While the start of a new year is always the trigger for looking forward, one of my early January jobs here on the blog is to take a quick look back on the year just gone in terms of web traffic generated by the site. Here’s the traffic review for 2022.
As the two graphs below illustrate so starkly, the year just finished was one like no other in terms of the hit count on the blog. Traffic levels went through the proverbial roof in 2022, with annual page views rising 110% compared to 2021, which was at the time the busiest year for traffic to the blog.
The enormous surge in traffic during the year saw a number of records tumbling.
For the first time ever, the hit count for a single month – April last year – went over one million. The previous monthly high of 663,433 had stood since before Covid, having been recorded in July 2019.
On 24th April last year – the day we lost to Galway in Connacht – the daily count hit 98,089. This daily total was more than double the total for the previous daily high of 46,931 recorded on 1st July 2019.
The weekly high total also fell last year, with a new weekly high of 390,780 recorded in the week beginning 6th June, which was the one spanning the two rounds of qualifier games. That smashed the previous weekly high of 236,010 that was recorded the week of the All-Ireland final in September 2021.
In light of the huge rise in traffic in 2022, it follows that the cumulative traffic total since the blog’s inception back in 2007 has also seen a significant jump in the last year. Twelve months ago, cumulative hits were just under 25 million, now the total is a bit shy of 33 million, as the graph below illustrates.
Up and up again
Plotting the data and trotting out the numbers above was the easy bit. The harder question to answer is what might be driving the surge in traffic witnessed in 2022.
Over the course of the blog’s existence, this has been easy enough to explain, as traffic has tended to correlate closely enough with the team’s performance on the field. As the annual chart above shows, hits recorded took off like a rocket after 2011 and only began to dip when we crashed out of the Championship in the qualifiers in 2018. The long lay-off from football action due to Covid in 2020 also resulted in a significant drop in traffic that year.
What’s odd is that last year wasn’t a particularly good year for us on the field. With the split season, it was also a very condensed year from an inter-county perspective, with our involvement in the Championship over and done with before the end of June.
That means there must be something else at play. The only thing I can think of is the search engine functionality that was added to the results archive, thanks to Ultair’s great work on this, which was a Covid project that went live on the blog in March 2021. Every query made using the search engine function is recorded as a page view but maybe it wasn’t until last year that the resultant uplift in hits due to the new search functionality became visible.
I’m not even sure that this is the reason that traffic levels to the blog rocketed in the way they did in 2022 and I’ve no idea either if this level of traffic will be repeated in 2023. I guess the next traffic update, which I should be tapping out twelve months from now, will tell the tale there.