2011: The Year in Blog

I’m a little late to the Most Popular Posts of the Year list party, partly because I wanted to wait until the year was actually over, and partly because Google Analytics was being Difficult, and I had to switch back to the “old” version to get actual numbers out. Having sorted that out, though, here are the top posts to this blog for the calendar year 2011:

(This is cut off at 2500 pageviews because it’s the square of 50, and also because that gives us a nice, round 20 posts.)

What can we learn from this?

Well, first and foremost, we learn that judging blog posts by traffic is a silly and frustrating business. The second most popular post on the blog for the entire year was a Links Dump, I think because it links to an article about Ayn Rand. The most popular post of the year is a dorky visual joke that I knocked together in GIMP. As the man said, you’ll never be more popular than that picture of bacon taped to a cat.

Other than those two, though, I’m fairly happy with this list. It’s a good mix of stuff, and three of the top 20 posts traffic-wise are ResearchBlogging reports on journal articles. There’s actual science here, not just meta-blogging and ranty stuff.

I would’ve liked to see some more traffic for some of my blog experiments– the roller slide physics, say, or the sad balloon– but you can’t always get what you want. And the Grinch post is in a similar vein, albeit sillier.

Speaking of silly, I also want to mention two jokey posts that almost made the list: The Tale of Little Red Robin Hood (1968 pageviews), and This Week’s Reading in the Church of the Larger Hilbert Space (2059 pageviews). Just because I still find them amusing, even if nobody else does.

And that’s your year in blog. The total number of pageviews for the year was 886,106, down a little from 2010, but then there were two long stretches this year where I hardly posted anything, so it’s not too bad, considering. And while ScienceBlogs as a whole saw a rather significant decrease in traffic starting in August, when a lot of the political content moved elsewhere, traffic here stayed at the same level, or even increased a bit. So I’m pretty happy with it, all things considered.

June of this year will be the 10th anniversary of the founding of this blog, so maybe I’ll put together a decade-long best-of list at some point. I don’t have good statistics from before the move to ScienceBlogs, though, so it’ll be a little tricky to find the best of the really old stuff, but some time when I have something else I really, really don’t want to do…