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User Fields and Some Statistics


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I had posted some of this info in the Moderators forum but are now bringing it out to registered users. It is posted here in the Governing Bodies forum so it is only visible to registered users and may help to explain a few things.

 

After doing some small analysis of the site I am now thoroughly convinced that the site is in what I would call "No Man's Land"

 

The site needs to differentiate itself from any other of its kind and to do so we need to have a lot of "extra" information, resources and features. This is why I started the Resource Section and hopefully I can build that up as a valuable resource to users.

 

A couple of years ago the site took a big dive in usage (at least 20%) when the RAAus issues with registrations and the financial crises hit. Many recreational aviators were selling up, and still are, which impacted the site dramatically. Just prior to this the site had stagnated with almost no growth however we were constantly hitting around 400 registered users logging in per day and around 2,500 unique visitors per day. The bounce rate was around 25% and the time on site spent was around 10mins average per visitor.

 

The site then went downhill over a period of 6 months due to the external issues.

 

Here are some graphical statistics:

 

1. Firstly the daily logged in users over the last month:

 

2.jpg.74bbb33667fb8ae5b57b59722e29031b.jpg

 

2. The daily logged in users over the last 9 months:

 

3.jpg.3a00396af2fe5603a4ca4f9c0b2569c3.jpg

 

We can see that very slow growth has come back out of the previous collapse. Prior to the collapse we were constantly seeing 400+ users logging in every day and we have clawed back from the drop, from around 200+, to now 350+ however it has taken 2 years to get to it...and 9 months from 300+ to 350+. Remember prior to the drop we basically did not grow for a couple of years and my thought was possibly market saturation but I couldn't prove if I was correct.

 

Number of posts and threads have not basically changed in the last 9 months.

 

3. Now here is the bigger picture...the visitor analysis:

 

4.jpg.12523b135d85917d1dc9d199dd5b55a0.jpg

 

From an initial no growth period prior to the collapse where we were constantly at 2,500 to 3,000 unique visitors per day we dropped to an average just below 2,000 with absolutely no growth in the last 9 months.

 

We can also see that from a pre collapse period we were getting around 85% of visitors from Australian located devices, now it has dropped to 75% and the bounce rate has increased from 25% to 37% and the time on site has decreased from 10+mins to 7mins.

 

"Don't fix something that's not broke"...well the site IS broke, and whilst external factors are playing a large part of it, we need to consider what can be done to fix it and try and protect it from the external factors i.e. the Resources Section is a start

 

Now the reason why I am saying "No Man's Land" is that the figures are showing me that the site lacks an identity or direction. The push to make it more global is working however it is extremely slow but also adversely impacted by the content being Australian dominated...hence the bounce rate, time on site etc, 75% AUS, 10% USA, 3% UK etc. We are increasing our International visitors but the site content is driving them away whilst at the same time our AUS visitors have decreased from 85% to 75%. There is no easy fix for this and to push faster for global use will be a huge risk in causing extremely long term damage to the site, a risk I am not prepared to take. So the site is at its crossroads, it's in No Man's Land.

 

So some hard decisions and actions need to be taken however the only way the right ones can be taken is by having information. In the past I have tried surveys, polls etc to either very little effect of costly endeavors. The only way was to be cruel to be kind and force users to provide the information needed to improve the site for them. The forced User Fields was able to achieve this and now I have that information the site has returned back to the way it was prior to the forced user field information gathering exercise i.e. the forced user fields have been removed.

 

I want to take this opportunity to thank 99% of all users for their understanding in helping me to help them and for taking what this resource is trying to do in helping all recreational aviators, seriously...this is not just a useless chat forum but a powerful resource dedicated to help and support, and trying to help keep you safe, in your flying endeavors.

 

Next week I hope to analyse all this new information and combine it with the information I already have and formulate strategies to get this resource out of No Man's Land and to the greatest dedicated resource tailored exactly to its audience.

 

Initial analysis is showing that the site needs to remove the global concept from it and create a different outside of this site, strategy. My gut feeling on what I have seen so far is that the site should return home to Australia and with resources, tools, aircraft, articles etc targeting just the Australian and New Zealand domain. For example Australian Plain English Weather, Aust and NZ Clubs and Schools, Aircraft available in Australia and New Zealand, more marketing directly to Aust and NZ resources etc etc etc.

 

Once I have analysed the huge amount of new information that the User Fields provided I will post those findings and again, I want to thank all of the 99% of users for their help and support in providing that greater information in the user fields which will come back and help and support them.

 

Thanks!

 

 

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Here is another graph showing new user registrations however this one is per week and over 2 years:

 

5.jpg.3f018d80c49e346e7b04ff8b8b16f469.jpg

 

You can see the decline caused by those external issues and then stabilising

 

 

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Ian, one of the things that irritates me about the site, is the need to keep repeating various messages. Over the time I've been using the site, there have been a number of threads that produced information that was worth converting to an indexed reference. However, new arrivals have no way to look that information up, other than by browsing endlessly through the history. Therefore, one possibility you may perhaps like to consider, would be a topic index, for your moderators to use to allow visitors to use the site as a reference source.

