By on December 20, 2008

Misery loves this company. When the bailout was announced, when TTAC unveiled its Ten Worst Autos for 2008, the website got a nice little lift. As is the way of things here, our traffic had plateaued for the last couple of weeks (albeit at a gratifying 32kish unique visitors per day). The two posts helped boost TTAC traffic to 940,481 uniques per month (upm). Although the holiday will take us back down a bit, it’s the first time we’ve been within spitting distance of 1m upm. At the same time, we’ve maintained our “stickiness;” the average TTAC visitor hangs around for 4:12. And while I’m trotting-out our Google Analytica, that same average visitor clicks on 3.82 pages; he/she and his/her brethren racked-up 3,595,809 pages this month. OK, that’s that. At the same time, we’ve taken on board your suggestions for improving content. We’ve stopped bashing other websites, sold our trademark “Or not” to Autoblog, eschewed T&A and shit-canned the “TTAC Called It” breast beating. We’ve added more [non-financial] automotive flava. By the new year, daily podcasts will return. To improve loading times (a source of reader irritation) and (frankly) increase our page views, we’re going to cut our home page down to ten items. Meanwhile, I’d like to thank you all– writers and readers alike– for taking TTAC from zero to 940,481 in six years. If you have any more suggestions for improvement, please leave them below. While our dedication to telling the truth about cars is non-negotiable, we’re always open to new and better ways to realize our mission.

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35 Comments on “Housekeeping! TTAC Knocking On 1m Unique Visitors Per Month...”


  • avatar
    toxicroach

    While the whole domestic mess is probably going to provide fodder for another year or two, start looking for something to keep those viewers once the situation has resolved itself one way or the other. Your car reviews are nice but they aren’t 1000000 views a month nice.

  • avatar

    From my repeated casual observation your server’s page items load swiftly. It is your banner ad provider who is dragging your load times down like the proverbial concrete shoes on a Jersey gangster. Run an ad filter in your browser and “pop” … TTAC loads like a snap. I realize that cutting those ads would be biting the hand that feeds you however.

    Keep up the good work.

    –chuck

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    +1 for Chuck. If you watch the lower left corner of the browser you can see what is taking so long, it is usually the adserver.

  • avatar
    carsRock

    hire an editor. do any blogs have people read this content before it goes out? there are lots of strange errors, even in this article.

    thx for making the site go faster..

    do more competitive tests, do more auto related interviews (race drivers, car designers, sales people), create more unique varied stories, get the viewers to talk about cars somehow too, have a weekly ‘letter to the editor’ sort of thing..

  • avatar

    other sites offer far easier access and better display of threads, offering longer lasting discussions and wider participation.

    however, the reporting and critical analysis here is top notch. cheerleaders aren’t too shabby either.

  • avatar

    1)Get a Facebook Membership.
    2)Create a Facebook Group.
    3)Start a Twitter Account.
    4)Autopopulate that Twitter account with TwitterFeed.
    5)You can also populate the updates on your Facebook with a feed from this site.
    6)You might create your own Favorites Channel by making a YouTube Account, esp. if you have vids you’ve shot.
    7)Create a basic MySpace page.
    8)Don’t know how easy it is to throw feed items to MS, though.
    9)Create a StumbleUpon page. -I’d love to see which sites You like.
    10)Put an Amazon Books widget down the side. -I’d Really Love to see what Books + Movies you like. Now, Recent, Must Reads, etc.
    11)Perhaps put AddThis Bookmark Aggregator widgets on the page, so it’s 1 step easier to add to any bookmarking service or online feed reader.
    12)Maybe a Flickr Group.
    13)Favoriting/Rating of Articles. to facilitate->
    14)Reader Faves List (3-5) in the sidebar

    (in addition to twitterfeed, hellotxt can do a few things, too)

  • avatar
    tesla deathwatcher

    Do less self-examination. You’ve got a good site. Why so much eagerness to change it?

