"Count what is countable. Measure what is measureable. What is not measureable, make measureable." -- Galileo

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Blank Spots in the Week

Last week I took a brief look at some Plone demographics along with some pageview observations. Tonight I'm taking a gander at the periodicity of visits to Plone.org. Here's the graph of visits over time.

I've identified the maximum (A) and two minima (B). The maximum is easily explained--Tuesday August 21, 2007 was the rollout date for Plone 3.0. The minima are also easily explained--the annual December holidays, Christmas through New Year's.

What of the sawtooth pattern? Its the weekly periodicity of activity. Week in and week out, Plone visitors peak early (Monday or Tuesday) and taper off significantly on Saturday and Sunday.

The hourly data (below) show an up-tick beginning at midnight with another rise around 0700. (All times are Google Standard Time, that is, -0700 GMT.) That first rise coincides with Europe going to work and the second bump begins as the eastern seaboard of the Americas gets going. Things taper off as the west coast closes up shop.

From all this we can conclude that the general Plone population of visitors are not overwhelmingly hobbyists. Both annual and weekly patterns support the view that working professionals are using Plone.org with down time for weekends and annual holidays. The hourly data reinforce this with the pattern matching that of the working hours for Plone's largest populations, Europe and the Americas.

My last observation is the remarkable consistency in visits. There's no need for regression on that first figure--its obvious to the eye. Plone.org visits have been incredibly steady, except for the periodicities noted above, ever since data has been tracked by Google Analytics.

For those who look at Google trends and claim that Plone is declining and becoming a niche player in the CMS market, this is the strongest data I've seen that refutes that position. Plone.org visits over time show a strong and consistant population of visitors, the majority of which are professional.

Furthermore, one would expect most visits for support (see last week's post) to occur during the development of new sites. As sites enter stable production mode and support visits drop off, other new sites must be cropping up to replace them. The horizontal trend line of Plone.org visitors is an indicator that new sites are being created at a fairly steady rate over a several year period.

For those who would argue that the horizontal trend is simply the same band of loyalists hitting the site day after day, stay tuned. More to come on visitor loyalty in my next post, as I continue to probe Plone.org's statistics.

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