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2020 blog statistics

January 1, 2021

Yes, it’s that time of the year again, and what a year it’s been! I’ve compiled my blog statistics for 2020, and I’m curious to see what effect, if any, COVID-19 and working from home without usual means of support (co-workers, IT people etc.) has had on those stats.

In late May 2020, this blog hit 15 million views then 16 million in the last week of December. This is the total since I started blogging very late in 2007. Some 1.55 million views occurred just in 2020 (surprisingly, about the same as 2019). These figures don’t include any visits I made to my own blog (yes, I use my own blog for stuff I can’t remember—I consider it my memory bank).

16,016,840 views to 31 December 2020

I only wrote 57 blog posts in 2020, so many of these visits were to posts I’ve written in previous years. I’ve written 1917 posts since 2008, with an average word count per post of between 400 and 500 words.

Despite those large numbers of views, only about 850 people subscribe to this blog (you can subscribe by clicking the ‘Sign me up!’ button on the right sidebar and entering your email address to receive an email alert each time I post a new article), and I have just over 920 Twitter followers for @cybertext. From these figures, I have to assume most readers are ‘hit and run’ readers—those who have a problem with Word or whatever, find one of my posts via Google etc., read the post, get what they came for (or not), and leave without checking out anything else.

Where do these readers come from? Not surprisingly for an English language blog, most of my visitors in 2020 were from English-speaking countries, with a heavy dominance from the US (>505,000), followed by the UK, India, Australia, and Canada (all between 96,000 and 150,000). Since WordPress started recording this information (not necessarily when I started blogging in 2008), most visitors have come from the US (nearly 6 million), followed by the UK. Australia, and Canada (about 3.5 million combined). The first map shows country of origin visits for 2020; the second, for all time. NOTE: These stats represent where WordPress thinks these readers are located based on their IP addresses—anyone using a VPN to mask their location would be listed under the country that they chose in their VPN settings. (Click on images to view them full size)

Map and list of top 10 countries where readers came from in 2020

Map and list of top 10 countries where readers came from in 2020

Map and list of top 10 countries where readers came from: all time

Map and list of top 10 countries where readers came from: all time

Below are some graphs and tables of the 2020 statistics for this blog, as well as some comparative ones for ‘all time’ (‘all time’ is actually 2008 to 2020 — I started this blog very late in 2007, but didn’t really start posting until January 2008, so the 2007 statistics are too low to be significant).

Total views by month/year

Table listing total number of views by month for each year from 2007 to 2020

Total number of views by month for each year from 2007 to 2020

Column graph showing total number of views for each year from 2008 to 2020

Total number of views for each year from 2008 to 2020

Average daily views

Graph showing average number of views per day over each year from 2008 to 2020. The highest was about 5500 in 2015, and about 4000 per day in 2020

Average number of views per day for each year from 2008 to 2020

The average views per day decreased a little in 2020 (about 4000 per day) compared to 2019 (4280 per day). The graphs above and below are for the full seven days per week, though most views occur during the five business days of the working week, probably reflecting the need to find answers to Word questions and the like when people are stuck with a problem at work. Weekends and major public holidays (particularly in the US) see a noticeable drop in views, as does the December/January holiday period and the northern hemisphere summer (July).

In 2020, I had to look for any possible influence of COVID-19 affecting the results, and there was. Compared to the 2019 graph for average views per day by month, there was a noticeable change in the shape of the curve from May onwards (see the graph below). There was a small dip in July and August (northern hemisphere summer months), but instead of declining between September and November, as in previous years, the numbers were high and steady over those months. I suspect the stats from May onwards may have been the influence of working from home and having to figure out how to solve problems without help from colleagues who previously were in the same work location.

Graph showing average number of views per day for 2020. The highest months were May, June, September, October, and November (all over 4500, with some over 5000)

Average number of views per day in 2020, by month

Top 20 posts

Table listing the top 20 posts of all time and the top 20 for 2020. Posts that are in both lists are highlighted in blue.

Top 20 posts of all time compared to the top 20 for 2020.

Some posts are just more popular than others! Those highlighted in blue appear in both lists — the top 20 posts of all time (2008–20209) on the left, and 2020-only on the right. Those without highlighting only appear in one of the top 20 lists. The numbers to the right of each title are the number of total views for that post in the time period.

Long tail

As expected, there’s a significant ‘long tail’ for this blog’s views. The top 20 posts (each has more than 19,100 views) in 2020 garnered the most views, with the top 6 clearly ahead of the others (>45,000 views). Everything else was a poor cousin to these top posts.

Graph showing the 'long tail' of the top 20 posts in 2020. The top 6 of these had as many views as the other top 14 combined

Long tail of the top 20 posts in 2020. The top 6 had as many views as the other top 14 combined

When I extracted out the views just for the top posts for 2008–2020 (using 50,000 views as the lower limit), the long tail was very evident. The top 10 posts for all time garnered the most views, with posts 10 to 76 tailing off and flattening out. Remember, I’ve written some 1917 posts, and this graph only represents the 76 posts that have had more than 50,000 views since 2008—most posts have far fewer than that and aren’t represented in this graph. (For perspective, the least-viewed posts have had about 1,100 views, while the single most-viewed post has had nearly 1 million views.)

Graph of the long tail of the 76 posts with more than 50,000 views, over all time. The top 5 posts have had between 300,00 and 1 million views.

Long tail of posts over all time (only those with more than 50,000 views are graphed). The top 5 posts have had between 300,00 and 1 million views.

So, there you have it. Thirteen years of blogging, 1917 blog posts published, and just over 16 million views (with 1.55 million of those in the past 12 months).

I guess I must be doing something right, even though the monetary return is close to zero. I pay an annual fee to WordPress to NOT show advertisements on this blog (I wouldn’t get any return from these even if I allowed them), and I refuse to try to ‘monetize’ my blog posts by hosting them elsewhere and running ads—I don’t like ads cluttering up and getting in the way of good content and potentially trapping readers into clicking on them, and I suspect my readers don’t like them either. Instead of ads, I have an option for readers to donate to this blog’s expenses if anything I’ve written has got them out of a bind, saved them time (and therefore money), or helped them be more efficient. In 2020 I received perhaps the equivalent of one week’s worth of groceries in donations. I use that money to pay my annual bill to WordPress to keep this blog free of ads and to have the convenience of adjusting the style (CSS) of this blog.

As for what happens in 2021, I’ll continue to write posts sporadically—I still have a day job that I’m committed to, and paid work always comes before unpaid work. Stay safe, and remember the three Ws: wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance.

See also:

[Links last checked January 2021]

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