Yep, it’s another geeky stats post trying to figure out “what’s going on with our traffic?” using two similar article-publishing sites to contrast and compare trends.
Squidoo launched its “responsive” layout on Friday, December 7, 2012, hoping to cash in on the skyrocketing use of mobile devices to browse the web. Many of us had emailed HQ about the need to adapt to mobile/tablets over the past few years, so we certainly understood the reasons for the change, if not the timing. But the proof is in the pudding. How did the Responsive Layout launch impact traffic?
I’m kicking myself for not doing a screengrab of Quantcast’s traffic tracking before the changeover, showing what percentage of Squidoo visitors came in through mobile, but I’ve at least got that info from my own Google Analytics (see below).
However, we can do a current comparison of Squidoo vs. Hubpages mobile traffic.
But first, a baseline. Quantcast shows that Squidoo’s overall (mobile and desktop) traffic remains above Hubpages — barely — although it has been dropping for a few months. Squidoo is probably more dependent on holiday shopping:
Quantcast only gives 1-month data for mobile, but I’ve seen that Hubpages has always drawn more mobile traffic than Squidoo, despite having slightly less traffic overall for most of the past two years. Even after Squidoo’s responsive layout update, this is still true…
Mobile Traffic Jan 7-Feb 5, 2013
|U.S.||Mobile’s % of total traffic||Total Visits||Mobile Visits|
|GLOBAL||Total Visits||Mobile Visits|
Before-and-After Mobile Traffic on Squidoo and Hubpages
Google Analytics shows how mobile traffic changed on my own pages before and after Squidoo’s December 7 update. (However, the major Google search traffic drop that hit my Squidoo pages on Nov 16 also hit my mobile traffic, so some of this is signs of anemic recovery rather than a response to Squidoo’s new layout).
- My Squidoo mobile visits are up 27% in the two months since December 7.
- Since the change, my Squidoo mobile visits have accounted for 26% of my total traffic. In the two months before the change, they accounted for 16%.
- My Hubpages mobile visits are up 39% in the two months since December 7.
- Since December 7, my Hubpages mobile visits have accounted for 29% of my total traffic. In the two months before that, they accounted for 25%.
In other words, mobile trafic has gone up on both sites, and on Hubpages that has nothing to do with layout changes, just the fact that mobile traffic is increasing everywhere.
So what? Mobile traffic will continue to grow. The question is, what is that mobile traffic doing and looking for? If you answered, “to buy a specific product,” you may be disappointed. See this article I wrote last October: How The Shift to Mobile Impacts Online Writers’ Bottom Line.
Google Analytics tip: Choose Mobile > Devices, then, in the tiny blue links below the main table, choose “Screen resolution” to see what screen sizes most people are using to access your pages. Then use this Responsive Layout Tester to check how your page looks on different phones and tablets, and at different screen sizes.
As a side note, using my iPad, I was able to build hubs from scratch on Hubpages starting in August of 2012, whereas despite Squidoo’s announcement that it now has a Responsive Layout workshop, it’s still impossible to upload images or reorder modules. This means that Hubpages is the better platform for writing travel articles, if you want to post something while you’re on the road.