Libcom traffic analysis 2016

Cat using a smartphone

An overview of visits to libcom.org over the past year.

Traffic

Traffic remains high at around a quarter of a million visits per month. However visitors have continued to decline since 2014, which we will examine in more detail below.

Average monthly visits (annual change)
2009 - 130,585
2010 - 145,176 (+11%)
2011 - 207,856 (+43%)
2012 - 188,239 (-10%)
2013 - 197,845 (+5%)
2014 - 286,813 (+45%)
2015 - 275,727 (-4%)
2016 - 245,532 (-11%)

Average monthly unique visitors
2009 - 88,731
2010 - 95,862 (+8%)
2011 - 131,108 (+37%)
2012 - 121,401 (-8%)
2013 - 129,762 (+7%)
2014 - 204,179 (+57%)
2015 - 193,162 (-5%)
2016 - 169, 354 (-12%)

Average monthly page views
2009 - 399,156
2010 - 425,007 (+6.5%)
2011 - 594,372 (+40%)
2012 - 461,677 (-23%)
2013 - 390,072 (-15%)
2014 - 539,093 (+38%)
2015 - 518,883 (-4%)
2016 - 437, 900 (-16%)

Most of our traffic comes from search engines, so most visits to old content we have little control over: it depends on who is searching for what type of subject. Visits to our history and library sections are down 5-10% on last year, which mostly reflects a dip in people arriving from search engines. However there is a much bigger drop to the news and blog sections - 20% and 30% respectively - which is basically the result of a drop in content being posted to those areas.

Around 2014 we had a big push to get bloggers and encourage people to write content. We had 278 blogs published in that year. But since then we haven’t proactively sought out new bloggers while some of bloggers have slowed down or stop posting, so we only had 130 blogs published this year. So with a 53% drop in new content, a 30% drop in traffic is not too bad. However it is a sign that we do need to proactively go out and seek new contributors and commission new content. Especially with a big redesign going on behind the scenes we don’t have the capacity to do this at present so if this is something you would be interested in helping us out with please drop us a line or let us know in the comments below.

Traffic sources
The biggest referring sites (excluding search engines) last year were, in descending order, with annual change in brackets:
Facebook (+%26)
Twitter (=)
Reddit.com (-20%)
Wikipedia (+4%)
tyreebp.com (+100%)
tumblr (?1)
StumbleUpon.com (?)

So despite predictions that Facebook had peaked and was beginning to decline, we continue to get more and more traffic from it. This may be partly due to the success of our working class history page, but more likely is that while personal content like photos and statuses on Facebook have declined, more and more people are using it to share third-party news and information. You can see the fear this is causing in a mainstream news organisations with the current hysteria over “fake news”, as in many ways Facebook currently gives a level playing field between corporate and independent media sources. Although it appears that the mass media pressure about “fake news” may force them to start changing this.

Technology
The trend of the decline in desktop browsing, and increase in mobile browsing has continued, with mobile browsing now making up a third of all traffic: up from just 2% in 2010. This is added incentive for us to sort out our redesign of the site, which primarily will be to make it easier to browse and use on mobile devices.

Year Desktop Mobile Tablet
2010 98% 2% 0%
2011 96% 4% 0%
2012 91% 7% 2%
2013 84% 12% 5%
2014 71% 21% 8%
2015 65% 27% 8%
2016 60% 33% 7%

Content

While it has been a slow year for our news and blogs sections, there has been a huge amount of new content posted to our library and history sections, swelling our archive to over 20,000 texts for the first time. This year much of it has been original writing or materials freshly digitised by us and our users, including lots of historical American anarchist publications, purchased and scanned by us with donations from our users.

We intend to step up our digitisation of historical materials, and want to build or develop links with physical archives like the Kate Sharpley Library in California, Sparrow’s Nest in Nottingham, CIRA in Switzerland and others to share materials and donations and get more stuff online to preserve it and enable it to be more widely viewed. We also want to more actively seek donations of physical texts to digitise, and build up a network of people who can help scan donated content. However we are very busy maintaining the site and working on the redesign, so if anyone would be able to help with this please send us an email or let us know in the comments below.