  • avatar
    Robert Frankfurter

    Add on the sideline:
    Most commented items.
    Aside that – its perfect.
    I love TTAC as it is

  • avatar

    willman – There’s already a TTAC group/page on Facebook.

  • avatar
    cynder

    I was pretty angry at the site a month or so ago about the increasingly negative tone and regular name calling leading up to the election and the post-election cycle. It seems everything has calmed down a bit and most of the name calling and chest-beating has stopped.

    I appreciated the site for it’s no holds-barred reviews, editorials and perspective on the industry. Less-so for the testosterone fueled aggression aimed at sites and people who shared different viewpoints.

    Like clearacil on acne, TTAC should remain an aggressive counter to clear up the hype, the spin and the untruths that have become rooted in the automotive industry. After all, we just want manufacturers to build cars that are safe, improve the driving experience and don’t exchange long-term viability for short-term interests.

    I’m excited to see what TTAC does in the next year!

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    TTAC is one of the fastest-loading sties I visit, as mentioned above, the only thing that takes long to load are the ads. Cutting down the number of articles on the front page is not a good idea.

    Also, the number of pictures of scantily-clad girls should be drastically reduced, if not eliminated. Many of us browse from work, and although I love seeing half naked girls as much as the next guy, I don’t love the idea of one of my co-wokers walking by and seeing the pictures. Plus, there are millions of other places to go online to see fully naked girls, so I don’t see what those pics are adding to the TTAC experience

    And as Buickman said, longer-lasting discussions would be great. Once a thread falls off the front page, comments almost immediately stop. I know you’ve discussed the idea of a forum in the past, but i’m not sure what the status of that is now.

  • avatar
    Detroit Todd

    My $0.2:

    $0.1: How about including point of assembly for vehicle reviews? Canadian Driver does it. In addition, I would suggest powertrain origins and percentage of N.A. parts content.

    Sure, not all of your readers will care, but maybe some will (especially since we all have money in the game now). At any rate, I don’t think it would be that difficult or take up too much bandwith.

    $0.1: I don’t come here to read political polemics. I do come here (among other places) to learn about cars. At times, of course, politics affects the auto industry and during those times, it’s a germane topic. But I don’t think TTAC’s mission is to hash out the differences between Keith Olbermann and Rush Limbaugh.

    For instance, the French Government Quashes Negative Report About Electric Cars thread has devolved into chauvinistic insults against the French (who helped found the U.S., by the way) and a debate on Socialism. WTF? No discussion on the merits (or lack thereof) of electric cars? It’s tiresome. While I don’t think anyone wants a nanny, gentle reminders to posters to stay on topic from time to time would go a long way, IMO.

  • avatar
    picard234

    To me, the pictures don’t always work. They usually pop up and the rest of the screen goes grey, but sometimes they open in a separate window with no witty caption.

    Also, it would be nice to be able to keep a log of comments (“last 10 comments posted” or some such thing) so that I could check back to see if anyone replied to it as opposed to having to remember which articles I commented on and sorting through it. As mentioned above, once the articles fall off the main page, there’s usually no use for this.

    Even if these things don’t change I still love the site. And I just joined the facebook group, so hopefully at least one facebook friend of mine will wonder “what the heck is this” and wander in here. Hopefully that 940,481 will become 940,482 or more.

  • avatar
    tulsa_97sr5

    I’ve been thinking for a bit now that TTAC has really hit it’s stride. Don’t listen too close to all the suggestions or you’ll end up with a 2nd gen xB.

  • avatar
    Michael Ayoub

    Like picard234, I too just joined the Facebook group.

    About the site:

    It loads plenty fast for me; in fact, (as several others have noted), it’s one of the fastest loading sites I visit.

    A comment about comments:

    When I first started reading this site (a long time ago), membership was small, as was the number of readers. Simple comments on each article worked fine.

