I've been using Google Analytics to track my blog traffic for a little over a year now and so I've finally come to a point where I have 12 months of pretty good data – July 2006 to June 2007. This seems like a good moment to take a look back and see what's happened over the last year, especially since it more or less covers my sabbatical leave that started last August.
Before June 2006 I only used the extreme tracking service to monitor traffic. It seems to count things a bit differently from Google so I hesitate to do direct comparisons. However, during the year July 2005 to June 2006 I got a total of 8,727 hits, for a monthly average of 729. This past year, Google gives me a total of 26,928 page views for a monthly average of 2,244. As I'm writing this, I've already surpassed last year's total for July.
That's quite a dramatic increase; most of that is due to both an increased posting frequency (from one or two per week to 4 or 5 per week) as well as a concerted effort to post better. I really made an effort to do more than just quicky, newsy posts and concentrate of offering real commentary and analysis of important scitech library issues. As well, the My Job in 10 Years series proved to be quite popular as has the occasional interview series, raising the profile of the blog quite a bit. Needless to say, I'm very pleased with the increase. (And I would like thank all my visitors over the years for their time and attention.)
Blogging better has meant that I was mentioned more often in other blogs, which in turn meant more traffic. Interestingly, a majority of links from other blogs seems to have come from science blogs rather than liblogs. My niche, partaking of both the liblog world and the science blog world, is a small one but one that I'm quite happy with. Some of the major supporters of the blog out there include Walt Crawford, Coturnix, PersonaNonData, Jane, CuriousCat, TWiL and, of course, all the scitech library bloggers (whom I'm not going to attempt to enumerate, but you know who you are).
Another thing that made me want to do this post is Walt Crawford's post from a few weeks ago Getting your fifteen minutes where he talks about his own traffic (about 85K for May) and Steven M. Cohen's for the same period: about 1 million. Mine was about 3,500 for the same period. Reflecting on the differences I note that I'm not bothered by them; I certainly don't begrudge either of them their success. I do what I do, hoping to please myself and generate some traffic as a side effect. On the other hand, it did get me thinking about taking a closer look at my stats. An interesting note is that while my hits are quite a bit lower than Walt's, our current Technorati rankings are in the same ballpark: he's around 44K and I'm around 50K. The highest ranking liblogs (such as Librarian.net or Information Wants to be Free), Technorati-wise, are under 1K. Whatever that means, and I'm not sure Technorati tells us much that is useful. For what it's worth, Scintilla has me listed as the 123rd most popular science blog.
Below is a chart of the last twelve months of pageviews and unique visits. As you can see, there was quite a dramatic increase starting with January this year, right after the post on A&I Databases. It's more or less platformed the last couple of months. June would normally have been a slower than average month, what with all the conferences, but two 10 Years Series posts boosted the numbers.
So, here are top 10 lists from July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007, with a bit of commentary on some of the interesting ones.
Top 10 Posts
- My Job in 10 Years: Collections: Further Thoughts on Abstracting & Indexing Databases. My most popular post ever by a significant margin. It's very gratifying as it's also one of the ones I'm most pleased with and that I worked hardest on.
- Best and worst science books. A post mostly pointing to various of John Horgan's science books list with some of my own commentary and lists. An odd post to make number two, but a lot of people seem to want to know about good and bad science books.
- Giving good presentations using PowerPoint. Another mixture of links to other blogs and my own commentary. A popular topic.
- The life of a CS grad student.
- My Job in 10 Years: Conclusion.
- Facebook is public not private. Most of the hits are from people trying to figure out how to view private details on Facebook. A bit creepy.
- My Job in 10 Years: Physical and Virtual Spaces.
- Friday Fun: Build your own Sherman tank. A hoot. A lot of people seem to want to build their own tank and my post linking to some instructional videos has struck a cord.
- Interview with Jane of See Jane Compute. I'm happy that this interview was so popular. Lots of the links were from either Jane's blog or Scientiae.
- An Interview with Alison Farmer. A mystery. Lots of people see to search on the name Alison Farmer. I'm not sure if they're looking for the one I mentioned or some other Alison Farmer.
A couple of honourable mentions: the tags for the 10 Years Series and my Computers in Libraries session summaries both got enough hits to make the top 10 but I decided to bump them in favour of real posts.
Top 10 Referrers
- LisNews. Including TWiL.
- Computational Complexity. Mostly trackback links from posts I've linked to. Lance Fortnow's final post is a huge referrer for me. The Web is a strange place.
- Google. I think this mostly refers various Google services like Reader & Gmail.
- Technorati. Other people checking up on who's linking to them.
- Libdex Library Weblogs.
- The Official Google Blog. Mostly links from trackbacks.
- See Jane Compute. A good number are from Jane's link to the interview.
- Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog.
Interesting mix of referrers, especially the balance between library and scitech sources.
Top 10 Keywords
- Science librarian. I'm the number one hit on Google for this search! Unfortunately, at only 165 hits for the year, there's not that many people doing the search...
- Confessions of a Science Librarian
- Mamdouh Shoukri. The new president at York University. I did a post welcoming him when it was announced and it's attracted a fair number of hits. Now that Dr. Shoukri has actually started, It might generate a few more hits. (Oh, by the way, if you're reading this Dr. Shoukri, Welcome to York and good luck with your new job. I hope to show you around the Library in the fall!)
- Best science books.
- Alison Farmer.
- John Dupuis. People looking for me! Or one of the other John Dupuis's out there. I find these searches a little creepy. For what it's worth, I'm also the number one Google hit for my own name.
- Best science books 2006.
- Nerac. I did an interview with Mike Mahoney of Nerac and I think that attracts some hits.
- Librarian science. A variation on the theme.
- Confessions. The people that find me using this search, I always figure they're quite disappointed when they see the actual content ;-)
Some of these have various permutations and combinations (ie. Librarian sciences, confessions science librarian) lower ranked in the list. I haven't bothered combining any of them here, as I feel the raw list gives a good feel for what's going on. One day I may do a post on the strangest keywords.
Top 5 Book Reviews
I'm only going to do the top 5 here, as I haven't reviewed enough book over the last year to make a list of 10 meaningful. Note that the list is a strange amalgam of stats from this blog and the other blog, so take it with an even larger grain of salt than usual.
- Three Science writing anthologies. Reviews of the latest editions of the Years Best American Science Writing, Year's Best American Science and Nature Writing and the first science blogging anthology, The Open Laboratory.
- David Suzuki: The Autobiography.
- Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change by Walt Crawford
- King of Infinite Space: by Siobhan Roberts.
- Republican War on Science by Chris Mooney.