Yesterday is why you shouldn’t compare month-to-month traffic

One of the things I learned early on when analyzing website traffic to law firms was that it fluctuates on a weekly, not monthly pattern – with low traffic on weekends, and high traffic on Mondays the tapers down over the work week.  Yet most agencies and law firms use monthly reporting.

Jagged traffic patterns to law firm websites.

Jagged traffic patterns to law firm websites.

Granted, monthly reporting is frankly, extremely convenient, as most vendor billing cycles are monthly as well – and most tools report on these monthly cycles as well.  Unfortunately, its extremely inaccurate.  Yesterday’s leap year day will have automagically generated an additional 3% increase in February’s 2016 vs 2015 traffic.  On a typical non-leap year, the number of days in March is 10.7% more than February.  And it’s not just February – as months have small changes in the number of days (or the number of weekends making up those days), the subtle changes hides real performance when looking at month-to-month traffic changes.

This is why we run all of our reporting on 4 week Periods…. a much more accurate approach to monitoring subtle changes in website traffic patterns (no explanations of, “well, last month only had 8 weekend days…”). It also means we sit  down with our clients 13 times a year to review benchmarks and progress, instead of the typical twelve.