Published Jan 4. 2018 - 5 months ago
Updated or edited Jan 21. 2018

The decline of GFF

No, don't worry! It's not that GFF is disappearing, but the number of visitors isn’t what it used to be.

2017-2018
2017-2018
Martin Joergensen

The most busy day ever on The Global FlyFisher was probably some day during 2014. In October 2014 we had an average of more than 17,500 unique visits per day, so the best day was probably over 20,000 unique users visiting the site. In February the same year a lower number of visitors viewed some page on GFF exactly 4,331,427 times, the most ever during one month in the history of the site.

The sky is the limit... was...

Back then that was quite amazing, and the sky seemed to be the limit. Traffic had been growing almost constantly since we started the site, and I was sure that this development would just continue. Why not? The web was growing, the number of new people getting access was growing, bandwidth and capacity was growing, mobile and wireless access was growing.
Even the site was growing, getting better, more well known, more popular, more content, more facilities.
GFF was destined to grow higher than trees and giraffes.
Well, as the title of this post indicates, it didn’t happen.
From 2014 and on, the number of visitors has been slowly and almost constantly decreasing. The numbers flutter, but these days a good day is 5,000 visitors and an over the sky day is maybe 6 or 7,000, but these don’t even occur once a month. A far cry from 20,000 a day...

Why is this?

So why has the best little fly fishing site on the Internet lost so many visitors?
Well, it’s not easy to explain, but I’ll try anyway.
First of all I’m counting differently these days. Back then we had a statistics system directly on the server, and it counted in an other way than Google Analytics does. Google Analytics is now the only statistics system that’s used in the new publishing system introduced a couple of years ago.
During a period with the old home made publishing system, I used two stats systems in parallel, and already then there was a discrepancy between what the server saw and what Google saw.
The server was way more optimistic and counted way more page views and visitors than Google – mainly because quite a few pages simply didn't have the Google code, but also because web servers tend to count more hits than outside services such as Google.

2017 in retrospect

When it comes to content on the site and what people see and use, the surprises are few as they have been most years.
In four words: videos, patterns, LeaderCalc and First Setup.
One dark horse has sneaked in, though: the tying thread table. This warms my old, nerdy heart quite a bit, because the whole tying thread project was a major task, and required a lot of work and research.
Apart from that, the all time most popular article is the beginners setup article, which excels year after year in spite of being a quick and impulsive job done many years ago.

Watering out

Another reason for the decline in numbers is probably a simple watering out of the crowd and the traffic. The absolute number of people surfing for fly fishing and fly tying content is probably stable or slightly growing, but the number of sources for such content is constantly growing.
And compared to 5-10 years ago, sites such as Instagram, Pinterest, FaceBook and YouTube are taking a larger and larger part of the traffic generated by the users.
A lot of people simply don't browse the “classic” web sites such as The Global FlyFisher, but spend a major part of their online time on social media.
Addendum: Matthew Inman of the brilliant The Oatmeal has this cartoon illustrating the process.

Google says
Google says...
Martin Joergensen

Declining interest

Another simple explanation is a declining interest in fly fishing and fly tying. And while I can now hear you silently protesting that “interest has never been higher!”, that isn't quite true I'm afraid.
Google, who pedantically monitors everything we search for, has the numbers:
During the period that they have registered, from 2004 and forwards, the highest interest in fly fishing was back in the summer of 2004 and that the “interest” in fly fishing has dropped to a quarter of that in a steady decline since then.
Now, “interest” might not be absolute numbers. Google doesn't really reveal the full nature of their stats, but it's definitely an indication of a smaller fraction of searches being for fly fishing. Searches for “fly tying” has suffered the same fate, as has searches for “fly patterns”.
So relative to what people look for on the web, our pastime is loosing foothold according to Google.

So what does this mean?

Does this mean the end of the world as we know it?
No, of course not!
The Global FlyFisher will continue to exists and I will make new functions, add new content and expand the site as always.
Currently the visitor numbers are quite stable and have been so for a couple of years, and that seems to continue. The site is still quite popular, and probably ranges in the top-10 fly fishing sites world wide when it comes to size, content and traffic.
There's no reason to change that.

No, of course not!

Emptying the office
Emptying the office
Martin Joergensen

GFF is moving

The GFF headquarters are also changing. I have been living in a rented flat in Copenhagen for 8 years after selling the house back in 2009 because I couldn't handle the stairs anymore.
The GFF office has been my office in the apartment, my daily workplace where I tender my job as a self employed consultant.
Now we have bought a house again. We're tired of dense city environment, constant noise from traffic and construction, views getting blocked by an ever growing mass of apartment buildings growing up around us.
And we're tired of the crazy rent that people charge for a flat in Copenhagen.
So my darling wife Birgitte, myself, the dog Divus - and GFF - will move to a house right outside Copenhagen.
More space, workshop, garden, birds singing, nature, water and beach nearby. And less expensive than what we pay in rent now.
My man cave will be larger and have room for both an office and fly tying, not needing to share the table space between computer and tying vise.
The move is in a week, and will probably give a small dent in the activity on the site.

But fret not, 2018 is going to be another great year for GFF!

Comments

Congratulations! A decision...

Congratulations! A decision growing inside me too. Back to a house, far from Stockholm and all the boring pikes. Back to Öresund?

Johan F.

A simple, thank you....

Thank you for being around to read. And more fly tying videos, please.

It's been 40+ degrees c for the last three days here in Adelaide, Australia, and continuing.

Congratulations on the new...

Congratulations on the new place - from what little I've seen of the area outside of Copenhagen, it is very beautiful. And, yes, thanks very much for being around to read - you're site has always had a lot of good content. I feel interest in fly fishing in general has been growing here in America, while (perhaps?) declining globally? Which is concerning. At any rate, there are many more sites now than there ever were before, and yet I still coming back to this one...

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Since you got this far …

The GFF money box
The GFF money box
Martin Joergensen

… 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.