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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Web Stats: Blogosphere Cooling... But Check out South Dakota's 100 Most Popular Websites!

Rain—yuck! No mowing or tree-trimming for me (and I was just getting in the groove). So what better to do with a rainy Saturday than peruse some web stats?

Some folks worried that the new "No anonymous comments" policy would kill my traffic. I did indeed see a decline in traffic during May, but it's hard to separate the effects of the nymity policy from the mild decrease in traffic I've seen since the end of the state legislative session in the beginning of March. My peak month was October 2008, but that was inflated by 2000 hits in one day on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher. Traffic cooled off after the election through the holiday season, peaked again with the legislative session, and has gently mellowed since. Still, even with the decline, my traffic is currently about where it was during the national conventions last August, when we had Obama and Palin to holler about.

Along with a decline in hot political news since the last sine die in Pierre, I get the impression that as the weather gets nice, people are spending less time inside at the computer and more time outdoors (I know I am!). Our on-site stats may fail to reflect increasing numbers of readers who may be accessing our content via RSS and other means. Facebook may also be taking a larger slice of the online attention pie: after all, if you're looking to kill time at the office, it's easier to convince the boss that you're using Facebook to contact clients than that the Madville Times is providing useful business intelligence (hey, I do... sometimes! :-) ).

This gentle decline in readership may be affecting more of the South Dakota blogosphere than just my corner. I've been following stats from Quantcast.com since March, and I've seen similar trends at a couple conservative South Dakota blogs (click image to enlarge):

It's not a steep decline since winter, but we all three seem to be drawing a little less traffic lately. It's no disaster: we all still have stories to tell. And just wait until the online battle royale that 2010 will bring!

Alexa.com also offers some diverting web stats. Alexa's methodology skews its numbers: they get data only from users who choose to install the Alexa toolbar (do you need more junk installed in your browser?). Still, Alexa grabs information from a lot of Web users.

What I find interesting this morning is Alexa's list of the most popular sites in its South Dakota category. I've copied the top 100 below. At the very top: the K-12 network! Our teachers and students are busy little online bees. With a couple hundred facilities with their own websites, several thousand employees maintaining individual webs, and 199,000 enrolled students checking assignments and grades, I can see the school web generating a lot of traffic. But that the school network would beat the major news outlets indicates the extent to which South Dakota's schools have integrated the Internet into their regular operations, perhaps more so than our neighbors in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Scroll through the top 100, and you find some interesting little tidbits:
So what sites has this list missed? Your comments are welcome here at South Dakota's most popular blog!

