Something’s going on — at least if you believe our numbers. That something encourages me and should encourage readers, too.

I evolved into a numbers guy over the course of my professional life. That wasn’t always the case. Just ask my community college algebra professor. But spreadsheets now feel as natural as any writing software — and that says something coming from a writer.

Which brings me back to our numbers. I track National Driller’s web statistics with the persistence of a dog losing his self-respect over a rawhide bone. I check them every morning — probably more than I should (sorry, boss). Over the last five and a half years, I’ve noticed trends.

Upward is the biggest trend. That’s fine, and boring enough. Average page view, visit and visitor numbers sit at about double what they were five years ago. That nice, upward line has climbed more or less steadily since I started keeping tabs in 2012.

Then came March. Now, March is typically a good traffic month for National Driller. But this March blasted through previous records. Natural growth looks like one- or two-percent gains from month to month. March’s numbers looked far from natural. I won’t get into totals, since that’s none of our competitors’ business — at least until they see our independent audit statements — but let’s look at some percentages:

  • The number of visitors climbed almost eight percent from the previous high.
  • The number of visits those visitors made to the site was up just shy of nine percent over the previous high.
  • And page views, the number most people who track these things care about, soared almost eight percent.

As a numbers guy tracking these developments, my reaction involved a happy exclamation that might’ve rhymed with “duck bless.” Naturally, I looked under the hood at the actual traffic.


Readers are Bullish on Business

Journalists like to think that readers hang on our every word. As you roll your eyes, let me assure you that this most definitely isn’t the case here. We write a lot of good stuff: tips, tricks, and project and contractor profiles. I hear lots of feedback from readers. Keep it coming, they say. You’re doing it right, they add. All encouraging … but that’s not what drove March’s unusual traffic.

It was our online classifieds section, where you can buy just about anything drilling related (visit to see for yourself). What does this spike mean? Well, it doesn’t necessarily mean readers are buying stuff. That may be true, however, there’s no way I can track that — though I would if I could. But it definitely means readers have an interest in buying stuff. That’s great news for the industry.

Think about it: When do you, as a contractor, feel interested in buying equipment? It’s not when you’re daydreaming about a contract. It’s when you have a contract in hand.

Of course, this is all anecdotal and a lot to infer from a few thousand extra clicks. But, when I combine it with conversations I’ve had with readers at the last few trade shows, it all makes sense. People feel good about the industry. They feel good because they see contracts. Those contracts have them gearing up.

At least that’s my interpretation, and I’m sticking to it.

What do you think? Are you optimistic about work coming down the pike? Or is your area still struggling with low demand? Talk to me. Send an email to

Stay safe out there, drillers.