Belly Button Window

A bit of navel gazing for this post. Since moving the blog to wordpress.com in the summer, it recently accrued 5000 views. Time to analyse what people are reading…

blogstatsThe most popular post on the blog (by a long way) is “Strange Things“, a post about the eLife impact factor (2824 views). The next most popular is a post about a Twitter H-index, with 498 views. The Strange Things post has accounted for ~50% of views since it went live (bottom plot) and this fraction seems to be creeping up. More new content is needed to change this situation.

I enjoy putting blog posts together and love the discussion that follows from my posts. It’s also been nice when people have told me that they read my blog and enjoy my posts. One thing I didn’t expect was the way that people can take away very different messages from the same post. I don’t know why I found this surprising, since this often happens with our scientific papers! Actually, in the same way as our papers, the most popular posts are not the ones that I would say are the best.

Wet Wet Wet: I have thought about deleting the Strange Things post, since it isn’t really what I want this blog to be about. An analogy here is the Scottish pop-soul outfit Wet Wet Wet who released a dreadful cover of The Troggs’ “Love is All Around” in 1994. In the end, the band deleted the single in the hope of redemption, or so they said. Given that the song had been at number one for 15 weeks, the damage was already done. I think the same applies here, so the post will stay.

Directing Traffic: Most people coming to the blog are clicking on links on Twitter. A smaller number come via other blogs which feature links to my posts. A very small number come to the blog via a Google search. Google has changed the way it formats the clicks and so most of the time it is not possible to know what people were searching for. For those that I can see, the only search term is… yes, you’ve guessed it: “elife impact factor”.

Methods: WordPress stats are available for blog owners via URL formatting. All you need is your API key and (obviously) your blog address.

Instructions are found at http://stats.wordpress.com/csv.php

A basic URL format would be: http://stats.wordpress.com/csv.php?api_key=yourapikey&blog_uri=yourblogaddress replacing yourapikey with your API key (this can be retrieved at https://apikey.wordpress.com) and yourblogaddress with your blog address e.g. quantixed.wordpress.com

Various options are available from the first page to get the stats in which you are  interested. For example, the following can be appended to the second URL to get a breakdown of views by post title for the past year:

&table=postviews&days=365&limit=-1

The format can be csv, json or xml depending on how your preference for what you want to do next with the information.

The title is from “Belly Button Window” by Jimi Hendrix, a posthumous release on the Cry of Love LP.

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7 responses

  1. Very meta (and love the search term for eLife!). Hence, this is a Heisenberg’s Uncertainty reply.

  2. I also started my blog during the summer and have found the visit stats entertaining. For my blog, they are even more lopsided; my most popular post “Papers that triumphed over their rejections” has tens of thousands of views per month (mostly coming from twitter and facebook links) and accounts for well over 80% of all views. I did expect this post to resonate with many scientists.

    I found that very simple and small tweaks of my blog can redirect the traffic. One of them was just adding the widget with recent posts and the archives to help people navigate. Also, links and formatting options can have significant effects. Because the traffic is large, one can see clear statistical patterns and trends as a function of small changes in the blog.

    1. I was one of the readers of your post on “Papers that triumphed over their rejections”. Very enjoyable.
      I have been thinking about how to change the layout of the blog. It’s interesting that you can see clear changes… I can see how analysing these things is essential for commercial entities. I’m not interested in making my blog the number one site to visit on the web. But, more readable/navigatable would be good.

  3. […] 2: This post is the most popular on Quantixed. A screenshot of visitors’ search engine queries (Nov […]

  4. […] I’ve not seen any evidence for this). I wrote about partial impact factors instead, which took over my blog. Anyway, the analysis shown here is likely to be similar for any year and the points made below […]

  5. […] been a while since I did some navel-gazing about who reads this blog and where they come from. This week, quantixed is close to 25K views and […]

  6. […] well, with readership growing all the time. I have written about this progress previously (here and here). The most popular posts are those on publishing: preprints, impact factors and publication lag […]

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