New articles per year
2004: 75
2005: 1867
2006: 1991
2007: 1225
2008: 1017
2009: 1558
2010: 1896
2011: 2167
2012: 2630
2013: 2312
2014: 1619
2015: 1174
2016: 2049

Number of users who have posted articles per year:
2004: 14
2005: 67
2006: 70
2007: 73
2008: 158
2009: 133
2010: 180
2011: 199
2012: 202
2013: 187
2014: 170
2015: 134
2016: 133

Total number of users who have ever posted articles
2010: 380
2011: 481
2012: 586
2013: 662
2014: 708
2015: 758
2016: 800

Total articles:
2004: 2252
2005: 2327
2006: 4914
2007: 6185
2008: 7410
2009: 8427
2010: 9985
2011: 11881
2012: 14511
2013: 16814
2014: 18259
2015: 19531
2016: 21546

User comments posted per year:
2004: 11267
2005: 42210
2006: 80823
2007: 98942
2008: 59144
2009: 45728
2010: 48802
2011: 46361
2012: 42199
2013: 23687
2014: 18457
2015: 20193
2016: 18619

Total comments:
2011: 433663
2012: 450780
2013: 499099
2014: 517995
2015: 538130
2016: 556621

Total users who've ever posted one or more comments:
2010: 3765
2011: 4533
2012: 5604
2013: 6554
2014: 6919
2015: 7351
2016: 7948

Social networking

Facebook likes
2010: ~1000
2011: 4373 (+337%)
2012: 10151 (+132%)
2013: 16950 (+67%)
2014: 26355 (+55%) + 6340 working class history
2015: 30419 (+15%) +20632 working class history (+225%) +364 histoire de lutte
2016: 36154 (+19%) +67711 working class history (+228%) +1686 histoire de lutte (+363%)

Twitter followers
2010: ~800
2011: 2050 (+156%)
2012: 5236 (+155%)
2013: 9951 (+90%)
2014: 13400 (+35%) +270 @wrkclasshistory
2015: 16909 (+26%) +5217 @wrkclasshistory (+1832%)
2016: 20000 (+18%) +6892 @wrkclasshistory (+32%)

The future

Key things we want to do are: sort out the redesign, get more current affairs-related content like blogs and get more old materials put online.

We are a tiny, all-volunteer collective, who also have to spend most of our time just helping the site tick over: stopping spam, fixing errors, sorting out tags and moderating discussions.

So if you could help out in any of the above areas please do drop us a line (by emailing us at libcom.org at gmail.com) or let us know in the comments below as it would be very much appreciated: and you can be part of a project which has millions of readers every year.

Longer term we would like to have much more multimedia content like audiobooks, podcasts and video, so if this is something you would be interested in helping with as well please let us know.

Due to the fall in the value of the pound following the Brexit vote, our hosting costs are due to increase by 20% in the New Year , so if you could give us a regular donation, or a one-off donation it would be very helpful.

As every year, we would like to thank everyone who has posted here, donated to us or Liked or shared our content on social media. And in particular everyone who has contributed content, particularly our regular contributors and bloggers.

Any questions about any of this information feel free to ask below.

Happy New Year everyone!

  • 1. For tumblr and StumbleUpon the way referrals have counted have changed so we cannot compare with previous years

Comments

Reddebrek
Dec 28 2016 13:52

Interesting, one thing I'm curious about is how popular the site is in other languages, do you have any data for that?

RobberBurns88
Dec 28 2016 13:55

Spirit of Revolt in Glasgow is also a good anarchist archive.

Steven.
Dec 28 2016 14:57
Reddebrek wrote:
Interesting, one thing I'm curious about is how popular the site is in other languages, do you have any data for that?

unfortunately it's not possible for us to check foreign language stuff in general, as we can only look at traffic by URL, so we can compare everything with "/library" to "/blog", but foreign language stuff has no common part of a URL. Looking at a couple of individual pages though I can see that the Esperanto index has had 76 views in the last year, up from about 4 the previous year, and randomly looking at a couple of individual Esperanto articles they have been viewed on average about 20 times per year. Looking at other languages, tag indexes get viewed about 100-200 times a year, and lots of articles seem to get read an average of around 60 times per year. But then averages don't really say that much, plenty of English articles may have a pretty low number of clicks per read but others get tens of thousand a year so without looking through the whole list we don't really know.

With the redesign of the site we want to organise foreign language content a lot better, and make it easier to browse the site in different languages, so hopefully that will lead to an increase in traffic to those pages

Steven.
Dec 28 2016 21:07
RobberBurns88 wrote:
Spirit of Revolt in Glasgow is also a good anarchist archive.

do they have physical materials there? If you know anyone there who might be interested in working together to digitise stuff please have a chat to them and ask them to drop us a line

eugene
Dec 29 2016 05:58

The Working-Class History bit is one of the smartest projects out there and I'm curious how much labor goes into it (i.e. a lot of work at first and then self-sustaining or continually labor intensive)?

