Message Board Changes (And a Little Traffic Talk, Too)

Big changes are about to come to AAR’s message boards.  But with any luck, you’ll barely even notice them.

Here’s the deal:  AAR’s message boards have previously been hosted on a separate server – not on AAR’s.  This has resulted in several problems, chiefly a very frustrating lack of customer service.  The second problem?  Site stats for our very popular message boards have not been included in AAR’s traffic numbers or in site ranking ratings on Alexa.com.   So, the result is that our Alexa ranking – one that was cited elsewhere on the Internet over the weekend – is only part of the story.

We’re solving both problems by moving message board hosting to the same company (a reliable one that actually, you know, responds when we have problems) hosting the main site.  What will the change mean to you?  Nothing if you enter the message boards from AAR’s home page.  However, if you’ve  bookmarked the message boards – as we know many of you have – then you’ll need to update your bookmarks after the changeover.  That’s it.  All registrations and threads will be preserved intact.

This change is imminent – over the next few days, certainly – and we’ll let you know when it’s coming via a heads up on the home page and the message boards.  If you miss the announcement and discover that your bookmarked message board link is dead, simply go to the home page for updated links.

And while we’re on the traffic topic (well, we were a paragraph or so ago, anyway) AAR’s statistical guru LinnieGayl Kimmel put together some fascinating facts:

  • Main site visits have gone up 41% since December 2008, while hits and page views are up 23% over the same period.
  • Message board visits are up by 41%, while hits and page views have increased by 23%.
  • Message board page views have increased by 50% over the past three months.
  • 63% of visitors enter the site via the home page.
  • 39% enter AAR via the message boards, then go onto the main site.
  • Over the past month, visitors to the message boards viewed an average of 12 pages per day and spent 9.1 minutes per day on the boards – an increase of 61% over the past three months – while visitors to the main site viewed an average of 2.7 pages per day.

These stats are derived from AAR’s own traffic data and from Alexa – the latter about which LinnieGayl is more than a bit wonky.  Apparently, amongst other limitations, Alexa only counts traffic from computers with an installed Alexa toolbar.  There’s other stuff, too, but honestly, LG sort of lost me there. (English majors didn’t spend a lot of time on statistics.)

Still, o-o-o-o-kay.  It is what it is – and it goes without saying that the same limitations apply to the rankings for every site.  Blythe, Rachel, Lynn and I thank LinnieGayl for taking the time to take our Web traffic and Alexa temperature which is always a good thing to do.

And don’t forget the big headline:  Watch the home page for the message board announcement.  It’s going to be a good thing.  Really.

-Sandy AAR

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8 Responses to “Message Board Changes (And a Little Traffic Talk, Too)”

  1. Tee says:

    Thanks, Sandy, for the heads-up. I’m one of those who have the boards bookmarked and access the site that way. That also probably explains why I didn’t realize the After Hours page was redone until about a week ago. I see I missed some good stuff. However, we bookmarkers love our system, so I’ll just have to remember to visit the Home Page routinely at least once a day.

    I’d like to say that you and the other staffers are doing a really great job in trying to keep this site as efficient as possible, along with being attractive. The Blog and After Hours page is especially eye-appealing. I hope we never have another major shutdown of the AAR site again; but even if it does happen, it’ll be dealt with. The only one positive result fom a temporary denied access is that we get to appreciate AAR even more when we can’t get to it. Good luck with the new server provider.

  2. xina says:

    Yes, I saw that Alexa rating that you mention and thought it sounded wrong. Good luck in the trasition. Thanks for the info!

  3. AAR Sandy says:

    Thanks, Tee. There is a hard-working crew right now and it’s nice to know that you’ve noticed our efforts!

    xina, yes. It was only part of the story. FYI, for some reason a request to donate to Brenda Novak’s auction this year didn’t reach us, though AAR has donated in previous years and we certainly would have been happy to.

  4. xina says:

    I wondered about that Sandy…when I saw that. Those numbers just didn’t seem right.

  5. Janet W says:

    Too bad about the Brenda Novak request: one of the best things about online is how people band together for good causes — and to share sad news, like Edith Layton’s passing — anyhoo, I saw those Alexa numbers and they looked a little bizarro to me. Since advertisers are so jacked up by good, accurate numbers, I’m sure you’ll be glad to have everything ironed out soon.

  6. Karen Scott says:

    So what are the actual numbers? E.g. What do the percentages actually represent?

    I normally wouldn’t care too much but I find that percentages don’t really say too much, when you don’t have the actual numbers to work from.

    By the way, you could do with a comment subscription thingy. That way I don’t have to remember to come back to see if my question was answered.

  7. AAR Sandy says:

    Karen,

    Due to our lame-ass current message board provider, we don’t have access to any message board stats other than Alexa — with all Alexa’s problems — so those were the stats LinnieGayl used. Problematic, but until the message board change over, the best we got.

    For the main site only — without the message boards — in May AAR had 1.7 million page views, 378,000 visitors, and 5.1 million hits.

    And you’re right about the subscription comment thing-y. We’ll definitely look into it.

  8. Caffey says:

    Who do I email for assistance. I’m having a horrible time to get on there and even tried to have my password sent but they said ‘inactive’ but then don’t let me sign up either, Thanks. cathiecaffey (at) gmail (dot) com

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