Below is Alexa's Top 100 South Dakota websites (my copy downloaded this morning at 8 a.m.). Investigate the full list at Alexa.com, and start gaming your web stats today!
  1. State of South Dakota K-12 Data Center: www.k12.sd.us/
  2. KELO-LAND TV: www.keloland.com/
  3. Rapid City Journal: www.rapidcityjournal.com
  4. Argus Leader Media: www.argusleader.com/
  5. MidcoNet: www.midco.net/
  6. State of South Dakota: www.sd.gov/
  7. South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks: www.sdgfp.info
  8. Deadwood Doc and Mail: www.docnmail.com/
  9. KSFY 13: www.ksfy.com/
  10. The Press and Dakotan: www.yankton.net/
  11. Oglala Lakota College: www.olc.edu/
  12. The Daily Republic: www.mitchellrepublic.com/
  13. Department of Tourism: www.travelsd.com/
  14. Rainbow Play Systems, Inc.: www.rainbowplay.com/
  15. Midcontinent Communications: www.midcocomm.com/
  16. Black Hills Badlands and Lakes: www.blackhillsbadlands.com
  17. Mount Rushmore National Monument: www.nps.gov/moru/
  18. Dakota Eckankar: www.dakota-eckankar.org/index.htm
  19. Black Hills Federal Credit Union: www.blackhillsfcu.org
  20. SD School of Mines and Technology: www.sdsmt.edu
  21. Black Hills OnLine: www.blackhills.com
  22. Sanford Health: www.sanfordhealth.org/
  23. Legislative Research Council: legis.state.sd.us/
  24. Daktronics: www.daktronics.com/
  25. Keloland Automall: www.kelolandautomall.com/
  26. South Dakota State Parks: www.sdgfp.info/Parks/index.htm
  27. Siouxland Libraries: www.siouxlandlib.org/
  28. KOTA TV: www.kotatv.com/
  29. Buffalo Chip Campground: www.buffalochip.com/
  30. Golden West: www.goldenwest.net/
  31. CantonSouthDakota.com: www.cantonsouthdakota.com
  32. Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center: aktalakota.org/
  33. South Dakota Public Broadcasting: www.sdpb.org/
  34. Allen's Hillside Motel: www.allenshillside.com/
  35. South Dakota Lottery: www.sdlottery.org/
  36. Power Brokers, Inc.: www.powerbrokersinc.com/
  37. Wind Cave National Park: www.nps.gov/wica/
  38. Black Hills Weather Information: www.blackhillsweather.com/
  39. Capital Journal: www.capjournal.com/
  40. Reptile Gardens: www.reptilegardens.com
  41. Diesel Machinery Inc.: www.dieselmachinery.com/
  42. Codington County Historical Society: www.cchsmuseum.org/
  43. Avera McKennan Hospital: www.mckennan.org/
  44. Black Hills Pioneer: www.bhpioneer.com
  45. LodgeNet: www.lodgenet.com/
  46. Sturgis Rally Top 10: sturgiszone.com
  47. Wholesale Electronics, Inc.: www.weisd.com
  48. Dakota Digital: www.dakotadigital.com/
  49. Deadwood Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau: www.deadwood.org/
  50. Siouxfalls.org - The Official Website for the City of Sioux Falls, SD: www.siouxfalls.org/
  51. Department of Social Services: dss.sd.gov/
  52. CynTom Property Management: www.cyntom.com
  53. South Dakota Codified Laws: legis.state.sd.us/statutes/index.aspx
  54. Cash Registers Online: cashregistersonline.com
  55. Department of Education: doe.sd.gov/
  56. Presidents Park Sculpture Garden: presidentspark.com
  57. Designs by Crystal Myst: www.dbycm.com/
  58. Huron Plainsman: www.plainsman.com/
  59. KDLT 5/46: www.kdlt.com/
  60. Eagle Pass Ranch: www.eaglepassranch.com/index.html
  61. Badlands National Park: www.nps.gov/badl/
  62. Minnehaha County, South Dakota: www.minnehahacounty.org/
  63. Douglas School District: www.dsdk12.net/
  64. Rapid City Convention and Visitors Bureau: www.visitrapidcity.com
  65. Mobility Sales and Rental: www.mobilitysales.com/
  66. WaTiki Water Park Resort: watikiwaterpark.com
  67. Billion Automotive: www.billionauto.com/
  68. Lakota Country Times: www.lakotacountrytimes.com/
  69. WNAX Radio - 570 AM: www.wnax.com
  70. South Dakota Secretary of State: www.sdsos.gov
  71. Sioux Empire Federal Credit Union: www.siouxempirefcu.org/
  72. The Real Estate Company: www.thenewaddress.com/
  73. Bureau of Personnel: bop.sd.gov/
  74. The Flintstones Bedrock City: www.flintstonesbedrockcity.com
  75. Nordstrom's Automotive: www.nordstromsauto.com
  76. South Dakota Library Network: www.sdln.net/
  77. Prairie Edge: www.prairieedge.com/
  78. Iloop: iloop.com
  79. South Dakota State Historical Society: www.sdhistory.org/
  80. Onida: www.onida.org/
  81. Bear Country U.S.A.: www.bearcountryusa.com/
  82. Casey Peterson and Associates: www.caseypeterson.com
  83. Santel Internet: www.santel.net
  84. Resorts of Custer State Park: custerresorts.com/
  85. Lawrence and Schiller: www.l-s.com/
  86. City of Rapid City: www.rcgov.org/
  87. Jack's Campers: www.jackscampers.com
  88. Belle Fourche School District 9-1: www.bellefourche.k12.sd.us/
  89. Meade School District: meade.k12.sd.us/
  90. Sencore: www.sencore.com/
  91. GameBirdHunts: www.gamebirdhunts.com
  92. Sturgis Motorcycle Rally: www.sturgismotorcyclerally.com/
  93. Children's Care Hospital and School: www.cchs.org/
  94. Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science: www.washingtonpavilion.org/
  95. Brookings Public Schools: brookings.k12.sd.us/
  96. Madville Times: madvilletimes.blogspot.com
  97. All Black Hills South Dakota: www.allblackhills.com
  98. Spearfish School District 40-2: spearfish.k12.sd.us/
  99. PrairieWave: www.prairiewave.com
  100. Western Surety: www.westernsurety.com/


  1. Well acording to Alexa, My Blog Directory should be in the top 5 sites in South Dakota ahead of Midco but for some reason it doesn't show up in the South Dakota list. Oh well so much for some Alexa love.