With the large spikes in both 2011 and 2014, I imagine that it directly corresponds with historical events, the Arab Spring in 2011 and the events of Ukraine in 2014. I also imagine it has something to do with all the work you all did in finding local accounts of what was going on. For example, I think alot of folks first learned about the reality of Ukraine on libcom, while most outlets where still mesmerized by the riot porn.

On a final note, are you all looking for specific content to be digitized or is libcom up for people uploading a range of material ( albeit with in reason)?

klas batalo
Dec 30 2016 01:48

2011 was also the start of Occupy and 2014 was the start of Black Lives Matter

jesuithitsquad
Dec 31 2016 07:24

Always appreciate when you all collate and share this info. It's always interesting to read.

One off-topic bit-- I'm curious about the use of quotation marks around the phrase fake news. I mean, its impact has undoubtedly been exaggerated to a certain extent, but its existence and growing impact is pretty indisputable, isn't it? The new trend is right wingers calling all mainstream news fake news. Seeing it in quotations here caught my eye and thought I'd ask about it.

Steven.
Jan 3 2017 11:19
jesuithitsquad wrote:

One off-topic bit-- I'm curious about the use of quotation marks around the phrase fake news. I mean, its impact has undoubtedly been exaggerated to a certain extent, but its existence and growing impact is pretty indisputable, isn't it? The new trend is right wingers calling all mainstream news fake news. Seeing it in quotations here caught my eye and thought I'd ask about it.

Yeah I would agree that fake news, which is entirely fake, is a pretty significant and growing phenomenon, however what the mainstream media is upset about is not just "fake" news but more that independent sources can rival them more effectively than in the past.

Also I think in general fake news is nothing new, there are whole magazines/newspapers full of fake news, like the National Enquirer or the Sport in the UK, but these have never been seen as a big deal. I suppose a key difference is that they mostly steer away from politics, whereas the biggest fake news sites cater for Trump supporters

Steven.
Jan 3 2017 11:23
eugene wrote:
The Working-Class History bit is one of the smartest projects out there and I'm curious how much labor goes into it (i.e. a lot of work at first and then self-sustaining or continually labor intensive)?

Thanks very much!

Yeah the biggest piece of work was at the beginning, however it is ongoing work to make sure stuff is posted every day and to find new bits of history, and to moderate comments. We would like to make it bigger, and post more new history stuff in addition to the "On this day…" bits but it's basically just me doing it at present and I don't have time to do more, so any help with it would be appreciated.

Quote:

With the large spikes in both 2011 and 2014, I imagine that it directly corresponds with historical events, the Arab Spring in 2011 and the events of Ukraine in 2014. I also imagine it has something to do with all the work you all did in finding local accounts of what was going on. For example, I think alot of folks first learned about the reality of Ukraine on libcom, while most outlets where still mesmerized by the riot porn.

yeah definitely our traffic goes up depending on what is going on in the world, and there haven't really been equivalent movements in 2015/16 so that will have an impact.

Quote:
On a final note, are you all looking for specific content to be digitized or is libcom up for people uploading a range of material ( albeit with in reason)?

Yeah basically we want to have everything which would be of interest to libertarian communists or the workers' movement in general. The vast majority of our content is generated by our users, so yes we definitely want people to post up more stuff! Why do you have anything which you think might be good?

Dan Radnika
Jan 5 2017 22:20

"Number of users who have posted articles per year:
2016: 133"

Hmmm, I have to say I thought that there would be more people posting stuff!

Steven.
Jan 5 2017 23:08
Dan Radnika wrote:
"Number of users who have posted articles per year:
2016: 133"

Hmmm, I have to say I thought that there would be more people posting stuff!

TBH I was surprised it was that high. We don't have that many people actively contributing content so we really value everyone who does, such as yourself. So yes other people please do post more. Get those old leaflets from the 80s out of a box, and get your smartphone and get digitising/posting them up!

Dan Radnika
Jan 7 2017 21:56

And where are us sad weirdoes... Err, I mean committed revolutionists located? Are we all in the UK and a few in the US, or are we a bit more cosmopolitan than that?

Steven.
Jan 8 2017 17:46
Dan Radnika wrote:
And where are us sad weirdoes... Err, I mean committed revolutionists located? Are we all in the UK and a few in the US, or are we a bit more cosmopolitan than that?

we don't really have an easy way of analysing that, and some contributors we don't know where they are based. But just from recollection I know we have regular contributors in the US and UK predominantly, with others in Holland, Poland, South Africa, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Turkish Kurdistan and others.