Whatever Stats 2011

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.

15 Comments on “Whatever Stats 2011”

  1. I hope one of these upcoming projects is the long-promised new book in the vein of The Android’s Dream. Whatever it is, it will be awesome. You don’t seem capable of writing bad stuff.

    I saw a daughter recover from a disease that nearly killed her. I got in touch with some people from my past via Facebook, which is still a pretty good place even though its proprietors keep trying to destroy it. Got a couple of singing gigs I didn’t expect. Started watching two grandkids part of the time. And got to see one of the great authors on his book tour. Got a mostly clean bill of health from my doctor, inspite of becoming over 2/3 of a century old. Mostly good, I guess.

  2. JJS: I’m so glad your daughter’s doing better! I was born with a disease that’s nearly killed me several times, despite 17 brain surgeries, yet I’m about to turn 40 in several weeks. My parents were told they weren’t sure how long I’d live, so every birthday I have is a good one–even though I’m now officially “over the hill”.

    Have a great day!


  3. I was curious about your informal poll vs. stat #4… Do those click ins match what your readers told you? I’d really have expected Wheaton to be near the top… although maybe he didn’t plug you enough this year. : )
    Happy New Year!

  4. OOOPS! Just noticed my comment above is on the wrong thrread. It should have been on the one about how the year went. I would delete and move it if I could. But you’ll have to settle for my apology.

  5. How is facebook not the new way to blog?
    Allows to me type stuff
    Allows people to comment on the stuff
    Has time stamps

    I love when these people predict things that arent even close to reality. They are the same people who continuously predict that we wont be using hard drives in the near future. Everything will be SSD!! My 3TB drives would like to talk to them about wrong they are.

  6. Concerning your point #4, Where your visitors came from…
    I was wondering where I fit in.
    I have your site as a shortcut on my desktop.
    I do not think I am in one of the categories you mentioned.

  7. Just to reassure you that all the time you spend “here” with us is not time that would be better spent on “real” writing, I started buying your books because of the “What it means to be poor,” post.

    I’ve kept buying your books because I like your worlds, but without that post, I would probably never have heard of you. Living in a land without English bookstores, I tend to only find what I am looking for online. Getting your name out on other topics builds business. It also builds loyalty: I buy your books based solely on your name, because while you have never heard of me, I feel like I know you.

    Thanks for the blog, thanks for the books, best wishes for you and yours in the coming year.

    Busan, South Korea

  8. “Omelas” was worth posting a link to. Some net-friends of mine, who might have otherwise never found this place, were moved by it.

    Definitely ‘Classic Whatever.’

  9. “Being Poor” Wow, glad I went back in time and read that!
    “10 Things Teenage Writers Should Know About Writing” Another very interesting thing to read, even for someone who is *way* past teenage. I suspect that is very good advice for any relatively inexperienced writer, no matter their age.

  10. I’m sorry, John. I’m one of those inconsiderate readers who uses an RSS reader to read Whatever and doesn’t appear directly in your stats.

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