Audience Data for Fight Aging!

As you may know, the Longevity Meme website will be retiring in the near future after ten years online - most of the site contents have already moved over to Fight Aging!, with the newsletter being the final and largest transfer still in progress. In the course of moving over content, I've been spending more time on technical work and looking over logs and analytics than is usually the case. So I thought I'd share some of the data on readership and the site setup this week.

As should be clear from what follows here, Fight Aging! is a modest advocacy concern, with a lesser reach than people seem to assume. Where there is influence, that influence stems from who is reading the site and the newsletter, not how many people there are in the direct audience:

  • The human-readable side of the Fight Aging! site averages around 600 distinct visits a day, or ~17,000 visits over a month. Interestingly, that didn't change much when pages moved over from the Longevity Meme - nearly everyone who visited the Longevity Meme was already visiting Fight Aging!
  • 60% of visitors are US-based, and 25% hail from the English-language trifecta of the UK, Canada, and Australia.
  • I don't keep track of the level of traffic to the RSS feeds, as that really tells you nothing about the number of people who read them - once that content is let free to make its way out into the world, it's next to impossible to track where it might end up and who is looking at it.
  • That said, there are a dozen or so subscribers to the Kindle Edition of Fight Aging! - there's one way to measure an RSS readership.

  • Per Technorati, Fight Aging! is in the top 100 science blogs by influence - though I'm not sure that many people pay attention to Technorati's ratings these days, or that they are in any way meaningful.
  • Fight Aging! hosts 7,626 entries: 5060 news items, 380 newsletters, and 2186 blog posts of varying sorts - the results of the better part of a decade of daily posting. Visitors have left 3,137 comments over the years. If you keep writing fast enough and long enough, you will eventually accidentally produce some quality posts. Interestingly, you will also forget that you wrote them: I'm continually surprised by what I stumble over while searching Fight Aging! for a specific reference. A great deal of the good stuff isn't linked from that sidebar on the left there.
  • The Longevity Meme Newsletter - soon to become the Fight Aging! Newsletter - has just under 3000 subscribers. Defunct addresses are removed as they fail, but as is always the case in such matters, your guess is as a good as mine as to what a count of subscribers actually translates to in terms of readership. After all, newsletters can be ignored or forwarded on, and are also available online as web pages and RSS feeds.

It is interesting to look at what the free website audience analysis projects have to say about Fight Aging!, if only for the fact that they are amusingly inaccurate for any site with a low level of traffic. For example, see Alexa's data:

Fightaging.org has a three-month global Alexa traffic rank of 470,610. While it is ranked #154,484 in the US, where about 67% of its visitors are located, it is also popular in Ukraine, where it is ranked #52,772, and it is relatively popular among users in the city of Raleigh-Durham (where it is ranked #13,167).

The Ukraine and Raleigh-Durham? Color me skeptical in both cases - but this is what happens with small sample sizes, given the methods used by these services to establish their data sets. There's much more than that snippet at Alexa to read, of course, and you may find the other information to be of value.

In terms of what I know that visitors to Fight Aging! are looking at, obtained from Google Analytics and local server logs, here's the list of most popular pages:

Page% Views
Home Page18.9
Calorie Restriction Explained2.99
Primary Aging Versus Secondary Aging2.15
Twelve Longevity Enhancement Methods Demonstrated in Mice1.69
Stem Cells, Regenerative Medicine, and Tissue Engineering1.56
More On TA Sciences, TA-651.40
An Introduction to Healthy Life Extension and Engineered Longevity1.06
Overpopulation: Not a Problem Now, and Never Will Be1.04
AGE Breakers Beyond Alagebrium0.97
Is Nuclear DNA Damage a Cause of Aging?0.93

When it comes to Google searches delivering visitors to the door, this is what it looks like over the past 60 days:

KeywordVisitsKeywordVisits
primary aging449site:fightaging.org melatonin137
fight aging410aging is a disease131
what is wealth320fight aging130
calorie restriction279caloric restriction129
popular media231secondary aging109
ta-65 scam192ta-65109
aubrey de grey diet152what is protandim?108

All of these have bounce rates of 95% and higher - i.e. they came, they saw, they quickly left. This is one of the reasons why paying for search traffic or paying to optimize search traffic are not viable paths in advocacy, at least not without a very well crafted and considered approach that surrounds the effort. I look on this sort of data as an alert to tell me where I've accidentally placed highly in Google's search results and no more - one has to wonder how I am managing to place on the first page of results for "popular media," for example.

So there you have it, a brief overview of where Fight Aging! stands in the grand scheme of things. I you find it helpful, good.

Comments

yay, I am on of those visitors! I also did not know there was a newsletter, so now I also subscribed ^^

btw, may I use this post for a tiny critical note? I feel there are a lot of links in the posts. and for me this can be quite distracting. To find out if the link is useful I hover over the link, only to find a wiki or a website of some research center, both which could have been found by googling whatever was linked. Sometimes it is older messages, or a related story, these I do find interesting. But I still have to find out what it is by clicking. So I think in those cases I would prefer if the link was added in brackets () and labeled what it is, like this: (source) or (interview from 2009).

other then that, keep up! :-)

Posted by: Jochem at January 11th, 2011 6:11 AM

Just a quick thank you note, Reason - I've enjoyed your work for a number of years now. In fact Fight Aging! is first on my list of websites to visit daily.

I am very impressed with how you can stay motivated over a long period of time to maintain the Blog.

All I can say is that I hope you keep on going. You definitely are making a difference, perhaps more than you think. You may inspire others to become advocates, donate money to SENS et al (you've inspired me on this count), volunteer, and at a very minimum to keep abreast of the state-of-play in aging research and to get the word out - one person at a time.

Thank you.

Posted by: Dan C at January 12th, 2011 5:13 PM

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