    Now, it’s much bigger, and I think the current commenting system is a bit overwhelmed. A forum would be a fantastic addition, though I can definitely understand why you might not want to add one.

    Anyway, this is still a FANTASTIC site!

  • avatar
    Samuel L. Bronkowitz

    Can’t make everyone happy, but I appreciate that you’re trying to serve your audience.

    Frankly, I think less T&A is a big mistake… but otherwise I’m here as long as you don’t become a cheerleader like so much of the other automotive press has.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Samuel L. Bronkowitz :

    How can less T&A possibly be a mistake? This is 2008, it takes about 3 seconds for you to find free naked pics of whoever/whatever you’re into. Do you really need pics of half-naked girls foisted upon you while you read about cars too?

    Like I said, the only reason I’m against it is because I view this site from work. With nearly 1,000,000 viewers, I’m assuming I’m not the only one that doesn’t want to have to worry about browsing this site around coworkers

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    I’m with Detroit Todd: it is tiresome, even irksome, whenever people hijack a topic in a vain attempt to further their polical agenda.

    It’s so predictable: whenever a topic ever so slightly touches global warming, alternative propulsion, traffic regulation, the French, fuel conservation, politics, or whatnot, it appears that the guys who spend all day in their pyjamas come out and try to bless us with their wisdom.

    Thus, I have given up reading the comments regarding the above topical subjects. It’s like Rush L. without the humorous effect: who needs that kind of waste of time?

    It would be nice if a moderator ever so subtly told such topic-hijakers to get back to doing the dishes.

    One more thing: I dislike posts that are mostly speculative. There are so many real, reportable things happening in these exciting times. Wild-ass rumors are boring and cheapen the TTAC brand. Where’s the truth in a coulda, shoulda, woulda story?

  • avatar

    @Frank Williams: Awesome! Thanks for the link. I’ll hit that up.

    -but TTAC, Where Is the Chiclet on the Page telling me what Frank just did?

    Like this or this.

    15)+Also Commenter Of The Day/Week/Month/Year Awards like Jalopnik might be nice.

    16)++Multi-Category End of Year Awards, like the 2008 Douchies at HotChicksWithDoucheBags.com, could be fun, too.

    Note: With this post and the Flamesuit post, I just wanted to add that: It’s YOUR Way of Doing Things we all like so much.

    ->So please don’t do a reader suggestion that doesn’t fit the TTAC in some quasi-organic way; -Just because we’re smart, it doesn’t invalidate the vision you have.

    (though, I was reasonably sure you’re enough of a Crotchety Old Blighter to be like that already. ;P )

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    I agree with the commentators above who dislike the distracting lapses into low-caliber political “debates.” It really undercuts your brand. Think of it this way: When it comes to automotive discussions, you have far and away the most intelligent discussions in the blogosphere. But when the discussion turns political, it generally doesn’t rise past some pretty adolescent name calling. Obama a communist? Global warming has no scientific validity?

    I get that perhaps some (most?) TTAC staff may fall to the hard-right end of the political spectrum, but at the end of the day this is a business. If you want to keep readers who hover in the political center, then it really doesn’t help to give strident winger commentators so much latitude.

    I’d also encourage you to try a somewhat different approach to the next 10 worst contest. The latest list reads like a tired sequel — it rehashes themes instead of breaking new ground in automotive commentary. You’ve proven remarkably prescient in your basic analysis, but now it’s time to move on to the next plateau. Don’t lose your edge, folks!

  • avatar
    kamikaze2b

    Good feedback so far. I also see the site load quickly, but the ads take forever.

    As avaiable have specs from the test, I still like to see the skidpad, 1/4 and 0-60 times, or have those items in a snapshot of the vehicle at the top or bottom of the review.

    Create a TTAC forum where some of could hang out and banter back and forth, instead of using each car thread to do it. You could even have a dedicated “suggestion” thread.

    As long as the ladies are clad (even scantily) I’m fine with it.

