Happy New Year to the members and readers of the 1715 Fleet Society!
2022 was a historic year for the 1715 Fleet Society, and Ben asked me to write a post detailing just how well the website has been performing and how this year’s performance compares to previous years. We’ve got tables of data, charts, and so much more. So grab a snack and get ready for some great Fleet Society web data!
Before I dive into 2022, I want to discuss the different benchmarks we measure. There is no single metric that can tell you the health of a website on the whole, but there are a few that, when taken together, can give you a good picture of the stability and success of a site. Typically we look at the following metrics:
Users – this is the number of people who visit the site. If you visit the site from the same IP address on multiple days, we’ll still count you as one user. That is called being a unique user.
Sessions – most people sit down at their computer and search and read for a while. Some might browse the web for 20 minutes, while others browse for 3 hours. A single visit to our website will count as one session, regardless of whether that session lasts 1 minute or 200 minutes. If a user visits our site, browses for a half hour, then shuts the computer off and comes back a few hours later – that would be sessions.
Pageviews – every time someone views a page, the pageview count increases by 1. One user will typically view multiple pages. For example, a user visits the home page, the news page, reads a blog, and then goes to the membership page. That would be 4 pageviews for that single user in just one session.
Historical Web Metrics for the Fleet Society
In 2015, the Fleet Society had its best year ever, with 66,269 total pageviews. That was the year the society held its 300th Anniversary Conference, and activity and engagement were incredibly high that year. Before the Anniversary and Immediately after, readership was normalized at around 3,000 pageviews per month or 30,000 – 36,000 pageviews per year. What’s important to keep in mind is that 2015 traffic was driven by conference updates, emails, and other Fleet Society Communication. We reached out to you, and you responded by reading the site, joining as a member, and interacting with new coin posts. That kind of traffic is direct traffic, which is good to have, but it requires an action for a reaction. We email you – you respond by viewing the site.
Contrast that with organic traffic, which is the kind of traffic you get when a reader searches for a keyword on a place like Google.com. They are presented with a page of search results, and then they choose to visit the link that most closely matches their search.
For instance, check the three images below. The first image shows a generic search for the keywords “1715 Fleet” for which someone might search normally looking for content related to the 1715 treasure fleet. Wikipedia is the top search right now, and a good number of the remaining searches are for the Society website. That means there is a high likelihood someone will click on our site from this kind of search.
Searching more specifically for “1715 Fleet Society,” the organization’s full name yields a direct hit, top spot, and most of the entire first page, as shown in the image below. Under that top hit are what Google calls “Rich Snippets” which show popular subpages of our site based on what Google knows people view on a regular basis. Google tries to make it easy on people to click on those links right from there search.
The final image below shows a search for the keywords “1715 Fleet” a more general search. But this time, we’re looking at Google’s image results. Nearly ALL the images are from our site. You’d get similar results if you searched for “1715 gold coins” or other variations of the words 1715 + Gold + Coins.
The Importance of Organic Traffic
Why is organic traffic important? We don’t want traffic that comes only when we ask for it in an email. We want traffic to come from people searching for these things normally, from people who want to learn more about the fleet and its history. That kind of traffic is organic traffic, and it has been increasing by nearly 20% per year since 2015. Increased searches increases organic traffic, and that is what we’ve experienced over the years.
This kind of traffic helps promulgate information about the Society around the globe, shows our content to new readers, and creates interest in the topic. That’s how a membership site such as ours grows and how we can teach thousands more people about the history of the Fleet, its loss, rediscovery, and recovery.
Let’s look at a table of some metrics between 2015 and 2022; and compare the number of posts on the site each year with a few other critical web metrics, including Users, Sessions, and Pageviews.
The table above shows the past five years of web metrics, in addition to 2015 as a comparison year.
1715 Fleet Society Website Metrics Since 2018
Now, let’s take a look at a chart for those who like to view things more graphically.
The blue bars in the chart above are the number of posts published that year, ranging from 53 in 2018 to 128 in 2022. The red line is the number of users, the yellow line is the number of sessions, and the green line on top is the number of total pageviews.
Since 2018, web traffic has increased 96%. That means web traffic to the Fleet Society website has nearly doubled in the last five years. Our search rankings have consistently increased as well, with most of our main keywords appearing on the front page of Google and other search engines, and, as shown with our images above, the entire first few pages of google and other search engines are almost completely filled with Fleet Society imagery.
Google gives us credit for being around a long time, but it can tell when people repeatedly come back to the site, when they share images and articles, etc. So our traffic increases because of that – Google is showing our site to more people because it has “authority” and is well respected. When people search for keywords related to the 1715 treasure fleet, among other keywords, Google knows this and shows them our site. This means we will capture a greater share of the traffic for our keyword searches, and we should expect this trend to continue as long as the site remains active and engaging.
Now, back to 2022.
In 2022, we experienced a total of 66,347 total pageviews from 21,813 users. That is the new high watermark for the site, eclipsing 2015’s pageview total of 66,269 and nearly doubling the number of unique users that visited the site in 2015.
Where did all this traffic come from? You, the members, readers, scholars, students, and the public. More than 21,000 people visited the Fleet Society website in 2022, that’s a 19% increase year-over-year.
The most popular pages on the site in 2022 are pages you will be familiar with – they’re our longer introductory posts that explain the history of the fleet in amazing detail. They’re also collections of 1715 gold coins, 1715 silver coins, and pictures of other treasures.
- History of the 1715 Fleet
- 1715 Fleet Research Collection
- 1715 Fleet Gold Coins
- John de Bry Collection
- The 1715 Fleet Society Newsletter Archive
- Treasure from the State of Florida Collection
What’s in Store for the 1715 Fleet Society in 2023
As we move into 2023, we’re planning a big site update with forums for members to post updates, discuss topics, and chat internally on this site. This will be a members-only feature.
The 1715 leet Society now boasts more than 4,000 images and other media on its site. This content is perfect for certain social media networks that encourage the exchange of such images and other scholarly info. In particular, Twitter and Instagram are two sites we’ll be exploring early in 2023. Coin images on Twitter and Instagram get literally millions of hits each year. The 1715 Fleet Society has the best images in the world related to 1715 Fleet coins, and sharing that content on social streams will help us reach an even bigger audience.
If you’d like more information about the web metrics from 2022, or any other year, leave a comment on this post or send a note to one of the directors, and we’ll reach out via email. 2023 is going to be an exciting year, and we’re thankful you’ll be there with us!
Craig Grella, 1715 Fleet Society Website Admin