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I was looking over our stats on area 51, and we're doing poorly on two counts: #questions/day and number of visits. I'm more concerned about the latter than the former for now (because fixing the latter will probably fix the former).

I was hoping this could become an open thread for ideas on how to boost the visit numbers, so we don't go the way of econ.SE and theoreticalphysics.SE.

  • And if a mod could make this CW, I'd appreciate it. – Suresh May 10 '12 at 19:40
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    I think the visits will grow once the application season starts in Aug-Sep. Google should automatically lead students to ASE :) – Bravo May 11 '12 at 18:57
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    But we'd like more than just grad applicants, I think. – Suresh May 11 '12 at 19:03
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It's a good question, I've been also wondering what we could do about increasing the number of visits. We've had several discussions on the meta about publicizing the site, but I'm sorry to say that I've been a bit too busy lately to really take care of that.

I guess one of the good suggestions was to contact academia.edu, and see if we could come up with some kind of unofficial partnership. Is there anyone with a good account on academia.edu who would be ready to contact the organizers?

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    What would an unofficial partnership consist of? Having them send us traffic sounds great, but I wouldn't want to endorse them (not as better than their competitors or even as a good option in isolation). The way they handle papers really bothers me. They provide previews on the web, but you cannot download unless you are logged in. I'm offended that they're trying to grow their site in this way, and I wonder how many of their "1.3 million users" are junk accounts created for this purpose. Putting papers on academia.edu does much less to disseminate them than putting them on the web. – Anonymous Mathematician May 12 '12 at 23:22
  • Yes, I agree with you, I'm not a big fan of how they handle publications. I guess the idea of unofficial partnership was more or less that they could refer to use for any question. However, I can't see what we could do for them (we have no real way to put a link back to them, even if we wanted to). – user102 May 13 '12 at 13:33
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One of the stats you see on area51 is the number of daily users. If you've been watching that number, it's been steadily rising over the past few months. There are a few mod tools that show statistics, and it definitely looks like we're growing, albeit pretty slowly. I don't think we're at immediate risk of being shut down.

That being said, we could probably benefit significantly from some in-house advertising. Personally, I'm a fan of posting flyers, as they're cheap, easy to post, and pretty visible (in the right areas). I posted a pretty mediocre one earlier, and if anyone else wants to make one that looks more professional (or less professional, I'm not judging you) please go ahead.

  • One of the highlighted questions on the SE blog was from biology.SE that has worse/comparable stats. Not sure what to make of that :). I did notice the slow growth in #users, but it's hard to see if this is a permanent trend – Suresh May 11 '12 at 17:09
  • @Suresh - Well, the site is only ~2½ months old, so it's hard to tell "permanent" trends, but it's definitely steady growth. – eykanal May 11 '12 at 17:51
  • We just got highlighted on the SE G+ feed. maybe that will help. plus.google.com/101120115153580954446/posts/VMk99beDA7K – Suresh May 11 '12 at 18:36
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I think the causation is reciprocal, but that "we" can choose to ask more questions.

Web traffic ultimately tends to largely be driven by Google. And this is generated by having lots of unique and high quality content. If you look at http://stackexchange.com/sites#questionsperday you'll see that the ratio of questions to visits seems fairly predictable. It does vary, presumably based on the content domain, but as a rough ballpark it is often around 1 visit per day for each question on the site.

Thus, I think active users should be encouraged to ask more questions. The site has an excellent answer rate. I don't think the site would be overwhelmed.

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I notice that there are some members - especially those with very high 'scores' - who have 50x as many answers as questions.

Perhaps those members, who clearly know a lot, could be encouraged to ask questions for which they already know the answers. After all SE sites allow you to answer your own question.

Also, in case anyone feels it is being arrogant to post a question you already know the answer to, I would say that my greatest concerns are that I might not even know enough to know which questions I should be asking and I would not consider it arrogant to ask and answer a question that you know many people should be asking.

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