  2. Do you suppose the Obama's well publicized purchase of a swing set from Rainbow Play Systems helped drive that company to #14 on the list?

  3. If anything has slowed your numbers, other than the lack of local comments via the anonymous button, it's the fact that you gravitate toward national issues more often than local issues.

    Your blog's initial focus was "news and commentary on issues affecting Lake Herman, Madison and all of the great state of South Dakota."

    Maybe there haven't been enough local issues lately to write about, other than the new flower planters on mainstreet, which is a nice addition. You'll draw more comments from local people if you focus on your statement of purpose.

  4. That local focus is important to me, and I actually toss a number of story ideas because of exactly what you mention, the desire to focus to extent possible on local issues.

    But I wonder: do you get the impression that I'm doing less local material than I did back in September, at the height of Palin-mania? As I noted, my traffic now is about the same as it was then.

    If my local focus has waned recently (and maybe I'll go count articles, see if that's true!) it could be from balancing grad school and blogging. I get an impression that in banging out the morning posts, I've been focusing more on what I can get from the 'Net and less on getting info around town. (Note the irony that it's sometimes easier to get information about Washington DC and the world than about local affairs. Maybe I need to eat lunch downtown more often.)

    I have thought that, if I wanted to generate more overall traffic, I should write even more national and international stuff that would draw more Google juice from a wider audience of searchers.

  5. You probably enjoy the intellectual stimulation you receive from reading posts of other bloggers who appreciate the written word.

    Maybe the Madison area is suffering from a slight lull in newsworthy activity that will cycle into more activity.

    It would be difficult to do all the research needed to provide balanced blogging and still maintain a family and schooling.

    I noticed your Anonymous Button is back, which will probably encourage more comments.

  6. I had a friend who was struggling unsuccessfully with the OpenID option; I figured I'd restore the anon option so she could just write a post and sign her name. The nymity policy remains in place, though: anonymi and pseudonymi still get the axe.

    Local news: maybe there is a lull... we need more elections! But if I'm missing any good local news, let me know!

  7. There isn't enough going on locally. And aren't we in touch with the world? Oh, forgot we are undiscovered. In fact Madison too often misses the broader view. Some would rather build a moat around Madison, even Cory at times. Others have that big fish small town mentality. Generations must learn too much from each other is all I gather. Yes, we have so much potential, but I'm tired of hearing just that. Put up some flower planters as a replacement for city planning? At least we have a nice water park. Better to be 10 than looking for a living wage and decent health coverage.

  8. John has some valid points. Sometimes, I sense we have several entities moving in different directions with separate goals within our community.

    Maybe it's time for a Madison Business Summit. Bring our City and County leaders together with our LAIC Director and board, our local bankers and their boards, our non-profit groups, our school district and DSU, the Chamber and its board, local contractors and developers and interested community members.

    We should hire a professional mediator like Dr. Tom Hawley for the summit and get our community's boat floating in one common direction. That is the key to our future.

    Discus and definine our major goals and drive our energy toward those goals for the next ten or twenty years. It is important that goals have accountability and are measurable.

    If we want to energize our community and truly "Discover the Unexpected", a Madison Summit would generate ideas and perhaps open our eyes to the opportunities available in the next decade.

  9. I think we need a city planner, within the city and accountable to us, not within the LAIC. That person can pull multiple elements together. Or better yet scrap the mayoral system and have a city manager that also does the city planning function. The LAIC isn't all bad, it's just not very accountable back to the taxpayer, which is a very bad thing.

  10. A Madison Business Summit? Heck of an idea, Rod! You call it, I'll blog it! We'll put it on YouTube! It'll be great! (I'm serious!)


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