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Author Topic: Two million page views. A hundred thousand users. The Coffee Shop  (Read 555 times)
grahame
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« on: May 20, 2018, 09:40:35 am »

Sunday 21st May 2017 to Saturday 19th May 2018 - 52 week, i.e. 364 days

Google Analytic results for the Coffee Shop's domain











I find this sort of data fascinating and informative; there are some lessons / conclusions I draw, but in this first post in this set I'll leave it to members to see what they spot first.
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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2018, 09:51:40 am »

I'm affraid its all  goblededook to me.  I just design safety critical signalling schemes.... Roll Eyes Cheesy
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Timmer
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2018, 11:54:28 am »

My observation is few use awful IE and Firefox anymore.
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Surrey 455
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2018, 12:00:10 pm »

The vast majority of readers are new to this site? Really?
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2018, 12:25:39 pm »

The vast majority of readers are new to this site? Really?

I question Google Analytic's view of "new" ... for a start, I suspect a "user" is in reality a user on a particular device, so if a user accesses with several devices they'll get counted multiple times, and when they upgrade (or clear their Google cookies) they'll come in as new again.  As a guestimate, I would suggest between 70000 and 80000 real people reading from the site.

Majority of readers "new" within the year - yes.   But the majority of page reads by existing users.   

We have a very large number of arrivals from people who have not been here before and are looking for specific information, many of them arriving from Google searches, and others via links from such Facebook pages as TransWilts and TravelWatch SouthWest.    Comparing two recent posts on the TransWilts board, both of which have not been followed up:
Leave your car at home - Public Transport Options from Melksham to Other Towns: 1087 views since 14th May
The importance of connections v the importance of other criteria at engineering: 106 views since 7th May
The difference being that the first of those got a link from a popular Facebook page - and that (alone) could count for 1% of the new users for the whole year!
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ellendune
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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2018, 06:05:15 pm »

My observation is few use awful IE and Firefox anymore.

Yes but Edge is used even less than IE which is not where Microsoft wanted to be!
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stuving
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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2018, 06:23:46 pm »

My observation is few use awful IE and Firefox anymore.

I think (though others will know much more than I do about this) what you are seeing is the rise of the small-screen device. These now produce more than half of page requests, and for this forum maybe a lot more.

Chrome and Safari run on both multi-window and phone/tablet systems*, hence their big scores. Firefox and the two Microsoft offerings for MS Windows split most of the rest of that market between them. On Android, only Chrome has a big general user base and the rest are makers' own-label ones.

Are there any non-human requests in those totals, or are they all detected and removed? They have reasons - good and dodgy - to present themselves as common browsers.

* Do we really not have clear labels for these two things? "Desktop" vs. "phone" isn't the issue, it's the multi-window vs single-window screen interface and the OS choice to go with it.
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2018, 06:36:00 pm »

Are there any non-human requests in those totals, or are they all detected and removed? They have reasons - good and dodgy - to present themselves as common browsers.

I think the vast majority are detected and removed.  The way Google Analytics works is that the Browser runs a piece of Javascript and does a callback to Google, so even if the robot browser claims to be Safari, if it doesn't behave like Safari it won't be believed.

Note that 92% of our visits are from the UK ... and I would expect none-human visitors to be worldwide. That provides me with something of a re-assurance cushion too ... and indeed look at the "Cities" where people are visiting from. 
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Sixty3Closure
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« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2018, 12:04:16 am »

If its not a personal question how is the coffee shop funded? Another site which is a great resource made an appeal for funding which made me think about this site. It seems the more successful you are in terms of hits then the greater the funding required. It does feel that nowadays we expect everything to be free on the internet.

I worked with a (younger) journalist recently who tried to tell me that if it was on the internet it was free and there was no copyright issue for reuse. That's a whole new thread but it did highlight how many (possibly younger) people view the web.
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grahame
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« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2018, 05:00:35 am »

If its not a personal question how is the coffee shop funded? Another site which is a great resource made an appeal for funding which made me think about this site. It seems the more successful you are in terms of hits then the greater the funding required. It does feel that nowadays we expect everything to be free on the internet.