 

 

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A good indexing system would make the site a reference site and bring people back again and again to look up helpful data.

 

At the present time this is missing, so they move on.

 

In a number of cases big threads on the same subject have, after months reached the same conclusions.

 

 

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Thanks DL, I purchased some software that enhanced the search facility of the site making search very powerful. Normally the search on sites like this are limited to 4 character words and will display all instances of any of the greater than 4 character words in the results. The search on Recreational Flying doesn't limit the number of characters and in fact will search for complete phrases and then prioritise the results display to closest match. It can even use wildcard characters

 

A very powerful search engine

 

I can't force people to search before posting

 

A form of reference list like a Q&A list with links to threads would be huge and would still require users to search the reference list but also as time goes by with new users joining the site every day, new threads on old subjects can get a different perspective to them. It is also commonly known, in fact I was reading about this just the other day, that the death of forums occur as they get older because every subject relating to the subject of the forum gets covered over the years.

 

You do have a great suggestion, just need to give it some thought on how, if possible, it can be done without adverse impacts and possibly what other alternatives there may possibly be

 

 

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I have been able to do the analysis of users on the site and the results are very interesting. They show the site has evolved over the last 10 years considerably since its first inception. I am not sure whether I am happy or not with the findings but will need to mull them over for a little while.

 

Overall users with an RAAus certificate whether it be RAAus only or with a PPL or Commercial is 65% (excluding RAAus students)

 

Overall users that are with Other Australian Recreational License is 5%

 

Now taking all the options the percentages are:

 

41.2% RAAus

 

17.6% PPL and RAAus

 

8% Student

 

8% PPL

 

7% Enthusiast

 

6% Commercial and RAAus

 

4% Other Australian Recreational

 

3% Non Australian Recreational

 

2.5% Commercial

 

1% Commercial and Non Aust Recreational

 

1% PPL and Non Australian Recreational

 

0.7% PPL and Other Australian Recreational

 

73% of registered users come from Australian based devices yet 85% of visitors come from Australian devices

 

What are your thoughts on these figures

 

 

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You are getting ~12% of users looking without being either registered, or logged in. I suspect that this figure is not enough to substantially sway the distribution unless there was some rationale for it (eg CPL holders are less likely to want to be identified - probably a bit of a stretch).

 

What is says to me is that despite the use of the word "Recreational" in the name, the majority of users are "RA-Aus" users rather than "recreational" users. The majority of RA-Aus users explains pretty well the decline following the organisation debacles of recent years. If you want to attract PPL and CPL users, I guess you would need to work out where they currently are and deliver resources and content that would attract them to the site. At the risk of turning away the core of the users here already, of course....

 

Another thought leading on from Dayfdd's - perhaps mods could at least tweak titles of threads when they have the spare time (offer them a 50% payrise maybe 015_yelrotflmao.gif.6321765c1c50ed62b69cf7a7fe730c49.gif) to help with searching. Titles like "Another Jab Goes Down" is much more difficult to find in the future than "Jabiru accident 01/01/01".

 

 

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You also might want to add to that that like all forum sites out there many users come and go. Some sites that may boast 20,000 users could only have 2,500 current users. I knew a site that had around 20,000 registered users but many had come and gone and no longer use the site which is why it was lucky to get only 1 post per day. On a search of the 10,000 odd users registered here at Recreational Flying almost half have not logged in to the site in the last 2 years. So in reality we only have around 5,000 users.

 

The site is now over 3gig of files and the database is over 600meg, all making it a lot more time consuming each week to back it up, download it, extract the files and import the database on my PC to verify. It now takes 2hrs every Friday. So with this in mind plus many email addresses are no longer current to send out reminders, I may possibly delete those 5,000 old users and clean up many of the real old posts that don't add any value (i.e. general chit chat ones).

 

 

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I wonder if you could generate the equivalent of a book index. That is not the same as a DB of words used because many of the words used will be just general usage and not something people might be interested in tracking down. What about access to an aviation dictionary, and creating an index of posts (or more accurately threads) where aviation terms are used above some threshold.. This in some ways is really the same as the search engine, but it needs you to put the word in to the search engine to get the results, an index of A-Z by aviation word might well be a way of presenting the same info in a way that might be more useful.

 

Andy

 

P.S Ian, I wonder if the amount of posts and visits have plateaued out because the RAAus organisation is relatively stable. For example in reviewing the new members per week its clear that when we were suddenly grounded there was significantly enhanced interest in the site because if you didn't get info here you didn't get anything....

 

Maybe we need a new revolution!!!! (Just joking....NO REALLY just joking!!)

