On Less Wrong traffic and new users -- and how you can help

byKevin9y31st May 201031 comments

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This is a breakdown of Less Wrong's recent new user traffic, data sourced from the Less Wrong Google Analytics account.

67% StumbleUpon
16% Google
5.4% Reddit
3.6% Hacker News
3% Harry Potter story
0.7% Facebook
0.3% Overcoming Bias
4% "The Long Tail"

The 16% for Google is artificially high because many of those hits are users that are using Google as an address bar by searching for Less Wrong.

So we get an order of magnitude more traffic from Stumble Upon than anywhere else -- sometimes thousands of new users a day. Stumble Upon has been Less Wrong's biggest referrer of new users from the beginning of the site. That was surprising to me and I suspect it is also surprising to you. Some of our very best users, like Alicorn, came from Stumble Upon.

Why does it matter?
Imagine your life without Less Wrong... now realize that the overwhelming majority of humans go through their entire lives without ever thinking of Bayesianismfallacies, how to actually change your mind, or even philosophical zombies. Seriously, try to picture your life without Less Wrong. An article that recently made the rounds on the internet claimed that one real way to make yourself happier was to imagine your life without something that you liked. 
We try to take existential risk seriously around these parts. Each marginal new user that reads anything on Less Wrong has a real chance of being the one that tips us from existential Loss to existential Win.

What can you do?

  1. Sign up for Stumble Upon and start "thumbs up'ing" or likeing LW articles that you sincerely like and want to recommend to others. You could start by stumbling one of my favorite Less Wrong articles on the power of a superintelligence and the real meaning of making efficient use of sensory information.

    In order to get maximum Stumble power, you can't just stumble LW articles and only LW articles. You need to use Stumble Upon for a minute or two every now and then and vote up or down the random links it gives you. I know, it's annoying, but what are a few dust specks when we are talking about saving the world?
  2. Help our Google traffic by linking to Less Wrong using the word rationality. Less Wrong is the best web site out there on rationality. We should rank #1 on Google for rationality, not #57. At this point in Google's metaphorical paperclipping of the web, some evidence of effort going into increased inbound links is a sign of a high-quality site.
  3. When you stumble something on Less Wrong you like or post a link to Less Wrong on the greater Internet, post here. You will be rewarded with large amounts of karma and kudos. Also, cake.

Thanks to Louie for help with this post.