We’re looking over some preliminary numbers for January and February of 2017, and the site is still growing. January set an all-time traffic record of 268,176 unique users, up 31.5% over January 2016 and up 10.2% over the previous month, December 2016. February with its 28 days fell a little shorter, 245,157 hits, up 12.9% from last year, and, as you can see, down 8.6% from January. (February with 28 days is about 9.7% shorter than January, so our average daily visitors increased slightly). Our record hit months, then, were January, October 2016, and February.
It is highly probable based on performance so far and our detailed history since 2014 (our stats for the first couple years are lousy) that we’ll not only break the 2.5 million hitcount that eluded us in 2016 by a few measly thousand, but break 3.0 million.
One caution: February’s numbers are partly estimated. This is due to a loss of statistics for about one and one half days as a result of a plug-in configuration error that broke some administrative access to our servers (pages were still served throughout). To make up conservatively for the lost traffic, we added 1/28 of our final February count (“an average day”) back in. This is a conservative figure because it is 1/28 and not 1/26.5 which would more nearly correspond to the actual stats outage. One hopes that we shan’t have to do that again, although we’re going to be poking numbers in through the end of the year; hopefully at 0000 1/1/18 we’ll zero the stats again.
During the month of February, we passed a significant milestone: over 60,000 approved comments since the founding of the blog on 1 January 2012. Several posts are drawing over 50 comments every week.
Our outreach to new audiences continues, with many of our stories being linked at Gab, which has brought in some new readers and commenters. If you’re unaware of Gab, this free-speech oriented Twitter replacement has a lot of advantages over the legacy platform, and several disadvantages:
- Doesn’t have “everybody” on it;
- Doesn’t have an IOS app, as Apple has banned the firm on political grounds (the founder is a conservative Christian, apparently anathema at 1 Infinite Loop).
- It currently is ideologically lopsided, given the fact that many ejected from Twitter over politics have shown up there.
The site is in an extended beta status, or an open-not-open mode. If you have difficulty signing up, we do have some invitations to give you; ask in the comments (include a link if you want the comment to be held in moderation and SAY SO if you don’t want us to release it when we send the invitation).
We have also promised to do some pieces for another firearms news site, but we’ve been buried with the site here, with work on the Czech Firearms books, and with life in the analog world. Believe me, when it happens, you guys will hear about it and it will be linked. WeaponsMan.com will remain our primary online output for the forseeable future; all this other stuff is just ways to reach more people (well, the books will be a way to get paid, too).