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Analyzing site trends: What you are reading

By Zach Arnold | February 12, 2009

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One of the newest tools I have on this site is the ability to check out where we are sending traffic. In other words, what links you click on that we focus on and what you care about.

We send a lot of traffic out each day to many different MMA sites. The question I have a lot is this: What are you interested in?

Now I know. And it raises more questions than answers.

By an 18-to-1 margin, the most popular link on our site belongs to this story: War Machine apologizes for being crazy. We sent more traffic to Yahoo for that story than for every other story link today — combined. Steve Cofield, who wrote the blog post on Yahoo, is someone who I have defended in the past from criticism because I feel like he does a great job with his role of being an instigator who is fresh and honest. He’s not a 100% straight journalist; he’s a writer who’s writing to entertain himself and everyone else.

On a personal level, I have never had any interest in writing about Jon Koppenhaver. However, on a professional level, I now have to start asking myself whether or not I should be focusing more time on writing about topics like Koppenhaver and less about ‘straight news’ topics.

We have a lot of readers to the site, and the majority of you are lurkers who don’t post any comments. So, I need to know — what is it that you care about reading? What do you want me to write on that would bring more interest to the site? I ask these questions not rhetorically, but honestly and truthfully.

Help me help you out here. You want more Jon Koppenhaver? OK. You want more about Shin’ya Aoki’s hot pants? Talk to me. Want to know what was the most second most popular link on our site today? Ring girl pictures from MMA Opinion.

One other note — I am baffled that we are continuing to get traffic to this site by people searching for “Jerry Millen” on Google. Who in the world spends their day typing in the name “Jerry Millen” into a search engine to find our site other than, well, perhaps Gary Millen himself?

One other other note — less than 1% of our readership is in Japan. Wow. It was around 10% a few years ago…

Topics: Media, MMA, Zach Arnold | 27 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

27 Responses to “Analyzing site trends: What you are reading”

  1. JStein says:

    Thanks for the love, Zach. The Ring Girl of the Month column will be a regular thing now, at least I hope (I’ve got a few lined up for the future, so there’ll definitely be more).

  2. rainmaker6 says:

    I read FO once in awhile. Main thing I read is BloodyElbow. The community over at BE is the main that keeps that site top of my to-read list.

    MMAOpinion once in awhile. 5oz when they have something interesting.

    Key thing is – I’m not in the MMA business. I’m not a blogger or a fighter. I’m a fan and I read news etc to keep me entertained. Reading about War Machine entertains me. Grease-gate and questioning whether or not Affliction goes down in flames also entertains me.

    But to be honest – if Affliction went down in flames it wouldn’t affect my life in the slightest apart from I might not be able to see Fedor fight and that might annoy me.

  3. Big Bill Bob says:

    Do more podcasts with probing objective interviews!

    Stick to your current formula if you’re getting good hits, that’s why people like thid site. If your jealous of giving away the hits then just copy and paste their articles with a link to the source like every other crappy blog does. But I prefer your periodic news updates of pertinent information.

    Japan hasn’t had a MMA show in like well over a month and won’t for well over another month it seems. No wonder your asian viewers are down, since MMA has gone down in the land of the rising sun~

    Target good ol’ Canada more since they are hardcores yearning for those who cater.

  4. spacedog says:

    Thanks for pointing out the “Ring Girl of the Month”, I guess I’ll have to click.

  5. ttt says:

    i asked in another thread but got no response. where did the podcasts go?

    i like the format now, straight up news and the commenters lead the discussion.

  6. Zach Arnold says:

    The whole point of this site is to redirect as much traffic as possible to other sites. In other words, be a link-driver, so for me I have no jealousy. However, now I have something that I can look at data-wise to figure out what everyone wants to read. If it means getting into that act, then I will.

    Regarding the podcast – Jeff Thaler is busy being a father and doing the family thing, so I don’t foresee him in the future doing anything pod-cast related. I sent out feelers to several other people to work with me as a co-host and nobody right now has a) the interest or b) the time. There will be a new show relatively soon, but in terms of finding a consistent co-hosting partner who is willing to dedicate time on a weekly basis, I have not found such a person yet.

  7. Steve says:

    Get Jeffs dad back. I always liked the shows with him on. Or even Dr Keith!

  8. Nepal says:

    Hi Zach,

    The biggest thing I get out of your web site is it is a one stop shop. Previously I had mmaweekly, sherdog, mmajunkie etc etc etc in my list of favorites. Now I only have to go to your site and then click the relevant article. On average I probably refresh your site 10 times per day. There are a few mma sites that you don’t link to but they produce fewer blogs/articles so it would be a bit of a waste of space on your site.

