Now that the final numbers are in, I can put together a post on the numbers for this blog in 2012. Those who aren’t interested in such things, feel free to skip over this. As to why I am interested in this, there are several reasons:
- The numbers provide some manner of objective measurement: visits, visitors, etc. Some valuable information can be extracted that might help me improve the blog in the coming year.
- The numbers can be compared to previous years to see changes, which is interesting to me.
- In general, I’m just kind of fascinated by these types of metrics.
I will try to indicate the source for all of my numbers as I go along. Keep in mind that different sources have slightly different numbers, but the differences are within a reasonable margin of error. Besides, I’m not using these numbers in a manufacturing or similar process so they don’t have to be precise. Mostly, I’m interested in the overall trends.
Sources of the data
I am making use of three primary sources of data, listed in order of priority:
- WordPress statistics that come via the WordPress JetPack plug-in. The same numbers are produced via WordPress’s site when I log in there with my account. This is my primary source of aggregate numbers. These numbers do not include subscribers to the RSS feed.
- Feedburner statistics that come from Google’s Feedburner. These include only those numbers that come from the RSS feed and do not include people who visit the blog directly. In other words, in terms of statistics, #1 and #2 can be considered mutually exclusive. (The same person may end up reading a post via RSS and then coming directly to the blog. In that case, the visit counts in both places.)
- Google Analytics. This is my primary source for demographic data on the blog, i.e., where people came from, what browser they used, how long they viewed the site, etc.
One other definitional clarification: I distinguish between page views and unique visitors. Mostly, when I am referring to numbers, I am referring to the page views, the total number of times pages on the blog were viewed. This is different from the number of unique visitors. The latter is often lower because the same person often views more than one page. I will try to be clear about when I am referring to views versus visitors.
The basics for 2012
Here is a chart that plots my monthly totals for 2012:
This is a stacked-chart. The purple area represents pages views on the blog. The blue area is page views via the RSS feed. The stacked total is the total number of views the for the month.
Some interesting observations:
- Fewest page views took place in February with a total of 23,095.
- Most views (best month) was December with a total of 107,691 (more on this later).
- For the year, I averaged just under 59,000 page views per month
In April, I began my Going Paperless series of weekly posts and that is where things really began to take off. For instance, for the first three months of the year, I averaged about 29,000 views per month. From April through December, however, after I began my Going Paperless series, I averaged nearly 69,000 views per month.
Put another way, I started the year (January 2012) with a daily average of 365 pages views per day. This number does not include RSS views, just direct visits to the blog. I was very happy with this number. It was more than 4 times the daily average for the previous January (2011). I had nothing to complain about. But things just kind of took off. Last month, December 2012, I averaged nearly 2,400 pages views per day on the blog. That was nearly 3 times as many as the previous December, which itself was an outlier.
As for overall totals for 2012, I had a grand total of 704,105 page views for the year. That includes both the blog and RSS. The numbers break down as follows:
- Blog: 432,010
- RSS: 272,095
Percentage-wise, things looked like this in 2012:
Records in 2012
December was by far my best month. I had a total of nearly 108,000 page views in the month of December, and nearly 74,000 of those pages views came from people going directly to the blog. My next best month on the blog (not RSS) was back in September with 48,006. In December, I topped that record by nearly 30,000 page views. I’m not sure why this was. I had a couple of popular Going Paperless posts in December, but neither held the one-day record for the year. One thing I did notice was a sudden jump in daily views. Beginning on December 20, my daily average took a sudden jump. I was hovering around 1,300 page views per day on the blog and after December 20, it jumped to closer to 2,700 page views per day. At first I thought it was a fluke, but those numbers have maintained and continued into 2013. This has happened from time-to-time over the years that I’ve had the blog. Unlike obvious popular posts, I can’t tell where this jump comes from.
My best single day of 2012 was April 10, where I had 8,808 page views in a single day. That is still not a record. In December 2011, I had 10,900 page views on a single day and that is still my record on the blog alone. I’ve had at least 3 other days in which I surpassed the 7,000 page views mark in a single day.
These numbers come from Google Analytics and exclude visitors who come to the blog via RSS.
I had 132,867 unique visitors. These are people who came directly to the blog. 50% of these people came from the United States. Here are the top 10 countries from which people visited my blog:
- United States (50.38%)
- United Kingdom (8.47%)
- Canada (4.94%)
- Germany (3.66%)
- Unknown (3.43%)
- Australia (3.26%)
- Netherlands (3.06%)
- Spain (1.40%)
- France (1.30%)
- Italy (1.13%)
Visitors to the site use Chrome more than any other browser, although no browser exceeds 50% of the total. The top 5 browsers are:
- Chrome (34.74%)
- Safari (26.20%)
- Firefox (20.13%)
- Internet Explorer (8.49%)
- Mozilla (6.16%)
Interesting that Internet Explorer has fallen down to 4th place. I happen to use Chrome as my primary browser everywhere, and I guess a lot of other people do, too.
The top 5 operating systems for visitors to the blog are:
- Windows (46.47%)
- Macintosh (30.47%)
- iOS (14.01%)
- iPad (6.06%)
- Linux (1.91%)
If you total up Macintosh, iOS, and iPad the numbers are about equal to that of Windows.
I made 561 new blog posts in 2012. Not bad, if you ask me. It comes to 329,000 words. I had no idea the number was that high. It kind of blows me away. In March alone I wrote nearly 42,000 words worth of posts on this blog. I guess I’ve been doing it for so long it just seems like it is part of my routine. I barely notice it.
I guess I am going something right. Visits continue to climb. The comments I get on the blog are overwhelmingly positive. Most of all, those, I still have a blast doing this. Looking ahead to next year, if things continue in the direction they are going, 2013 will see me break the 1 million page views mark for a single year. That would be pretty incredible.
And so I want to conclude this post with a thank you to everyone who comes to visit, and everyone who leaves a comment and adds to the discussion here. This blog wouldn’t be what it is without you. Thanks! And happy new year!