I’m Susan Kistler, the American Evaluation Association’s Executive Director, and I post each Saturday to aea365. On January 1, 2010, we started aea365 with three subscribers – myself, John LaVelle our intrepid intern responsible for overseeing aea365 startup, and a relative who shall remain unnamed but wanted to support our efforts.
In the first few months, John worked diligently on two fronts. First, he encouraged authors to contribute to aea365, knowing that the readership was low and the forum untested. I strongly encourage you to check out the aea365 archive to read some of the earliest contributions (as well as over 700 others). Second, he worked with a number of people to reach out to AEA members and nonmembers alike to encourage people to subscribe – to receive a tip-a-day right in their email boxes. And subscribe you did. Approximately a year ago, in January of 2011, I reported that by December of 2010, 1,560 people viewed aea365 via email or RSS each day. The rise in subscriptions has continued steadily in our second year.
Lesson Learned: We use Feedburner to track subscribership. This May 2010 post will tell you more about it if you haven’t heard of Feedburner. The chart above shows our subscribership growth from aea365’s start in January of 2010 through to the end of 2011 when we recorded 2821 aea365 subscribers on an average day.
Hot Tip: Share you [blog] data. We’re sharing here so that association colleagues may have a case example of a blog’s growth trajectory, so that our potential authors will gain an understanding of the likely size of the readership, so that we are transparent regarding aea365’s readership, and finally as an entrée to saying ‘thank you.’ Thank you to every single subscriber, for taking the time to read and learn and share (lots of posts are passed along!). And a double thank you to all of our writers, over 500 to date, who have contributed their knowledge and expertise to aea365.
Get Involved: If you are an email-based subscriber, who joined on or before December 31 of 2011, you’ll be receiving a very short survey (I promise – 5 minutes max!), asking you about how often you read aea365 and how, if at all, you have used aea365 content. For one example, stay tuned for Monday’s post from Sheila Robinson Kohn and Kankana Mukhopadhyay talking about how they have used aea365 as a teaching tool.
And, if you have an example that you would like to share with the world, consider posting it in the comments or sending me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org regarding possibly submitting it as an aea365 contribution.
Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to email@example.com. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.
6 thoughts on “Susan Kistler on Tracking aea365 Growth”
I may be in the minority, but I don’t subscribe via email. I did subscribe to aea365 through an RSS feed but found that I never look at the feed. I simply visit this site every day as I do several others, and that’s the way I’ve worked for years with my favorites. It may not sound efficient, but it works for me. So, I don’t exactly know how that impacts your count. I guess I’m both a subscriber and a daily page viewer, right?
Yes! The RSS subscribers are VERY few and far between – and hard to survey too. There are also few who visit daily (we regularly have 2000 email views in a day, but only 200 homepage views).
Susan, I think your survey should also ask about the preferred way to read aea365. It might be the case that some people read the posts when they receive them in their inbox, not necessarily on the webpage. I realize you’re tracking page views, but I wonder if you’re also tracking email views.
Good point Ricardo. The subscriber tracking is actually an aggregate of RSS and email readership (and we can break it down between the two). Feedburner counts someone as a subscriber if they actually view the content (at least in theory). One challenge is that I can only survey those who are subscribed via email, as I don’t have direct contact for the much smaller group of RSS subscribers.
Susan, thank you for shring this information. It is important to know the numbers for benchmarking purposes. The AEA blog with its daily posts is a champion in evaluation area indeed. But the statistics of visits and subscibership is still useful for those who have blogs.
Here is a question. The number of subscribers increased substantially while the number of page views is not growing and stays somewhere around 300 to 400 per day during the last several months. Do you have any explanation for that? Is it good news or bad news?
The number of page views seem to have stayed fairly constant over time – they grow, but only slightly, in particular in comparison to the subscribers. I believe it is because most people visit and subscribe, rather than revisiting, and once they have visited, they then receive aea365 via RSS or email rather than viewing the website. We don’t have the volume of commenters (although this is picking up!) that would drive a great deal of traffic.