    Honestly my favorite site is fightlinker as long as Ryan is writing the articles, the other guy(s) that writes there is not interesting or funny.

    Mr. Machine is of course interesting in a “rubbernecking to see the carnage on the highway” kind of way. So it’s not surprising you get a lot of hits for him, 18:1 is a weird ratio tho.

    I think things like mmawearhouse is a detraction from the site. If I want to go shopping, I’ll go shopping. It’s not the kind of thing I come to your site for.

    Things that sit there for days or even weeks like Ben Fowlkes article kind of clog up the site too. Nothing against Ben, it’s just that his article sits there for ages and isn’t a site that provides anything new.

    Nicki Jhabvala would also fit that criteria. I would prefer they were removed after say a 3 day viewing period.

    My last comment is regarding boxing. I’m not a boxing fan, I was many years ago, pre-MMA and followed it with my father but today honestly I couldn’t care less. If it’s a good boxing match I do enjoy watching but I haven’t managed to sit through any full boxing match in years. Occasionally I’ll happen upon a dynamic fight with some smaller exciting fighters but in general my interest in boxing resides near the noise floor, i.e. I just don’t care. I have no problem with the sport, it’s just not for me. I believe (without any real substantiating data) that 95+% of readers feel similarily to how I feel in terms of interest in boxing. To me your site is a site to go to get mma information and boxing articles are just clogs to your site. It is annoying (yes I’m petty) to click on an Iole article and find out it’s about boxing. Now that you have your tracking tool, it would be very interesting to note how many people come to your site for boxing information. If it’s small, please stop your personal articles on the subject.

    In summary, I’m thrilled with your site. Please keep it going and even if you don’t take my concerns into account, it’s still my number one go-to site for mma.


  9. Zach Arnold says:

    Use the contact form and give me a direct list of RSS links to add to the page and which ones I should take down. I’d be glad to do maintenance on that front very quickly. Help me out here. Thanks.

  10. Chuck says:

    I know this won’t happen but…..Dammit Zach! Bring puroresupower back! I know you still run the message board, but I miss the actual site. It was great…when you updated it. You had some killer articles by you and Dave Ditch (especially about the myth of Strong Style Wrestling. Speaking of, whatever happened to Dave Ditch? He basically fell off the face of the planet). If you don’t want to bring back the site, then oh well I guess, but at least bring back the old articles you wrote on that site.

  11. d says:

    I visit the site several times a day, mostly because I’m a luddite and I don’t know what an RSS feed is so I use your sidebars.

    As for your content, mostly I like the analysis of as much behind the scenes stuff as you can get, whether it be incomprehensible SEC filings that I never quite “get” or stories about the intricacies of the MMA business in Japan which I’ll definitely never “get”. It’s insight that you simply never get anywhere else because nobody knows enough about it short of maybe Jordan Breen.

  12. Zach Arnold says:

    Chuck — my old friend, Mr. Ditch, still has a page:

    He follows the MMA scene as well. If I could bring on board, I would — but he has a busy schedule. The story of a lot of talented writers, too.

  13. David says:

    Interesting that the Japan viewership is down to 1%… probably because you bash them so much, which is hilarious that there is actually empirical evidence of such.

    The ring girl is super beautiful, smart, and sexy, why are we fascinated with women with young, thin bodies?

  14. Zach Arnold says:

    Interesting that the Japan viewership is down to 1%… probably because you bash them so much, which is hilarious that there is actually empirical evidence of such.

    Yes, because as everyone knows, I destroyed the Japanese MMA scene by sitting behind a keyboard. It was all my fault, everything bad that happened, and I made it as such.

  15. demie says:

    I read this site because I’m looking for news that others didn’t already cover, and insight that others don’t have.

    If nobody else is talking about “what war machine did this time”, then go for it. But if the bigger blogs already got the scoop, I don’t want to hear about him again unless there’s details that everyone else missed. If Jerry Millen is trying to get away with something, maybe we want to know if other sites are indifferent to it.

    That’s really all I look for when I’m following someone’s feed. The last thing I need is to fire up Google Reader and find 5 different articles about how many fighters got drug tested at last week’s UFC.

  16. Jason Bennett says:

    As a long-time reader of the site, I think you’re doing fine with your current format. I have definitely become a lurker though, I simply have no time to get involved in commenting anymore.

    I second everything that ‘Nepal’ brought up above, which was very well said. But I will go a step further with boxing comments – I abhor boxing. I completely ignore any and all articles, comments and news regarding that disgraceful excuse for a sport. Even Affliction/Golden Boy articles get skipped by me, I just simply have zero interest in anything to do with the former ‘sweet science’.

