Published Dec 11. 2023 - 2 months ago
Updated or edited Jan 20. 2024

I stopped counting

For basically all the almost 30 years of its existence, I have been following the traffic patterns on GFF. I stopped about a year ago, and here is why.

The Global FlyFisher is a high traffic site. At least I think it is, because these days I really don’t know – and I honestly don’t care for reasons that I will cover below.

No more counting
No more counting
Martin Joergensen

In its heyday GFF was able to entice 20,000 people to visit each day looking at up to 100,000 pages altogether, and the site would typically deliver 3-4 million pages to the visitors in a month. This was back in 2014-15 and the numbers were truly impressing and a reason to be proud of the site.

But already in 2017 and 2018 I could see these numbers plummet, and the last time I measured, the numbers were more like 1-2-3,000 visitors per day and maybe a few hundred thousand pages per month in peak months.
This is more than a year ago, because I stopped counting.
Like literally stopped.
I simply removed the systems that follow visitors and track their behavior. Such systems are typically Google Analytics or other similar systems. I also used a system called OWA (Open Web Analytics), but I ditched Google because they are pure evil (in spite of what they say) and use the data from sites like GFF to track and monitor users, and stuff commercial ads and links down their throats. OWA was cut because it had some technical issues. It provided basically the same data as Google, but was hosted and controlled by me, so only I could see the data.
But they are both gone, and my life is none the worse!
I actually stopped caring about these numbers, which were once one of my main measures of success.

Fighting for traffic isn’t my battle, and I have no reason to share user data with Google or battle the technology to get the numbers. I don’t have to answer to anybody when it comes to visitors, and I have no one to share the data with like advertisers or sponsors who want proof that their money is well spent.

Fighting for traffic isn’t my battle

Google sees nothing
Google sees nothing
Martin Joergensen

I know the numbers are really low compared to earlier, and that’s the reality of life for a lot of web sites – even bigger and less niche type sites.
Visitors – you – spend more and more time in apps on the phone, on social media sites, on streaming services and places like YouTube. Less and less traffic goes directly to the core of the web – good old content driven web sites like GFF.
On top of that there’s a concept, which I call invasive content, a term that I grabbed from invasive species known from nature. Invasive content is content that doesn’t belong where you find it, and forces out the “real” content, like that on GFF. Invasive content is filling up the web, the search engines, ad space, social media and much else, and it dilutes the web content and grabs a lot of the traffic.
The purpose of this content is simply to grab the attention of users and get them to click on it, typically leading them to web shops or other more or less honest money making sites. It’s produced in bulk by people or machines, and is spread automatically into comment threads, fake “blogs”, phony review sites, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and many other places. It adds nothing new to the web, but simply just contains copies or generated text and “borrowed” images, making it appear legit and luring in search engines and users.

Fishing is more fun than counting visitors!
Fishing is more fun than counting visitors!
Birgitte Lindhart Claussen

It means that when you search for a word, term or concept that would once have led you to GFF, you are now presented with sponsored or fake content that leads you to somewhere, where money can be made from your visit – either in the form of shopping or in the form of displaying ads, which pay a kickback to the people behind. It serves no other purpose, and its content is only written to do that. It’s comments, posts, guest posts, blog entries, review ratings and even fake locations on places like Google Maps.

So fighting these Russian and Asian sweat shops, SEO-writers, AI-driven bots and whatnot is a battle against wind mills. It’s not worth fighting.

As I wrote in a recent interview: “My criteria for success is that I’m having fun, I’m happy with the content, and that I get positive feedback from people in the form of mails and comments – and goodwill at gatherings, shows and when I fish and meet people face-to-face.”

So, I won’t know how many people will read this, and that’s OK.
I got it off my chest, and that’s good enough for me.

And just to remind us of why we're here: a fly by the water.

A Sea Trout March Brown
Martin Joergensen

Comments

Stay cool...

Well written. One more reason for tuning in here again. And for recommending GFF.

I was born 1962. States used to control TV. Now I can have my own weekly show and many are watching from around the globe. Super cool. Websites made many magazines redundant. Mail order catalogues turned into mainstream shopping -mobile first. Analytics.

But interesting stuff is often found in niche places. Nothing is new about this.
If GFF is to cater for the big crowds it will have to adopt. Not being niche. Not being cool.

Serge's picture

Don’t loose your time…good idea!...

Don’t worry, Google won’t loose anything cause you stop counting. If this free time give birth to + 1 publication per year or more time with Brigitte and/or fishing, well we all gain here. Obviously , more time for you and your love is first. Take care Martin.

Serge
Canada

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Since you got this far …


The GFF money box

… I have a small favor to ask.

Long story short

Support the Global FlyFisher through several different channels, including PayPal.

Long story longer

The Global FlyFisher has been online since the mid-90's and has been free to access for everybody since day one – and will stay free for as long as I run it.
But that doesn't mean that it's free to run.
It costs money to drive a large site like this.

See more details about what you can do to help in this blog post.