The State of Modern Rifleman: Q2 2016

Jumping into July means the close of yet another quarter here at Modern Rifleman. As I like to do every three months, it is time to step back and take a look at the site’s quarterly progress. These regular health checks are important to Modern Rifleman because they allow me to focus on particularly successful articles and trends that may be worth pursuing in the coming months. Moreover, they provide potential (and current) partners with some transparency that could be useful in future advertising decisions.

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Coming off of an immensely successful Q1 2016, I will admit that I wasn’t sure the growth was sustainable. Typically, the industry lulls somewhat during the spring and summer months. If people aren’t purchasing as many firearms, they generally aren’t reading about them either. From January through March, viewership declined around 15% and my expectation was that it would continue into April and May. I was only 50% correct.

After April failed to eclipse 20,000 views (19,065), May came back strong with 24,064 views in total. Three key articles/topics were responsible for this impressive rebound: NRA Annual Meetings coverage, the ATF 29P announcement, and Silencer Shop’s new kiosk system. May’s momentum continued into June, which obliterated Modern Rifleman’s previous best month (January 2016) by posting 30,900 total views. As we get closer to November’s elections, I expect traffic to continue to grow, but June’s performance was driven in large part by uncertainty after the Orlando terrorist attack, SilencerCo’s undermining of Silencer Shop’s kiosks, and Modern Rifleman’s review of Rugged Suppressors’ immensely popular Obsidian 45.

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The site’s success in May and June helped to make Q2 2016 another monster quarter. In total, Q2 views topped 74,000. Combined with Q1’s 65,586 views, Modern Rifleman has been seen over 139,615 times in 2016. For reference, 2015’s total viewership was just 131,623.

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Because June was such a strong month, Modern Rifleman’s current Alexa rankings are very favorable. Amazon’s service uses the past 30 days for its calculations, so keep in mind that these numbers vary considerably over the course of the year. Still, at 180,596 in the United States, the site has significantly improved itself compared to Q1’s 417,613.

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I’ve said it before, but reviews are overwhelmingly responsible for Modern Rifleman’s continued traffic growth. As you can see from the quarter’s top ten listing above, only two of the featured pieces are not reviews. It is also worth noting that with ATF 41F on the horizon, interest in suppressors is growing. Half of the quarter’s most popular articles focused on silencers in some way. The valuable partnership between Modern Rifleman and Silencer Shop continues to bear fruit.

Moving into Q3, I still have several projects on the docket. I also have four suppressor reviews queued up that simply need to be written. Though it won’t be easy, I look forward to the challenge of beating Q2’s impressive showing.

As always, thank you to those who have stopped by. Modern Rifleman’s readers and followers throughout the social media universe keep this project interesting and worthwhile.

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