    We all miss the podcast but understand the difficulty you have in doing one. Personally, I would pay to hear a weekly show with you and Eddie ‘Cantankerous’ Goldman – now that would be entertaining (call it ‘Combat Sports Paradigm’). He’s a treasure to the sport’s history, unfortunately his personal agenda has made him a laughing stock to most people. He is wise and well spoken but misled.

    Continue to write about these scandals that the ‘Big-Boy Pants’ sites simply refuse to and your keep us die-hard fans informed. I know I haven’t read nearly enough insider info regarding the Station Casinos financial woes and the possibility of Zuffa getting involved in female MMA. There is a great story waiting to be written there for sure.

    While you have much to be proud of, due to your coverage of the Pride/K-1 scandal(s), I will respect your site much much higher than all others; respect ratio compared to other sites would be at least equivalent to War Machine news items, 18:1.

  17. Garp says:

    I need to echo Nepal and d’s comments above. The site is the be-all and end-all for all I need to know what is going on in the world of MMA. You have saved me time and energy from surfing around.
    MMAJunkie, MMAPayout, and Fightlinker are my go-tos – each for a different reason.
    I prefer your comments on the business, or as you call it “serious”, side of MMA. has its own voice as a result. If you altered it for the masses you’ll get lost in the white noise.
    Sure, getting the hits is important but I prefer to think more MMA fans will find over time and become devoted to it and respect it in the way the current audience does.
    You need someone to talk MMA every week? Call me.

  18. MMA Game says:

    I have this site and sherdog in my toolbar. I read this site because it provides different to content to sherdog and also because it has a good number of commenters, i.e. not too many so that it’s pointless to even comment but enough so that a comment will likely get a response.

    Don’t post more about Jon Koppenhaver. I can read about him elsewhere if I feel like it… which I probably won’t.

  19. klown says:

    By and large, I like it just the way it is. Here are my couple of cents:

    1: I’m not interested in boxing or pro-wrestling, with very occasional exceptions when there is an interesting analogy to be drawn with MMA

    2: I’m also a fan of the dynamic Bloody Elbow community but the intelligence level of the commentary is highest here on FightOpinion. I enjoy the debates of Zach, Ivan, 45, the infamous D.Capitated, etc.

    3. I encourage you not to change your content based on clicking trends. I think any website will attract some lower-common-denominator folks. The type that want to look at ring girls or drama about TUF outcasts. They’re also probably not the ones who contribute to the intelligent discourse on this site.
    I’d rather the main contented be directed at the latter group.

    4. Aside from quality of conversation here, I come to FightOpinion for the business analysis and for the links to other sites.

    5. I miss the podcasts and hope they can return. Hey Jeff, being a father is no exuse for not producing the occasional podcast!

  20. skwirrl says:

    If you wanna redirect traffic Zack… The site that people utilize the least is fighthype. They generally have more interviews than anywhere else but because you can’t copy/paste from them they get neglected. Host their interviews and redirect. Personally I care more about real news than War Machine getting caught in the bathroom at a gay club. And of course anything that covers the Fertittas losing money is at the top of my list.

  21. A. Taveras says:

    This will likely fall on deaf ears, but if anything add more boxing. There are tons of boxing site, tons of MMA sites, and very few effectively covering both for those of us who are crossover fans.

  22. Vic Mackey says:

    The only article about Koppenhaver on this site should include an epitath.

  23. Nepal says:

    Hey, sorry for not using the right form. Gee, try to make a constructive comment…

  24. skwirrl says:

    I’m with A. Taveras also

    More sweet science

  25. banter says:

    I say you do whatever you want and don’t worry about how we may react. In the end I am sure it will be a quality unbiased product. I am always amazed when people say you’re biased. I have always found you to praise and bash when proper. Nobody hates bias more than me and my radar is always up for bias.

    I just wish you would post more but I understand you need a life.

  26. […] want to add/delete some of the news feeds on the site, so if you get a chance read this first and get a hold of me through the contact form with some RSS links to add to the site. Thanks […]

  27. Dave says:

    The Millen thing made me laugh so hard. More than hot pants. Maybe Millen hot pants will soon be a big search?

    I kind of agree that there really isn’t much wrong with this site. Regardless of what topics you choose to write about or your opinions on them, it is still preferred to 99% of sites. A site like bloodyelbow is fine for what it is, but it is an overload at all times. Full articles quoted, random MMA media after every article, etc. Cluttered, hard to find content on, etc. Plus the comments sections get unruly. There might be arguments on here, but it is between the same few people who actually have some pretty decent opinions.

    I’ve always been a fan of your list of links for topics you found interesting. We all read a lot of MMA sites and there is a lot of crap out there that sometimes you just give up, it is good to see somebody else wading through stuff, you know?


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