As December came to a close, so too did Modern Rifleman’s second calendar year of operation. As a one man operation, keeping traffic flowing to the site is largely dependent on my limited ability to keep content fresh and updates frequent. Compounding this challenge is the fact that all products that I review are personally purchased and pieces (or former pieces) of my own collection. Even so, there is no denying that 2014 was an excellent year for the site.
As the graph shown above indicates, Modern Rifleman has enjoyed relatively steady growth since mid-2013. An initial burst in readership from April through July 2013 can be attributed to the very real threat of new firearms legislation during the beginning of 2013 and Modern Rifleman’s focus on issues surrounding different, largely anti-gun, proposals. The drop in readership after this period reflects a relative drought in new material prior to focusing more on firearm and gear reviews. The most recent explosion in readership, during July 2014, is a direct result of Modern Rifleman breaking the news that US sanctions would include Russian AK manufacturer, Concern Kalashnikov.
Overall readership for an abbreviated 2013 totaled 27,114. In comparison, 2014 saw 63,475 pageviews. In terms of average daily views, this means a 74% increase (from 100 per day to 174 per day). You will certainly not be hearing any complaints from me when it comes to this solid growth.
As of publication, Modern Rifleman is the 786,710th most popular site in the US and 3,835,540 globally according to Alexa site info. Obviously, this site falls far behind more established blogs like The Truth About Guns, The Firearm Blog, and Guns.com, all of which are in the top 10,000 US sites.
Frequent visitors may have noticed that political discussions have taken somewhat of a back seat to reviews and firearms news as of late. The reasoning behind this is twofold. First and foremost, the overall threat of new anti-gun laws is a bit lower than it was when Modern Rifleman was founded. I have tried to call attention to some state-level issues that deserve attention and clarification. Secondly, reviews and previews drive more sustainable traffic. Let’s take a look at just how this shakes out:
Excluding visits to the Modern Rifleman home page, all of the top 10 articles for the past quarter are either reviews or previews/news pieces. All time traffic follows a very similar trend:
So what will 2015 mean for Modern Rifleman? I can almost certainly guarantee that this will remain a one person operation. I have no plans to seek help in publishing new content. It is likely that later in 2015, the site will need to be moved to a new hosting platform as storage space for photos and other media is starting to fill up. This would also allow us to reach out to potential advertisers, whose funding could mean more reviews. Look for these changes in the summer. In the near term, I am working on several tutorials and walkthroughs for exciting things like building ARs from the ground up, making a Form 1 suppressor, and refinishing an AK. All of these should be late winter or early spring releases.
I would like to close this post by thanking all of Modern Rifleman’s readers. Without your participation, my efforts would amount to little more than pointless ramblings. I would like to extend a special thanks to those of you who have reached out via the comments on the site and on social media, your engagement makes this place more interesting and helps to fuel me forward in this exploration of firearm politics and the finer points of guns and gear.