  • avatar
    pb35

    Love the site; my only suggestion would be to incorporate some kind of “marker” for the comments section. When I come back to read the comments that I’ve browsed previously, it would be nice to know where to pick back up. For example, Fark does this with a red line.

    Otherwise, congrats on all the success and keep up the great work!

  • avatar
    obbop

    Need archive section for reviews. Humanoids seeking info/opinions, especially when considering a used conveyance, do not want to scroll through multiple pages of synopsis seeking what may not even be there.

    Segregare by make and perhaps model but show make/model/year only allowing all or most reviews to appear on one page to be selected from.

    Archives of any type can be nifty keen if the items within are of interest.

    Hit counters can inform thee what is popular, allowing unlooked-at content to be weeded out.

    A comment rating system of some type may add some interactivity to encourage folks to read and/or participate.

    The proverbial “point whores” are oft times encouraged to add their 12 cent’s worth when they are awarded those lusted-after points.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Re: Ten Worst Autos: I would suggest it be limited to the Ten Worst Newly Introduced Autos (new in the current year). That would eliminate the (seemingly perpetual) repeats from year to year.

  • avatar
    Michael Ayoub

    @obbop

    Click “Car Reviews” at the top, and then you can pick a Make and see all of the reviews of vehicles from said Make.

  • avatar

    Great changes, RF. And good to hear that the readership continues to grow.

    I do think the site would benefit from a good proofreader. Simple stuff, like the fact that “counterintuitive” is a single word. But this costs money and time.

  • avatar
    factotum

    I don’t know if this has been recommended yet: I’d like to see tags implemented here. The search function leaves a lot to be desired and the ability to find all articles having to do with “Ford” or “hydrogen” or “what-have-you” would be nice.

  • avatar

    Paul Niedermeyer :
    Re: Ten Worst Autos: I would suggest it be limited to the Ten Worst Newly Introduced Autos (new in the current year). That would eliminate the (seemingly perpetual) repeats from year to year.

    So we should make it the inverse of the Motor Trend COTY? They limit their award to cars that are new models or “significantly redesigned” for the current year, even if nothing’s been introduced that’s any improvement over what’s already out there. That’s how they ended up giving COTY to such gems as the 1997 Chevrolet Malibu, the 1995 Chrysler Cirrus, the 1988 Pontiac Grand Prix and the 1983 AMC/Renault Alliance.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    And as Buickman said, longer-lasting discussions would be great. Once a thread falls off the front page, comments almost immediately stop. I know you’ve discussed the idea of a forum in the past, but i’m not sure what the status of that is now.…

    I concur. With so many new items being added at times, active topics disappear before they have run their course. A possible fix would be a “continued” bar under the list of active topics, which could call up the next 10 or so older topics…otherwise, leave it as is!!

  • avatar
    obbop

    “Click “Car Reviews” at the top, and then you can pick a Make and see all of the reviews of vehicles from said Make.”

    Thanks for the input but…………

    “do not want to scroll through multiple pages of synopsis seeking what may not even be there.

    Segregare (sic) ]segregate]by make and perhaps model but show make/model/year only allowing all or most reviews to appear on one page to be selected from.”

  • avatar
    oldowl

    With each review list the cars owned by or leased by the reviewer.

  • avatar
    tcwarnke

    I agree with less T&A…I also view the site from work and don’t want to have to worry about what pictures are going to be on the screen

  • avatar
    bleach

    Please don’t go the myspace and youtube routes and bring in that rabble. If I wanted to read idiotic non-grammatical insults I could go to those sites or read Yahoo comments. How many times can you read “ferst!” or “1rst!” or “you sux” or “no u da beeatch”?

  • avatar
    Michael Ayoub

    @obbop

    I see. I guess I’m just really fast at scanning for things on the screen…

    But why would you rush an automobile purchase so? Just wondering.

  • avatar
    enicideme

    +1 on a sidebar listing the most recent, most-commented-on posts.

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