From the start I was planning to add click tracking to the Perl Weekly, but I still don't have the system ready for that. So I decided I'll give bit.ly a go.
I have been using their service for some time for shortening URLs when tweeting but this time I shortened all the URLs that were in the Perl Weekly newsletter and sent out the shortened versions instead of the original URLs.
This gave me a little insight into the reaction of people. Here is the data:
Issue #8 went out to 860 addresses. In the first 24 hours after the mail went out there were 957 clicks. As far as I can see there is no way to tell how many different people clicked. At least not in the free version of bit.ly.
The distribution of clicks
234, 101, 77, 83, 46, 46, 72, 58, 61, 45, 19, 12, 25, 3, 22, 6, 6, 12, 3, 7, 3, 13, 3, 5
So as we can see the biggest number of clicks were immediately after the newsletter went out: 25% in the first hour. Another 25% in the next 3 hours.
After 3 days the total number of clicks went up to 1158.
Location of the clickers
The interesting thing is that I sent out the message at about 9:30 am local time in Finland. Which means 2:30 am EST (New York) and 23:30 (still Sunday) on the west coast of the US. If I understand this means a lot of US based people were still awake and reading Perl related news at 2 am. No surprise they have a hard time going to work on Monday morning.
I wonder if it would be better if I sent out the message a bit later so people will only see it on Monday morning while at work.
The most popular link was my blog post Which is the better language to learn Perl or PHP?, with 145 clicks. I wonder if that was popular because of the association of my name in the From field of the Perl Weekly and the link in the email or if it was the slightly controversial title?
The second most popular link was My New OO Docs for the Perl Core Have Been Merged by Dave Rolsky with 107 clicks.
How to Use Regular Expressions to Parse Nested Structures by Peter Thoeny with 97 clicks was third.
RESTful Perl Resources by chromatic got 81 clicks.
What really surprised me is that the Mojocast #3: Authentication, Helpers, and Plugins got only 22 clicks. I though a lot more people would be interested in that screencast. Maybe everyone who wants to see it has already seen it?
There is no real conclusion here but I find this information nevertheless interesting.
What is important to me is that many people open the emails and click on them messages. This means Perl Weekly already has some impact. I would be very interested to know how many clicks various Perl related blogs receive. That would help me understand if the Perl Weekly has a measurable impact on the number of visitors as well?
I loved to see the post of miguel prz (niceperl) about the Perl Weekly. It both tells me people like this thing and it helps to get the word out about the Perl Weekly. The thing is, I think with 860 subscribers I seem to have hit a limit. I clearly need the help of the Perl community to reach more people.
So if you have been reading the Perl Weekly and if you liked it, go and tell one person about it.
If you are not yet a subscriber then what are you waiting for? Get the Perl Weekly now.
Update: Since I wrote this I asked people on Google+ to recommend the Perl Weekly on their Perl Monger lists. A few did which resulted in 90 more subscribers. This is awesome! Thank you.
Published on 2011-09-23 by Gabor Szabo