4 Years of 7 Tutorials - Lots of Work, Changes and (Mostly) Good Results

We have so much work to do these days that we barely found the time to breathe and take a look at our fourth year of existence. Lots has changed since we celebrated 3 years of 7 Tutorials and almost everything has changed for the better. If you would like to learn how well we did or you just want to say "Happy Birthday!", don't hesitate to read this summary.

The Key Numbers - Subscribers, Traffic, Browsers, Countries

I would like to start with the subscribers we have for each important content distribution channel:

  • RSS subscribers: 1672 vs 1162 (at the end of our third year) - a 44% increase
  • E-mail subscribers: 905 vs 858 (at the end of our third year) - a 5% increase
  • Facebook fans: 1500 vs 1037 (at the end of our third year) - a 44 % increase
  • Windows 8 app users: this is a new subscription channel that grows quickly for us. Even though it was launched at the beginning of 2013, the app has already been downloaded 626 times.

This year, email was a slow growth segment for us but social is growing fast. Also, it really surprised us how popular the 7 Tutorials Windows 8 app is. Despite what others say, developing apps for Windows 8 can help websites build a larger subscriber base.

Next, let's talk some traffic numbers for the fourth year:

  • Visits: 3,298,142 vs 2,075,658 (at the end of our third year) - a 58% increase
  • Unique visitors: 2,982,499 vs 1,832,147 (at the end of our third year) - a 63% increase
  • Pageviews: 6,344,130 vs 4,378,774 (at the end of our third year) - a 45% increase

Traffic Statistics for 7 Tutorials

On average per month, our site received 274,845 visits from 248,541 unique visitors and it was viewed 528,677 times.

If you look on the graph below you can see that we started our fourth year strongly. The traffic was growing steadily but, at the start of 2013, Google continued with their algorithmic changes.

Traffic Statistics for 7 Tutorials

Unfortunately we got hit by Google, again, quite strongly. We find this ironic since we invested only in doing good things, as we always do. We don't do any black hat Search Engine Optimization, we don't copy content from elsewhere and we made the whole website a lot better than it used to be. It goes to show how wrong algorithms can be.

In terms of traffic sources, we continue to depend a lot on search. Therefore, each time Google penalizes us, it strongly impacts our traffic and revenues stats.

Traffic Statistics for 7 Tutorials

78.5% of our traffic came from search engines and 10.3% from referrals. 9.8% of our traffic was from direct visits, while our campaigns (RSS + email) brought 1.4% of our traffic.

In terms of the technologies used by our visitors, some important changes have happened in terms of the browsers they use. In our third year, Firefox was the dominant browser. Now it has fallen badly to number 3.

Traffic Statistics for 7 Tutorials

Google Chrome has the crown of the most used web browser on 7 Tutorials while Internet Explorer is a strong second.

In terms of operating systems, well... we are a site that writes only about Windows. It is only natural that Windows users visit our website. In terms of the version they use, the stats are very interesting. As expected, Windows 7 is the most used operating system. Windows XP is second place and Windows 8 is a very close third.

Traffic Statistics for 7 Tutorials

We expect the percentage of Windows 8 users visiting 7 Tutorials to grow as we continue to publish content that is relevant to Windows 8 users.

Mobile is a strong growth segment so we took a look at how many of the visits we receive are from mobile devices (including tablets). Only 6.79% of the visits being made were from mobile devices. I'm sure this percentage will grow in future years.

Traffic Statistics for 7 Tutorials

The top 5 countries from which we receive the most traffic have remained the same: USA, UK, India, Canada and Australia. Only the top 6 to top 10 countries have changed since last year.

Traffic Statistics for 7 Tutorials

Top 5 Most Read Articles

The list with the top 5 most popular articles published on our website has changed quite a lot this year, as well as the top 10:

  1. Top 10 Best Mouse Cursor Schemes for Windows
  2. The Top 7 Screen Savers for Windows in 2012
  3. How to Connect to Hidden Wireless Networks in Windows 7
  4. How to Install Windows 8 RTM on Your Computer
  5. Transfer Files via Bluetooth Between Phones & Windows 7 PCs

In the top 10 there are also some Windows 8 articles that do spectacularly well.

Highlights - Prizes for our Readers

As usual, we also organized a couple of giveaways. With the help of some generous sponsors, we gave the following prizes to our readers: licenses of ESET Smart Security 6, a license of Office 365, licenses of Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 and a couple of geeky books published by O'Reilly Media.

Highlights - A Year of Change

We continued making lots of changes and improvements to our website:

  • We invested in a complete redesign of our website. 7 Tutorials looks a lot better than in the past and it is easier to navigate.
  • Our website now uses responsive design that adapts itself automatically to the device you are using to browse it. It looks great on HD displays as well as on smartphones.
  • We made many performance and security improvements in the backend. The internal site search works better and it returns more useful results than it did in the past.
  • We invested in our first Windows 8 app so that we offer a new way of keeping in touch with what we write. If you use our app, you can see the latest updates directly on your Start screen.
  • We implemented a new anti-spam module from Solve Media, that's less frustrating to use, compared to traditional captcha systems.
  • We are publishing more original content than ever before. We practically doubled the number of articles published each week.
  • We co-authored and published two new books with Microsoft Press: Windows 8 Step by Step and Microsoft Office Professional 2013 Step by Step.
  • We expanded into Windows Phone and Windows 8. Our aim is to become a website fully dedicated to the Windows ecosystem, for consumers and home users. If you use Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows Phone, we are the website you should read for tutorials and how-to guides.
  • We have more regular series of articles than ever before. We publish weekly episodes with Windows themes, weekly recaps with the best articles and news for Windows and Windows Phone users as well as reviews for security solutions. Our Security for Everyone series uses one of the most comprehensive testing procedures you will ever find in security reviews.

As you can see, we have made many good changes to 7 Tutorials. It is a shame that Google doesn't appreciate them though and decided to penalize our website, again. But, this only means that there are even more things we can improve. We will continue to learn and do an even better job at providing high quality tutorials to all our readers.

What is Next?

We do have some good ideas and lots of good work is underway:

  • We will continue our collaboration with Microsoft Press and publish other titles, including Windows 8.1 Step by Step. We have other book ideas and projects in discussion, also with other publishers. More will be shared when appropriate.
  • We plan to develop a 7 Tutorials app for Windows Phone, so that readers can stay up-to-date with our content also on their Windows Phones.
  • We will continue to improve our website: from the way we do Search Engine Optimization, to how we write articles and how often. Hopefully, will will also find the time to make further improvements in the backend of our website.

Tell Us YOUR Opinion

That's pretty much it. I hope you found this to be a good and complete summary. If you have any questions about our activity, don't hesitate to leave a comment. Also, do share what you think about our work, the way we evolved and what else you would like to read here at 7 Tutorials. We are listening!

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About the Author: Ciprian Adrian Rusen
I love technology and I work in IT for more than a decade. I am the co-founder of Digital Citizen and its chief editor. Alongside my work as an editor, I am also an author. I have written and published 7 books, most of them about Microsoft products and technologies. They are translated into more than 12 languages. In 2014, I have been recognized by Microsoft for my technical expertise and involvement in the community with the title of Microsoft MVP - Windows Consumer Expert.