Kottu traffic over the last 7 days
Here’s a state of Kottu, as I know it. All these stats are publicly available. Kottu averages about 365 unique visitors per day (actual people). indi.ca still has more visitors (400/day), but the Kottu visitors are higher quality. In traffic terms, that means that they are repeat visitors and they stay on the site longer. Around 75% of indi.ca visitors stay for less than 5 seconds, meaning that they were looking for ‘sex’ or ‘weed’ on Google and quickly bounce off. Only 50% of Kottu visitors, however, bounce off. Also, Kottu averages 240 repeat visitors, whereas indi.ca averages only 100. Those are the most valuable eyeballs cause they actually care. Also, Kottu’s growth is much sharper than indi.ca’s, and it should overtake this site soon. Kottu’s purpose is to boost traffic of its component blogs anyways.
The month of October in Kottu
The graphs pictured here show two figures, the blue is total unique visitors and the orange is repeat visitors. Unique visitors are good, but repeat visitors are the actual ‘readers’ in the print sense of the word. As you can see, traffic comes in waves, dropping dramatically on weekends. That’s why I don’t feel bad about taking weekends ‘off’. I think Sri Lanka has something like 100,000 Internet accounts on the books. That doesn’t include office connections, where many people access the Net. I’m pretty sure that most Kottu traffic comes from people wasting time at office, cause the meat of traffic is 9 to 5, Monday thru Friday.
Kottu from 2005-2006
More generally, Kottu has grown pretty steadily since it began post-Tsunami. Many sites (like indi.ca) are driven by events that draw attention to them. As you can see with indi.ca’s graph below, there was a large bump during the Tsunami and what the site has mainly done is consolidate traffic at that level. That’s the pattern of my experience at least, a few posts will take you to a new plateau and consisten posting will maintain that new level. Kottu, on the other hand has grown more organically. The only visible event bump would be the stir generated by Padashow in March 2006, after which the site consolidated traffic at that level.
indi.ca from 2003-2006
Kottu has the added advantage that it continues adding members, which in turn grows traffic for everyone. I did a cursory glance through my email and about 20 people requested syndication this month, though I think that’s higher than usual. I feel like it’s an average of one or two a week, at least one or two that post regularly.
The Kottu Effect
As you can see from the indi.ca stats above, I wrote for years with minimal traffic and basically zero comments. That was never the reason I got into it, that being a simple compulsion to write dating back to 1st grade and years of private notebooks. When I started blogging Amma was literally the only person to read the site, and that because I never called or wrote. Building traffic took literally years in the wilderness and it took a Tsunami to bring larger attention, which then congealed into steady hits.
With Kottu, however, a good writer can almost instantly get hits and comments if their headlines and content are catchy enough. A site like Ravana is already at levels that took indi.ca literally two years to reach. That’s not entirely because of Kottu, but it certainly helps. That is, I think, the best thing about Kottu. It eliminates a lot of the time spent alone in the wilderness and gives people the immediate feedback they need to keep writing.
Also, beyond direct visitors, I think Kottu also has an effect on Google visibility. Google (as far as I know) works in a very human way, depending on references. It sends spiders to one site, then sends spiders to every link on that site, exponentially. Google is semi-familiar with Kottu, and Kottu’s spiders immediately get pushed off to new sites, indexing them. I think. I’m not sure how to measure that, but anyways, Kottu is good for traffic.
There is also a new model in websites which a lot of newspapers (Washington Post for one) are pushing traffic offsite, sometimes to their competitors. Contrary to first think, this actually boosts traffic. In the same way, Kottu is all about pushing traffic away, and that has the paradoxical effect of retaining traffic. Or something. That is the state of Kottu as far as I see it. The stats have always been publicly available (Kottu / indi.ca), so feel free to look thru if you so interest.