on the average, there are 30-50 comments made each day. So following the comments are difficult.
I have no simple answer for now. In the near term, I am working on a way so that I can make chowtimes a forum but at the same time make sure it is essential a blog of “Ben and Suanne”. For sure we need a better way for everyone to follow the discussion in the same way like what you see on chowhound. It is tricky but I am sure I’ll get there.
But at the meantime, I want to call out two very small features that you might not have noticed. See the picture above. You can click on the “+” bottom (shows only when you hover your mouse over the comment) to expand on very long comments.
There is also a “Older »” link at the bottom of the comment sidebar. Clicking on that will show more (older) comments.
The other alternative is subscribe to the comments. You can subscribe to comments at the bottom of each post (see above).
I don’t really recommend this because you would likely end up feeling spammed by dozens of emails. The system delivers one email per comment made which is pretty dumb.
Yesterday, I had someone writing to me asking for a Chinese version of chowtimes. He was telling me that his mum wants to read our reviews but she doesn’t read English. Wow, that was interesting to know.
I guess the only way to read chowtimes in Chinese (or other languages) is to use the Google Translate feature (see above). I don’t know how the translations are but frankly I am not surprised if it is terrible and the translated texts might not make much sense. :-)
Has anyone used that? Is the translation OK?
Alright … thanks for listening. Excuse me while I go back and check the stats … oh wow, it is 10:30 AM and “All-Pokemon” pageviews are already 273 …
Hi … my name is Ben and I am a stats junkie …