Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

In the Bigs Boyz’ Wake

This graph shows what two links from Daily Kos and one link from Instapundit in the span of two days can do for your blog traffic. For those of you who don’t know, Daily Kos is a high-traffic politically liberal team-written blog, whereas Instapundit is a high-traffic politically conservative single-author blog.

This graph depicts traffic to Scientific Life during the previous 30 days, and the numbers along the x-axis denote the dates for the end of February through the middle of March. The green area shows the number of visitors, or “hits”, and the purple area shows the total number of page views. Prior to these links, my average weekly traffic was 725 visits per day (I know, not much, so you can stop laughing any minute now). But there are a few details about traffic to note; first, Scientific Life‘s traffic appears to be increasing fairly steadily by 10-20 hits every week, and second, Monday-Wednesday are typically the highest traffic days, with approximately 1,000 visits per day on each of those three days, while Saturday and Sunday are the worst, with 400-500 hits per day, as one might expect.

On 14 March, Daily Kos linked to this piece, mostly for the picture (see “14” on the x-axis). Scientific Life was already receiving a lot of traffic that day, but within minutes after the dKos link, there was a dramatic jump in traffic and page views, as I mentioned, that you see on the graph (total hits, 7602; see “14” on the x-axis).

During email communications with DarkSyde regarding this link, I asked him if dKos might consider linking to Tangled Bank the following day, and he generously agreed to do so. (I was later told that dKos doesn’t typically link to blog carnivals). So on the following day, I ended up with two links from high-traffic blogs for Tangled Bank because Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit also linked to it (see “15” on the x-axis). Both links were at my request.

The one thing that I find most surprising about these traffic patterns is that two links from high-traffic blogs to the Tangled Bank generated fewer hits than did one link from a high-traffic blog to an individual entry (total hits for March 14th were 7602, while the two links on the 15th generated 5350 hits). Granted, the linked entry included a gorgeous picture, but still, I would have thought that a science/nature/medical carnival would have a broader appeal than one short entry about global warming.

I’d be interested to know if the Tangled Bank contributors noticed a greater-than-usual increase in traffic resulting from this issue. If so, what is the percent increase? (I won’t ask you to reveal your raw traffic numbers here, as I did).

UPDATE: Incidentally, my readership appears to have approximately doubled after these links (is that possible?). My Saturday traffic was 739 and Sunday was 878. Not too shabby, eh? I hope I can keep this increased readership happy and maintain the momentum.


  1. #1 coturnix
    March 19, 2006

    I certainly got a lot of traffic from you right after Tangled Bank was linked to.

    DarkSyde linked to I And The Bird this morning and tripled my Sunday traffic.

  2. #2 John
    March 19, 2006

    I had a small bump, but Blogger was out cold for at least two hours last Wednesday, so I might not be a good indicator of whether visitors were clicking through.

    I was very surprised to see Tangled Bank (and then I and the Bird) linked from DKos. I think the only carnival I have seen linked there in the past has been Carnival of the Liberals. But maybe with DarkSyde working on the front page there will be more links for TB and IatB.

  3. #3 wheatdogg
    March 19, 2006

    My hits almost doubled from the 14th to the 15th, then fell back down, but traffic overall seems to have increased moderately. I am slowly crawling my way up out of the TTLB tidal pool, too.

  4. #4 pablo
    March 20, 2006

    725 visits at day. I’d be happy with 72.5 visits a day!

  5. #5 Alon Levy
    March 20, 2006

    I’m not sure the number of visits matters that much. You get a fair amount of comments, and that’s what I think counts. UTI may get several thousand visits per day, but it barely gets comments, which I think is sad, in a way – or, alternatively, just shows that nobody cares about what I have to say.

  6. #6 bev
    March 20, 2006

    Traffic was up a bit at my blog and that has continued for the past few days. More significant (at least to me) is that it seems as though many of the visitors wandered around checking out more of my posts. I suspect that I’ve picked up a few new regular readers. That’s nice as my blog is new and not too well known.

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