I worked with a (younger) journalist recently who tried to tell me that if it was on the internet it was free and there was no copyright issue for reuse. That's a whole new thread but it did highlight how many (possibly younger) people view the web.

The biggest resource here is the time put in by everyone who contributes their time to the site, and whilst there's no "please pay" it works the other way too - no-one is paid.  The time and effort put in by the admins and the moderators is incredible; without them, the site could not and would not be.  And the individual members too are incredible. There are no paid or sponsored articles here, there is no advertising - it is truly freely given time.  Talk in the community rail world is of a 4.2 times return on investment using volunteers; I may have phrased that badly, but it means that each pound spent there is a return that would be worth 4.20 if the tasks were undertaken by paid staff / contractors.  Here on the coffee shop, the return is infinite.  It's incredible.

Yesterday, I was at the RailFuture conference in Carlisle. I'll estimate there were some 60 people there.  And I would venture to suggest that most if not all of them were there of their own free will, and without payment of any costs they had in getting there.   And people who do things as a hobby / "for fun" if you like have their own hobby costs to pick up. I'm minded of those garden railways you see, of the models at trade shows, where it's the people putting the hard graft in who are actually paying for the pleasure too in their purchases of materials and models and paying again with their time - because they enjoy it.   There is a parallel here - from the railway modelling resource to the Coffee Shop.

Now - we do run on a server that has to be paid for somehow, and we do need some technical support and admin.  Continuing the parallel it is, I suppose, it's my garden that's hosting the railway. The bottom of every explains
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This forum is provided by a customer of Great Western Railway (formerly First Great Western), and the views expressed are those of the individual posters concerned. Visit www.gwr.com for the official Great Western Railway website. Please contact the administrators of this site if you feel that the content provided by one of our posters contravenes our posting rules (email link). Forum hosted by Well House Consultants
and in a very few words that summarises it.

My main professional job has been as a trainer in the IT business; I've had to ramp down somewhat over the past couple of years - "no longer as young as I used to be", but I'm still on the go from time to time.   I happen to be in Scotland working for some of this coming week, and it's no skin of anyone's nose for me to travel up on Friday evening rather than on Sunday evening and stop off for the conference - the rail fare off peak wasn't too bad, I have an Old Codger's card that gives me 34% off,  I know a little about some ticketing approaches that allow me to travel on some of the better deals around.  And I stayed last night (and am writing from) an out of fashion old accommodation where I can get 2 nights for the price I would pay for one at the sort of hotel where my hosts in Scotland would expect me to book myself in.  Others on the moderator / admin team also travel / have travelled widely in the course of their other roles and their experiences for the forum also come very much as a planned side effect of their other interests. And I am hugely grateful for that.

The IT and training business has also meant that I / we ("Well House Consultants" is my family company) have dedicated web server resources. The Coffee Shop - when it started - was just a tiny bit of spare space on a server. The domain was registered for the first year for a tenner, and Lee and I (who set the thing up) saw it as a shorter term project.  Well - I think we did; I'm sure Lee will correct me if he foresaw where we have gone.   And the forum remains on the same architecture; we moved the business server to a newer and lower cost machine, and indeed our second server has moved from physical to cloud now.  The Coffee Shop traffic has ramped up such that it's now neck and neck with the traffic that was originally intended for the server. I've just done a very crude access count for a recent day and by domain it shows (page requests, domain name over 24 hours):
Code:
    2725 www.twcrp.org.uk
     696 www.wellhousemanor.co.uk
      55 melkshamremembers.org.uk
      60 sewweb.info
      82 www.chs73.info
     328 twhc.org.uk
   85092 firstgreatwestern.info
     211 option247.uk
      23 grahamellis.co.uk
      95 melksh.am
       6 www.melkshamwell.org.uk
      80 mrug.org.uk
    1211 www.melkshamchamber.org.uk
    1157 www.savethetrain.org.uk
      38 mbug.uk
       1 fiab.wellho.net
      24 sheepbingo.co.uk
      18 train.fyi
   66335 www.wellho.net
And as well as volumes I keep an eye on server loading - see http://melksh.am/3027 for more about this if you really want to know  Grin

So - that's where the web space comes from.  The forum software is free to use / open source, and the server admin is stuff I would be doing anyway, though the forum site is far more dynamic than anything else on the server and these days drives the backup regime.  The server admin stuff and general server operation is something I need to know / tech / do as part of my day job, so is good practise. The Easter server crash was an interesting exercise in making sure that I still remember how to do this sort of thing.

