For some years now, I’ve largely ignored the issues of how many people read this blog, where they come from, what technologies they use, and so on. But today I took a side-trip into Google Analytics and I found the numbers interesting, so maybe you will too.
But first, these words · Yes, in this world you always have to listen to a sermon before they roll out the free food. Here it is: Don’t do this. Don’t obsess over your analytics or invest your time in worrying about how many people are coming or where they’re coming from.
The first reason is that it’s futile. If there’s anything that having been a blogger for the last eight years has taught me, it’s that you can’t predict what people are going to like.
The second is that it’s corrupting. If you start obsessing over your follower count, you’ll start writing what you think people want to read, not what needs to be written. Want a big audience? Go try to out-sleaze TMZ or Gawker. Failing that, tell the stories that ask you to tell them.
The Index · The data below cover the range between September 20th and October 20th, 2011. I didn’t have any monster hit pieces that got Fireballed or Reddited in that timeframe, but my DMR appreciation got linked by the BBC. So, a not-untypical one-month window in the life of this blog.
Tip o’ the hat to Harper’s for the format:
119,340 — Total pageviews.
68,907 — Unique visitors.
33,561 — Views of the most popular page.
20 — Number of pages with more than 1,000 views.
55.2%, 32.4%, 12.2% — The proportion of visitors arriving via link from another site, “directly” (bookmark or typed it in I guess), and from a search engine, respectively.
26.2%, 13.6%, 10.0% — The proportion of referrals from Twitter, Hacker News, and the BBC, respectively.
40.9%, 10.6%, 7.3%, 3.5%, 3.4% — The proportion of visitors that come from the US, UK, Canada, Germany, and India, respectively.
38.0%, 27.0%, 11.3%, 8.0%, 7.7%, 5.3% — The proportion of visitors that are using Chrome, Firefox, Safari, IE, “Mozilla compatible agent”, and the Android browser, respectively. Note that iDevices are hiding in the Safari number.
85.4%, 14.6% — The proportion of visits from non-mobile and mobile devices, respectively.
60.2%, 39.2% — The proportion of visits from iOS and Android mobile devices, respectively.
Backdrop · This is not perhaps among the first wave of weblogs but, launched in February of 2003, it’s at least middle-aged. I dive too deep into software nerdery to attract a real mainstream audience, but for what it is — a thematically-unhinged assortment of tech and politics and sports and arts and photographs — it’s about as successful as one could hope for.
The statistics above represent much less than all the traffic here. Feeds may never have really been embraced by the non-geek mainstream, but are a primary mode of consumption for the kind of people who are interested in the kind of thing I write about. I have a full-content Atom feed (photos too!) which has some tens of thousands of subscribers directly and via one intermediary or another. Counting them would be work so I won’t.
The Tool · Google Analytics, it’s pretty cool. But this is not gonna become a repeating feature here.