2010: The Year in Blog

Because I’m sure everybody is as fascinated by blog stats as I am, here’s the traffic to this blog for 2010, in graphical form:

i-6ed440f2289c07e0fb31423be5cf6d71-2010Traffic.png

In case you can’t numerically integrate that in your head, I’ll tell you that the total number of pageviews represented there is a bit more than 908,000. We have yet to crack the million mark in any one year, but the total number of pageviews over the history of ScienceBlogs is just short of 3.9 million. Not too shabby.

Looking at the overall traffic states for the five years (five years!) that I’ve been blogging at ScienceBlogs, the thing I’m happiest about is this graph:

i-fc8be50e753d3d433ac79429ab1ba483-TrafficHistory.png

This shows the average monthly pageviews for the blog, both mean and median, for all five years of ScienceBlogs. Not only are the 2010 values close to the maximum, they’re also nearly the same. Which means that this year’s high traffic numbers are not the result of a few really big spikes (as in 2006), but they represent a consistently high readership. That’s a nice thing to see.

An amusing factoid about these numbers: for three of the last five years (2007, 2009 and 2010) the mean daily pageviews for this blog has been larger than the enrollment of Union College. Which means that, on average, more people look at what I write here than I could possibly reach in a year through my day job.

The top posts for the year:

(This one goes to 11 because #11 is very close to #10, but the next highest post is below 4000 pageviews, so that seems like a better place to cut things off.)

I’m really happy about this list. There are some silly things on it, to be sure, but also a lot of solid science. Three of the eleven are ResearchBlogging posts, three are investigations into the science of everyday things (I’m counting Goodnight Moon as an everyday thing, because I read it to SteelyKid every day), and only one is a frivolous post with no science content to speak of (#9, which gets a bunch of search engine traffic thanks to the “How…” title). That’s some good, quality science blogging.

I’m even happier about what is not on this list, namely culture-war bullshit and stupid fake controversies. And it’s not like 2010 was lacking in culture-war bullshit and stupid fake controversies. I’ve been trying to reduce my involvement with such nonsense for a while now, and it’s nice to be reminded that I don’t have to engage in outrage-of-the-moment blogging to draw readers.

Anyway, that’s my blogging output from 2010 in a nutshell. What does 2011 hold in store? Will this be the year that we break 1,000,000 pageviews? Only time will tell, but I recommend coming back here frequently to find out…

Comments

  1. #1 Tom
    January 2, 2011

    Any estimate on the impact of your two hiatuses (hiati?) on the stats? Those are two obvious dips in you graph.

  2. #2 Ciaran
    January 2, 2011

    What’s the enormous spike at the start from?

  3. #3 Joseph Smidt
    January 2, 2011

    Yes, always nice to know you don’t have to be controversial to get consistant strong readership.

    “Will Smith don’t gotta cus in his rap to sell records… Well I do!”

    -eminem

  4. #4 Susan
    January 2, 2011

    Do these graphs take into account how many people read through the RSS feed? I read your blog regularly but rarely click through to the page itself unless the entry runs long and the RSS feed doesn’t show it all. So now I’m feeling guilty that I haven’t done my part in helping you reach 1,000,000.

  5. #5 Chad Orzel
    January 2, 2011

    The two months when I was mostly on hiatus probably directly lowered the pageview total by 30,000. At least, that’s the direct from how far they are off the monthly trend. It’s possible that the effect would’ve been bigger– some people may have gotten out of the habit of reading and never come back. I doubt it would’ve gone over a million without those. Especially because if I hadn’t taken some time off, I likely would’ve snapped by now and throttled somebody, and I don’t think they let you blog from prison.

    The big spike comes because some aggregator linked the “Lot of Knowledge…” post. I forget which one now, and for some reason Google analytics isn’t giving me a clear answer. #2 and #3 got a lot of hits from the New York Times sidebar widget, which is pretty cool.

    These stats do not include RSS readers, as far as I know. There are probably a bunch more people reading via RSS who don’t necessarily click through, though I do try to put stuff below the metaphorical fold so as to draw them in.

  6. #6 Zack
    January 2, 2011

    Whatever did happen with the squirrels eating the wires in your car? Inquiring minds read the whole comment thread looking in vain for a resolution.

  7. #7 Joerg Heber
    January 2, 2011

    Wow, impressive statistics, Chad! Really humbling too with regards to my own efforts. If you get all these readers a bit more excited about physics, then you achieved a lot :) Congratulations!

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