It’s a brand new year but it’s already looking a lot like 2016 with a terrorist incident killing dozens in Istanbul. I won’t reprise 2016 here, but I will do my annual look at my blog’s statistics and usage in 2016 to see what people were reading. I’m keeping it succinct this year. When I moved hosting I lost my web statistics, and a lot of the statistics I used to count are less trustworthy.
Overall web traffic was down modestly compared to 2015, about 10% overall. Web traffic does not include non-browser (syndicated) traffic. The vast majority of web traffic is from people who arrive via search engine queries. Considering the blog home page is the #1 most accessed page, perhaps I get a lot of readers who prefer to read the blog the old fashioned way: by coming to it using a browser. It’s hard to know.
In 2016 there were 3.66% fewer users (16,185 users), 5.33% fewer sessions (16,993 sessions) and 9.71% fewer page views compared to 2015, according to Google Analytics. A total of 20,650 pages were served, if Google Analytics is measuring traffic correctly.
I also track web traffic with StatCounter and Quantcast. Quantcast recorded about 14,800 visits and about 14,800 global views. StatCounter counted 14,190 first time visits, 14,555 unique visits and 17,026 page views.
One of the mysteries of this business is why Google tends to see more traffic than other sources.
Unsurprisingly, plenty of readers were looking for sex, as I make scanning Craigslist’s casual encounters section a monthly feature of the blog. Without doing this I suspect my traffic would have sagged more than it did. In 2015 this post became something of a hit and shows up as #2 in this list for 2016:
- Site home page (5739 page views)
- Craigslist casual encounters weirdness, May 2015 (Hartford CT) edition (1554 page views)
- Eulogy for my mother in law (523 views)
- JonBenet Ramsey and the tip of the iceberg (506 views)
- Facebook’s appallingly bad user interface (244 views)
It’s hard to know how much syndicated traffic I am getting. I use Feedcat.net to measure traffic. I assume it is reasonably accurate. Unfortunately, I can only get a graph, and I can only see statistics for the last six months. A few days ago I had a spike of 254 unique weekly readers, but overall I averaged 30-40 unique readers a week.
In general I’m getting a lot less syndicated traffic than a year ago. It’s unclear if this is due to less interest or Feedcat changing its algorithm. They are not transparent about their methods.
I tag every post with one or more tags. A tag archive contains a collection of posts with the same tag. These were my top five most popular tags in 2016 according to Google Analytics:
- Taxes (188 hits)
- Craigslist (133 hits)
- Tarsal tunnel (101 hits)
- Rose Rosetree (99 hits)
- Star Trek (95 hits)
Sociology (30 views)
- Chrome (55% of traffic, up 10% from last year)
- Safari (20% of traffic, down from 22% from last year) – This is probably mostly hits from iPhones and iPads
- Firefox (10% of traffic, down 5% from last year)
- Internet Explorer (10% of traffic, down 3% last year)
- Android browser (2% of traffic)
Busiest month: January (2091 sessions)
Slowest month: November (1004 sessions)
Mobile sessions in 2016: 4767 smartphone and 918 tablet sessions
% Mobile visits of Total Visits: 28%
Quantcast used to provide demographics of my readership. This year it tells me it can’t, at least not without a premium subscription. Google Analytics though think it knows. Here are some things it says about you readers:
- The highest segment of readers is ages 25-34 (24%)
- Men mostly read my blog (62%)
- 44% of traffic comes from the United States, 25% from Germany, 7% from the Netherlands, 6% from the United Kingdom and 2% from Canada
Google Analytics tracks social usage. It counts as top referrers:
- Pinterest (150 sessions)
- StumbleUpon (87 sessions)
- Twitter (42 sessions)
- Facebook (42 sessions)
- Blogger (22 sessions)
More in 2018.