Checking in and Checking Up on BYU Insider

byuinsider_logo_ytThis week BYU Insider celebrates its one year half-aversary (six month mark) of bringing BYU basketball and football statistics and other random info to Cougarfans the world over. This post is a sort of check-in so you can better understand who we are, what we’ve done, and what we plan on doing moving forward.  

What/who is BYU Insider?

byu_insider_nov14As explained in about me portion of the website I am not actually a BYU insider at all, not by a long stretch. I am just a passionate Cougarfan that decided to start putting some of the research I was finding (because I’m a passionate BYU fan) out on the web for others to reference. As a college professor I spend a lot of time doing internet research and have found that I’m pretty good at finding information without too much time and effort where it might take others a very long frustrating time. So when I have a question about BYU I look up the answer and now, instead of just being wiser for having more cougar stats in my head, I also post that info to benefit others.

The nature of what I post is slightly different from what you’ll find on other BYU websites or fan blogs. Information often posted on “insider”-type websites (i.e. paid subscription sites) focus on recruiting, scheduling, and professional athletes. I believe that everything “BYU sports” should be made publicly available and easy to find so those are the kinds of things that BYU Insider focuses on. I intentionally do not subscribe to such sites 1) because I am a teacher and can’t afford it and 2) because I don’t want to unknowingly violate copyright by re-posting insider information not available to the general public. That means that the information you find on BYU Insider is either my opinion or something I found on a publicly available site, message board, blog, etc.

What has worked so far?

When I started posting articles last fall I wrote about topics relevant to what was happening at that moment in BYU sports (end of football seasons/preseason basketball). However, I quickly realized that much of what I was writing was unnecessary because everyone else was writing about those kinds of current events. So I’ve played around with different things that interest me (in-depth statistical analysis, recruiting profiles, where are they now featurettes, BYU vs. Utah rivalry, etc.). I tried making a few highlight videos for basketball recruits and created a companion YouTube channel. To date I’ve written roughly 20 articles about BYU football and another 20 or so about BYU basketball. I’ve also completed player profiles for most of the basketball team and all of the current basketball recruits (those HS players that hold BYU basketball scholarship offers).

The top five articles published thus far are:

  1. Where Are They Now: Fred Roberts (BYU Basketball)
  2. A Comprehensive List of all Articles Related to BYU and Big 12 Expansion Rumors
  3. BYU Basketball Recruit: Connor Harding (Class of 2016)
  4. The Real BYU Football Class of 2015
  5. Where Are They Now: Fahu Tahi (BYU Football)

google-analyticsAnalytics. According to google analytics the site now has over 21,000 total page views from more than 10,000 readers in all 50 states and at least 82 foreign countries. A little over one third of the total readership comes from the state of Utah (with California and Texas taking the #2 and 3 spots). About 70% of all page views come as referrals or links from other websites. Most of the referral traffic comes through CougarBoard.com and CougarUpdate.com—with roughly 68% of referrals. CougarFan.com is next at 17%, and Reddit.com comes in third at 7%. Facebook, blogs, and various other sites make up the remaining referrals. About 12% of total readership comes through organic searches (“googling” something and clicking on the link results), and 9% is direct traffic (bookmarks or people typing in www.byuinsider.com). About 9% comes from Facebook.  I am hopeful that as the site grows and because increasingly useful as a statistically repository and player profile database that there will be less referrals from sites like CougarBoard and more organic searches.

What to expect moving forward

Going into this my personal goals included 1) becoming a better writer, 2) providing useful information about BYU sports to other people, and 3) learning something about the sports publishing industry, website design, and marketing. I don’t know how successful I’ve been in improving my writing, but I’ve definitely reached goal number three—I learn a ton every time I write and post an article.

After six months I believe I’ve found a place in cyberspace where I can make a meaningful contribution to BYU sports fans without being redundant to the other websites and blogs out there. The niche I’ve found is in covering players before (recruits) and after (professionals) their BYU careers. I’m still a stat junkie and love the BYU Utah rivalry so I’ll probably continue to make occasional posts in those areas, but the focus moving forward will be on the before and afters.

watnThis summer I hope to create recruiting profile for each of the BYU football recruits (similar to what I’ve now completed for the basketball team). I also plan to write several “Where are They Now” featurettes for both the football and basketball programs and perhaps expand out into a few other sports. I’ll create a few more highlight videos add more statistical listings (like all the BYU football and basketball records, BYU vs. Utah head-to-head breakdowns, PER 40 tables, etc.). I think this is a realistic plan moving forward but am open to feedback. If there is something you wish this site included let me know via email or in the comment section below.

I’m also open to expanding the writing and editing team. If you aren’t listed in my “Super comprehensive list of all things BYU sports” and should be let me know. If you write for someone else but want a wider audience (e.g. guest contributor) also let me know. If you have a BYU niche you want to write about and need a place to start let me know. I hope you find this little blog useful and that it gets even better with time. If not, I’m still grateful for the chance to do research and write about the bestest sports program anywhere so I’ll keep plugging away. Cheers,

Wiscougarfan

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  • Spencer

    Hey Tyler,

    I love the site! You differentiate yourself pretty well from some of the other sites. I appreciate the “Where are they now” posts in particular. I think the content has improved over time. The “Tweeting Cougs” thing is pretty great. If you could get a stream posted on that link of all tweets coming in from any of the Cougars in your list, that would drive traffic alone. That’s a tab I think a lot of people would just keep open.

    I’d be happy at some point to be a guest contributor after I’m done with school next year (too busy right now – I quit CB because I was so busy). One thing I think would be interesting is doing some multivariate statistical analysis determining whether BYU gets RMs to the NFL better, worse, the same as other teams with RMs. It would control for other factors such as star rating of the player when recruited, player position, etc. In other words, what I want to do is see if BYU’s coaching staff appears to be overachieving, underachieving, or doing about the same as peer schools at developing talent (people tend to claim one or the other, but nobody to my knowledge has really backed their position up).

    • Awesome ideas Spencer (both the twitter thing and a “real” analysis of RMs). I’ll reach out to you somewhere down the road to remind you how awesome it would be to have an article like that :). Good luck keeping up with everything.