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Use Historical Visitor Data to Predict Successful Future Content

Using Woopra - March 10th, 2009 by .

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I was sitting back and examining some of my site’s statistics today in the brand new version of the Woopra client, which we’ll be releasing to you all very, very soon, when I realized that I was looking at some very valuable analytical data that might be worth sharing.

I’m not sure how many people have paid attention to the detail available on the LIVE tab of the Woopra client, but there are a couple of great ways to get valuable information out of that area.

First of all, there are several icons present just below the live map and above the list of visitors. Selecting those icons will display the visitors based on their various characteristics such as what Web browser they are using, or what page they are viewing.

Personally, my favorite is to group them by the page they are on. Now, earlier when I was watching a large number of visitors on the site I decided to see if there were differences which I could key in on that separated the popular content from the not so popular content. You see, I normally have a hard time determining in advance what will be a hit and what won’t.

So I was looking at a game that I posted on my site which also happens to have a fairly catchy title, “Bubble Shooter – The Most Addicting Game of All Time“. Most interestingly, when I was looking at the live visitors, I noticed that most of them were return visitors – some were very regular.

As you can see, one of these visitors has actually been back 116 times and has spent nearly 60 hours playing this game. One of these people had an average time on the page of almost 50 minutes! And notice that the final visitor in this example used a Google search for “one man’s blog bubble shooter” to come straight to the page.

Now this particular page generates, on average, well over 1,000 visitors per day. So the question is, why? (By the way, the screen shot below is part of the new Segmentation Analysis feature which lets us narrow in on a single page, referrer, or other variable.)

Unfortunately, Woopra can give me the information I need to track down and understand the frequency of visitors to the site, but after that we have to use our own common sense to learn from it. My suspicions about what make this post popular are as follows:

  • I picked some good keywords for the title. “Bubble Shooter” is obvious, in case people are looking for that. But also, the word “Game” is good. Clearly these help from an SEO perspective.
  • Even though the title has the keywords in it, it’s still pretty catchy. (And apparently very true as well!)
  • Games, at least good ones, seem to just be “sticky” in general. They probably get bookmarked, and in this case they are also specifically searched for on Google.
  • It’s not just games. I’ve noticed that some reference type pages on my site are also highly visited. So providing authoritative information such as tutorials can be attractive.

To me, the lessons from this exercise are fairly obvious.

  1. Clearly I could post some more games.
  2. I could try and better present links to related content on these highly visited pages to encourage visitors to check out more content.
  3. I can really try and focus more attention on writing content that I think is likely to be reference-able and authoritative for future blog posts.

If you are trying to attract more visitors to your own site, I’m going to recommend that you do some analyzing of your own popular pages, and work on putting up more attractive content like it. I’d love to hear your observations about these theories. And I’d enjoy even more hearing stories about what you’ve learned from using Woopra on your sites!

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