I am troubled by the absence of social media integration on Skeptoid. While there are Facebook toolbars on the home page, there’s no twitter, instagram or imgur tabs. While there is a community present on the forums that follows each posting, there is no instant way to connect to the site. There’s also few ways for users to submit content beyond forum posting and mail-bag podcasts. If these weaknesses were remedied, I am certtain that the site would reach a broader audience and have more repeat users.
Alexa.com summarizes Skeptoid as a site that “provides a weekly podcast dedicated to furthering knowledge by eliminating the widespread pseudosciences that infect popular culture”. Skeptoid.com is ranked #130,586 in the world, according to the three-month Alexa traffic rankings. The site is in the “Critical Thinking” category of websites. Visitors to it spend about two minutes per visit to the site and two minutes per pageview. While about 54% of the site’s visitors are in the US, where it is ranked the number 47,039th site (in terms of page views). The site is also popular in Lithuania, where it is ranked 9,259. 76% of visits to the site consist of only one pageview.
Quantcast.com has the demographic breakdown of the site. It has a greater male audience than female.The site also skews to an older audience, from 35-44. More people without children use the site than people with children. The average site user is more likely to make $100-150k annually than not. The site has more Hispanic and Other ethinicity users than Caucasin, African American or Asian. The site reached its peak in January of 2012. The site’s readership is on an upward trend as of March 2013.
Navigation is something that Skeptoid could improve upon. Though the site is fairly intuitive, more attention could be given to how information is presented. The index page of the site has three broad columns of information after the site’s main banner and drop-down menus. The central column has most of the relevant information for a first time user. It tells them who Brian Dunning is, what Skeptoid’s mission is, and its accomplishments. However, having all that information presented in the dead center of the page can be intimidating to the first time user. The walls of text add to that type of structure. The argument could be made that Skeptoid is a niche site and should thus not have to worry about having an visually appealing layout. However, making the site more dynamic could increase the amount of repeat traffic, instead of a new user being linked to the site and being lost in the cascade of information on the front page. Overall, I would recommend that Dunning get a graphic designer to help him make his site more accessible.
That being said, navigation is consistent throughout the site, and the main navigation features are at the top of each webpage. I would recommend that Dunning move the “Most Popular” sidebar to the top banner with the rest of the navigation. A new user should be able to be impulsive and click on podcasts and articles that are representative of the site. The “Most Popular” podcasts and the newest ones should be illuminated more, to show that the site isn’t just text. On the other hand, all major forms of content are just one click from the main page. The “About Us”, contact, and correction pages are the first links on the top banner. The home page’s dominant headline and pictures are first an introduction to the site and Dunning. They are followed by the most recent podcasts and articles, which do have some related pictures, such as a picture of Nikola Tesla next to the podcast about him.