Average Page Views Per Visitor and Related Post Plugins

While analyzing the stats for Technology Evangelist the other day, I came across
this interesting graph reporting the average number of page views per visitor by
month:

Average Page Views Growth

It very common for a blog’s page views per visitor to hover somewhere just above
1, since people tend to arrive at a blog through a search engine, read the post
related to why they came, then leave. Or, if they hit the homepage, they can
read multiple posts while chalking up one page view.

But something changed on Technology Evangelist earlier this year, causing our
page average page views per visitor to start ramping up. Suddenly, we marched
past two pages per visitor and then beyond three in May.

Here are four theories:

1. Increased post volume. Regular visitors will visit more often if
we simply publish more stories.

2. More cross linking. There are more opportunities to link to previous articles
from new articles as the site grows larger.

3. Increase in RSS feed subscribers: regular readers keep coming back.

4. Increase in blog comments: each posted comment guarantees an additional page
view, plus potential revisits for subscribed comments.

I’m not sure which one, or which percentage of each, is making the
difference in this case yet. Care to weigh in?

However, on another blog I run on a WordPress platform, I noticed a recent spike
in page views/visit that I can tie to a specific change in the site. Here is a
graph of the change in page views per visitor:

Avg. Page Views - After Related Posts

The change? Installing a
Related
Posts plugin
. Giving people easy access to additional related content keeps
people interested longer.

Of course, this led to the installation of a
similar
plug-in on this Movable Type powered blog. This was less than smooth. First,
pages wouldn’t rebuild if there was only one post in a category. Then, it didn’t
seem to have an obvious way to create/remove a title for that sub-section of the
site page based on whether there is no other posts. It also only pulls from the
post’s primary category. So, it’s an improvement, but falls a bit short of what
the comparable WordPress version delivers.

If you have any ideas on how to conditionally display the Related Posts section
based on whether there actually are related posts,
let me
know.

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