I suspect you'll not find a huge amount different on Railchat, Wnxx and other forums with regards their setups; they may take some paid advertising, they may have a scheme of membership fees to buy into parts of the site / resource, but there is an awful lot of dedication from the admin and moderator teams there, and one or two really immersed individuals with a strong IT knowledge to sort stuff out / who are used to keeping sane when there is a crisis; one or two members may have been at the TWSW meeting on Friday and noted I tend to get chucked the odd pending crisis to help avert it.  But then another of our admin team was there and he could have done just as well.

I am a scientist.   I have given you a direct and full answer, but stayed away from questions you might wonder about but not be asking. Such as looking forward to the future of the forum and the model we have.  I did cover this at the forum meeting in January where it was of little interest compared to the GW franchise consultation - I expect someone might be able to dredge out what I said.  The software is ancient and very hard to upgrade while retaining the active database - a problem brought on by what was expected to be a 2 week project now well in its second decade.   We are on a "fix big issues only" level with the software - but the intent is to carry on while the series of direct awards carry on. Maybe a fresh start with the old forum as archived reference once there's a new 7 to 10 year franchise.  There are also issues relating to site independence now that I find myself job sharing the role of Community Rail Officer for the TransWilts CRP (and I am the one with the title) which does bring me a modest income, and an ability to claim back things like literature printing and other advertising expenses. CRPs (and TransWilts in no exception) generate their income from local councils, TOCs and community members, with routes open to bid for grants and other funding through central UK organisations. Very surprisingly, there's been more of a conflict there between my role with TransWilts and my 100% voluntary role as a director of TravelWatch SouthWest than there is with the Coffee Shop, but that leads us on a long way from the original question.



Copyright ... and responsibly for posts remains with the original poster.  By posting here, members give the forum the right to publish their material in the forms that we use. 

That part of the question was much easier  Grin


Edit to correct some spellings and grammar, and remove some of the excess of "incredibly"s I managed to write during last night.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2018, 03:55:06 pm by grahame » Logged

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Sixty3Closure
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« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2018, 05:58:43 pm »

Thank you for the very detailed answer. I would like to say all the hard work and time put in is very much appreciated.
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grahame
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« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2018, 08:14:15 pm »

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{like} liked by Timmer, SandTEngineer, GBM, johnneyw, Sixty3Closure, Western Pathfinder, ellendune

Gentlemen, Thank you.

"Like"s in the News, Help and Assistance board do not show up on the "most recently liked subjects" as that's set up to be outward looking to issues with GWR and other transport providers rather than how we talk about ourselves.   However, I wanted to pop up here and say "thank you".
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Do you have something you would like to add to this thread, or would you like to raise a new question at the Coffee Shop? Please [register] (it is free) if you have not done so before, or login (at the top of this page) if you already have an account - we would love to read what you have to say!

You can find out more about how this forum works [here] - that will link you to a copy of the forum agreement that you can read before you join, and tell you very much more about how we operate. We are an independent forum, provided and run by customers of Great Western Railway, for customers of Great Western Railway and we welcome railway professionals as members too, in either a personal or official capacity. Views expressed in posts are not necessarily the views of the operators of the forum.

As well as posting messages onto existing threads, and starting new subjects, members can communicate with each other through personal messages if they wish. And once members have made a certain number of posts, they will automatically be admitted to the "frequent posters club", where subjects not-for-public-domain are discussed; anything from the occasional rant to meetups we may be having ...

 
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This forum is provided by a customer of Great Western Railway (formerly First Great Western), and the views expressed are those of the individual posters concerned. Visit www.gwr.com for the official Great Western Railway website. Please contact the administrators of this site if you feel that the content provided by one of our posters contravenes our posting rules (email link). Forum hosted by Well House Consultants