 

 

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Andy, I have already started doing some things and new user registrations have suddenly started to climb again. Needless to say that there is a lot of work for me to do over the next 3 months and I am open to all suggestions...first I need to ascertain what direction to take for the site and all this info is helping to create a picture that will help.

 

 

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If you want to attract PPL and CPL users, I guess you would need to work out where they currently are and deliver resources and content that would attract them to the site. At the risk of turning away the core of the users here already, of course....

Unlike RA-Aus members, most PPL's and CPL's don't really have a place to call `home' (even though the RAA house seems a bit like a leaky tent at times) so maybe that has something to do with it. There is no one place to find them, and I doubt that they would identify with CASA as home base. If they belong to any groups at all I suspect it's typically organisations like aero clubs and the various SAAA chapters, but SAAA mainly captures the homebuilders and they are also a minority group within the general PPL/CPL population.

 

PPL's don't get paid and they fly for fun, so they are recreational flyers by definition. Their planes are typically not that much different to many of the RAA aircraft either, so I'm not sure how or why you would alter the site content to appeal more to that specific group. CPL's probably have a different outlook by and large, because they are mainly professional fliers, but even so there are some well known exceptions to that rule here too. I happened to stumble across this site by accident and stayed because it's an interesting place. The discussions are often informative, usually entertaining and sometimes augumentative, which is almost as good. It's also a good place to keep informed about what's happening around the country and in Australian aviation generally. I think the site does a good job already and I'm sure it would attract more PPL's if more PPL's knew it existed.

 

rgmwa

 

 

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I have been concerned about the Jab bashing that goes on in the site so I have just finished an analysis of users that have put Jabiru in their aircraft field. There has been a reduction from 22% down to 14% and most of the reduction has come from users that haven't logged in to the site for a long time.

 

So whilst content makes up the site, the content posted by some users can drive many users away thus destroying a site. However, if we clamp down on that in moderation then word goes out that moderation is heavy also thus destroying a site.

 

 

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There's an idea. I'll start a Lycoming bashing thread to cater for the PPL's and CPL's if you like Ian. That should attract a few.

 

rgmwa

 

 

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There's an idea. I'll start a Lycoming bashing thread to cater for the PPL's and CPL's if you like Ian. That should attract a few.rgmwa

Yeah, I can contribute. My Piper Archer got a crack in the crankcase and cost me a ship load.

 

 

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I have been concerned about the Jab bashing that goes on in the site so I have just finished an analysis of users that have put Jabiru in their aircraft field. There has been a reduction from 22% down to 14% and most of the reduction has come from users that haven't logged in to the site for a long time.So whilst content makes up the site, the content posted by some users can drive many users away thus destroying a site. However, if we clamp down on that in moderation then word goes out that moderation is heavy also thus destroying a site.

My observation for what is worth:

 

1. When someone has a problem they post it in the expectation of getting a sensible discussion and to hear from people who have experienced something similar and can offer a sensible answer or solution. The repeated same old hatred of a product from those who (a) don't have and (b) will never have is of no interest to someone seeking advice. I know it is an open forum and anyone is entitled to their opinion but people (like myself) get sick of hearing the same crap from the same people . I get rid of the repetition by selecting the ignore button, but I know quite a few who just refuse to put up with it.

 

Even negative posts are informative when they come from a LAME (e.g deadstick) quoting actual findings not just hearsay and "I know a person who knows someone who read etc"

 

Everyone knows the 6 or 8 that have some belief that their knowledge or thoughts are the only ones that count.

 

"Most" people are helpful, quoting from their actual experiences, and then the opinionated take over with nothing new.

 

I realise I am not offering any solution, just offering my observations.

 

2. In a previous format one could select what came up in the "what's new" selection. I know nothing about what is involved with this function, but I found it very useful in only getting that information that you were interested in.

 

 

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I agree with Frank, i know a few Jabiru owners who dont bother asking questions here because it always ends in the same place

 

Natural thinking says if you dont own or like a certain item you dont visit or comment about it, somehow the Jabiru content becomes filled with those who know little about them passing opinion

 

No idea how to control it though but it does end up with constrained discussion and visitors/ owners felling discouraged. Why revisit that site?

 

 

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Agree Frank & Jetjr - That was another reason for asking the question of Admin if there was an ignore button for a thread. When it just becomes a bashing issue (of any thing or any person) we can just ignore that thread after hitting the "What's New?" button.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Some interesting site stats over the last month. Firstly the average number of registered users logging in per day has now increased to around 400...up from 350 a couple of months ago.

 

But what is interesting is the locations and technology being used:

 

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1.jpg.b7d0f8fcee96721beb7b400e860f0d84.jpg

 

2.jpg.c642a93f0102b8c718b2c6fd68545435.jpg

 

3.jpg.fa26d2c4b5305319b9d06f1d3384598c.jpg

 

4.jpg.a31c9cd254e82190afa093bdb13536a6.jpg

 

5.jpg.1109754e0902adcdd5edf2d54096bc21.jpg

 

 

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