2013 blogging stats: You still hate Lotus Notes, and I guess I should still miss Google Reader

At the end of every year, WordPress.com automatically generates a nifty presentation about this blog’s readership statistics. To view it, click the fireworks graphics below; for some of my own takes on these numbers and others not included in that infographic, scroll past it.

To start, I had slightly fewer readers than in 2012, at 84,411 versus 89,639. That’s mainly because I didn’t have any one post blow up from a link at a widely-read blog. Instead, the most-read post was my 2011 rewrite of a cheat sheet I wrote on the Post intranet about forwarding Lotus Notes e-mail to Gmail–followed by two other how-to posts, one on my cure for a runaway OS X “CalendarAgent” process and another about places where T-Mobile can provide 3G service for older iPhones.

(I’m going to ping T-Mo PR for an update on that data; if people are relying on me for help, I might as well deliver something current.)

As for what sites sent traffic here, “Search Engines”–by which I mean “Google and then trace elements of Bing and Yahoo”–led the list. WordPress.com set them aside to highlight human-curated sites: first Twitter, then Facebook, then USA Today.

The dearly-departed Google Reader also got a shout-out in my blog host’s presentation. Its sort-of replacement Google+ did not; by WordPress.com’s count, Google’s social network sent less traffic than a single reader comment at the Post’s site. Will my activating the new option to have posts automatically shared on G+ change that? Look for an answer in the 2014 version of this post, coming in about 365 days.

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Why are random spammy sites pointing to here?

Spammy referrersI never mind people reading this blog, but lately I’ve been getting a little antsy over some of the sites that seem to be sending people here. Over the past few days, a motley assortment of spammy-looking pages have been showing up as referers in my stats.

As you can see in the screen grab I took Tuesday morning, most seem to reside at domain names that suggest some sort of substance. But when I’ve clicked through I’ve found nothing but a list of search links, in some cases categorized and in other cases pretty much random. And the searches that I can see in some of those referring links–today, for example, “star hotel roma” and “blog for make money online”–have little to nothing to do with what I write about here.

Spam happens because people think that it will help them make money online. But just what kind of business model am I looking at here? The only way I can see the spammers profiting from sending people to my site is if they’ve got a business connection to a WordAds advertiser, but the ads I see have almost always been from name-brand companies–this program is deliberately limited to “high-quality,” national advertisers. So what’s the deal? If you have a theory, I’d like to read about it in the comments.

2011 blogging stats: you came, you saw, you clicked

One pleasant bonus feature at WordPress.com is the “annual report” the site automatically provides, complete with the celebratory artwork you see below. It provides a good overview of your blog’s overall traffic, what sites sent visitors to it and what posts got the most attention–along with a corny fireworks animation and a fillip of promotion for my host. (Note to WordPress.com management: I don’t mind that. In other news, please approve my WordAds application.)

But this highlights reel glosses over many interesting wrinkles, and in my case it’s also skewed by the flood of traffic I got for announcing my departure from the Post here. So some other noteworthy details follow.

Of the 75,000-odd views this blog got last year, almost 15,000 went to that “Departure” post–but more than twice as many went to its home page. The third-most popular post was my rant about stupid social-media policies in news organizations, at almost 2,500, followed closely by the about-me page. After that came my introduction of my NASA Tweetup trip (featured on the WordPress.com home page, it clocked almost 1,700 views) and a how-to about forwarding mail from Lotus Notes to Gmail (featured nowhere, but regular queries for help on that topic drove it to about 1,300 views).

Note that I’m not using exact figures because I forgot to write down these numbers on Dec. 31, and WordPress.com doesn’t include a “last year” reporting option.

My biggest source of traffic was Twitter, at almost 3,800 views, followed by Facebook (close to 2,500), the Post (near 1,800), and “search engines” (Google, with traffic from Bing, Yahoo, Ask.com and other sites amounting to kopeks on the dollar). The most notable outlier in the top 10 was the local media-news site DCRTV.com, which accounted for about 500 views.

Speaking of search engines, the search queries that led people here were topped by–duh–my name, accounting for close to 3,000 page views. Farther down the list, I counted at least 20 misspellings of my last name. It’s okay: That’s the tradeoff for having a moniker distinctive enough to guarantee that you can get the same first-name-last-name user ID at most sites.

Of all the links you clicked on, the most popular (almost 800 clicks) was a column by Post ombudsman Patrick Pexton about the paper’s redesigned-but-still-sluggish site, followed by the panoramic photo of my old cubicle and my Twitter account (each just over 300).

The annual report offers a few details I don’t see on my usual stats page, such as the percentages of visitors from other countries. Sadly, I am not big in Japan, but I do seem to have a few readers in the U.K. I’d love to get a complete breakdown (hint: Facebook provides those analytics for public pages), along with software trivia like the operating systems and browsers used by visitors. Maybe next year? Until then: Thanks for reading.