It’s not precisely the very end of the year (we’ve still got several hours to go), but, inasmuch as holidays and weekends are slow around here anyway, and today is both, it’s close enough for me to wonk off about Whatever’s stats for the year. Here’s what I can report, with the usual caveats about the WordPress statistics package:
1. The WordPress stats package recorded almost exactly 5.4 million visits to Whatever this year, which is a new record, and up about 5% from last year’s 5.13 million. Considering people kept writing about how this was the year that blogging died, and considering how many people access Whatever via RSS and other means (which are not recorded in the daily stats) I’m pleased to continue to see actual growth in visitorship to the blog.
2. The biggest month for visitorship was November, which was in fact the month with the highest visitorship ever (replacing February 2010) and had the second highest single day visitorship (November 10, with 70,931 visits) in the blog’s history. For context, that was the day I posted “Omelas State University,” which was far and away the single most popular Whatever entry of the year. The lowest month for visitorship in 2011 was May, which makes sense because three weeks out of that month I was off on a book tour.
3. The most visited Whatever entries of 2011, in order: “Omelas,” “Being Poor,” “10 Things Teenage Writers Should Know About Writing,” “I See No Possible Way This Incredible Cover Letter Could Ever Fail,” “Strawberry Shortcake and Penny Arcade,” “The Sort of Crap I Don’t Get,” “How to Make a Schadenfreude Pie,” “And Now For No Particular Reason a Rant About Facebook” and “This is Useful to Remember.”
The list above is a mix of new entries and perennials, which to my mind shows both the value of having a massive amount of archives and also belies what I think is the general assumption that only new stuff is ever read online — that it’s the meme of the day and nothing else. Evidently not. That said, I’m happy it’s not all just “greatest hits” here either; I don’t think Whatever will remain successful if people aren’t reading the new stuff, too.
4. Leaving out search engines, people who clicked in from somewhere else came in most from (in order): Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Penny Arcade, Instapundit, Balloon Juice, Making Light, Boing Boing, Reddit and Google+. Hey, that social media thing? It works! But apparently so do old school blogs, even though they’re supposed to be dead. Go figure.
5. Despite still not quite being able to figure out its actual methodology (I know it relates to linking, but apparently in an abstruse sort of way), I do still check Technorati to see how it ranks Whatever. Right now, according to Technorati, Whatever is the 401st most popular blog in world (tied with Roger Ebert’s and five others in a seven way tie). This is as low as I’ve seen it recently — I’ve seen it as high as about 130 or so — but as linking comes and goes I don’t doubt there’s a lot of rank jumping going about once you get out of the solid top 40 or so (mostly tech and politics blogs). I’m also generally in the top ranks of Technorati’s “Books” category — currently number five and usually in a range between 1 and 25 — and often in the lower bounds of its top 100 in “Entertainment” (currently number 82). I was recently ranked in their Top 100 “comics” category, but I’m chalking that up as a fluke.
What does this all mean, other than that I’m nerding out on a Saturday morning? Mostly that Whatever just keeps chugging along. Thanks for being along for the ride.