Saturday blogwanking and math nerdery

Screen Shot 2014-03-22 at 11.44.09 AMWARNING: In case it wasn’t obvious from the headline, this post is going to be mostly inside baseball and nonsense.  I know there are a few people who will still read it because you’ve posted similar things lately, but oh who am I kidding EVERYONE READ MY NERDY BLOG MATH POST RIGHT NOW.


I’ve cut back pretty substantially on care and feeding of the blog for the last week or two, and even more so since Tuesday when my wife had her foot surgery and I became responsible for All the Things around the house.  (Note: Not complaining.  I’m about to leave her one-legged and alone with the boy for four days while I ponce off to DC for a while.  Merely stating facts.)  A couple of my more regular blogbuddies have posted recently about traffic trends and other things like that on their sites and it got me interested in pulling together something similar for mine.

So.  Some facts:

  • The blog was born on June 4th of last year.  I’ve been blogging since 2004 with varying degrees of regularity but was mostly living over at Xanga (pours out liquor) before moving over here.
  • I currently have approximately(*) 2,364 Followers.
  • The single best day for traffic had either 725 or 708 page views .(**)
  • Until February, which only missed the mark by less than 100 page views, every month has had more traffic than the month before it.  This month will not reach February’s traffic either; I’ll get to why in a bit.
  • Excluding the last couple of weeks, an average day generally reaches around 160 unique visitors and around 450 page views.   Over 500 is not uncommon; I’ve broken 600 three or four times, and 700 only the once.
  • March and February, my two best months, were just short of thirteen thousand page views and around 3200 unique visitors.
  • This will be my 452nd post.  READ THEM ALL, RIGHT NOW.

Until recently, especially since I’ve gotten so busy that just finding time to put up a post has been difficult, I was averaging two or three posts a day (one of which, usually, would be a picture) and was also trying to find some time each day to go look through keywords and read other blogs.  I tend to spread a lot of Likes around; they absolutely help in driving traffic to my website and plus it gives me a chance to find other good bloggers, which is fun.  My theory is that the Likes are what is responsible for a lot of the traffic and certainly the (to me, at least) large number of followers.  Lately I’ve not been posting as much and generally when I have it’s been later in the evening, and so I’ve not gotten nearly as much traffic.  The floor seems to be around 130-140 page views for any day when I actually post; it’s very rarely lower than that.  I seem to have a core readership right now of around eighty people who are going to visit the site every single day no matter what; that said, I don’t think looking at blogs through the site reader functionality on WordPress actually counts as a hit, so it may actually be more than that.

Interesting fact: while pure views and visitors are down, attention to individual posts doesn’t seem to have wavered– I’m still getting around 25 Likes and a handful of comments for everything I post regardless of overall traffic, which tells me that there really are a group of regulars around here.  (Love ya!)

What seems to work:

  • Post every day.  The “sweet spots” for a new post generating a lot of traffic seem to be around noon, around 3 PM, and around 7 at night.  Sometimes early-morning posts will catch a lot of attention too but that seems to be more dependent on the day of the week.
  • Read and comment on other blogs.  LOTS of people seem to like to click through on their Likes to see who left them.  I don’t generally do that unless one of those tiny icons catches my eye but lots of folks do.
  • Occasionally find an excuse to leave a blog link on other high-traffic websites.  I found a reason to link to a post I did as comment #6 on one of John Scalzi’s posts and it brought me hundreds of page views. I try not to do this too often (I figure if he notices, that’s probably bad) but  it works.
  • A wee bit of luck doesn’t hurt.
  • Practically the only reason I still have a Facebook account (and I still haven’t figured out what to do with Luther Siler’s, which you can Like here if you want) is because several of my RL friends use it to click through to blog posts.  I get generally 10-15 clickthroughs a day.  That said, I’m also fairly certain that some of my friends have blocked me (note: I don’t mind) because of the fact that I post almost nothing but links to my blog posts now.

What doesn’t seem to matter:

  • Twitter.  I’ve had three or four retweets of blog links by Twitter accounts with ten thousand or more followers; once by someone with over twenty.  I’ve never had more than five hits from Twitter in a single day.  No one clicks on links on Twitter.  That said, I still like it for other reasons, but it’s not driving meaningful traffic to the blog that I can see.

Anyway.  Does any of that count as interesting or useful?  I hope so.

(*) Why “approximately”?  Because WordPress doesn’t seem to know how to count.  I’m curious to see if other people have noticed this phenomenon– I will get six or seven notifications in a row that someone has followed my blog and that they’re my 2012th follower, or my 2013th, or my 2011th, and then all the sudden a few days later it’ll spend a day or two telling me that people are number 2035 or 2036 or 2037, with no numbers in between.  I know I don’t get notified about every follower but it’s weird that it can’t keep the count straight.  Also odd: nothing I’ve ever done has caused the number to go down.  I feel like at some point someone has to have unsubscribed, right?  Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon?

(**) I swear it was 725 for a month and then it inexplicably dropped to 708.  No idea what happened.

Published by

Luther M. Siler

The author of SKYLIGHTS, THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES and several other books.

14 thoughts on “Saturday blogwanking and math nerdery

  1. Yes math are strange on wp, I don’t get much traffic, some days I get more likes than visits on my page, and that for a post I made on the same day of course, I know some older posts still get visited even weeks later, it is a good new I guess. I think some of the discrepancies come from people liking through the reader feed but not going to the page, and I know from wp help topics that with some browsers depending on your settings their visit won’t register, but I know by their names I do have a few but dedicated followers who visit and like my post, and I return them the favor, sometimes by automatism but most of the time, it is because I do enjoy what they are posting, either their writings, paintings, photographs and opinions..but I must say often I won’t go through long post, over 500 words, except if I do have the time, so I did it for this one…:)


  2. Agree that WP math doesn’t make sense. I’ve also found A view doesn’t seem to count unless the page is opened all of the way – views from the reader don’t count. A few times I’ve had a handful of likes and a few comments before the first view showed up.


  3. I’ve noticed, only because my blog is still pretty small so I’m actually able to see it happen, that my own views are always counted. Maybe I’m crazy, but I feel like WP would have some way of excluding the author… sometimes I might look at a post 3 or 4 times because I can’t get the editor to behave and display my text how I want it (the “preview” option sometimes lies, it doesn’t always come out the way it says it should). I’ve also noticed that the followers notifications do NOT include email subscribers. For example, I recent got a notification that said I had 54 followers (yeah, I’m still new remember?), but when I look at my stats, it says I have 56 because 2 of them are email subscribers.


    1. I have not noticed that my views count if I’m signed in. If I go to another browser on the same computer they will, though. I never log out on my main browser so it’s not counting too many of my views every day– basically just if I’m visiting my Luther Siler Facebook page and forget to switch back to Safari before going to the blog.


  4. The statistics on my site don’t mean a thing to me. I don’t care about likes and visitor numbers. That’s why I find myself checking them 27 thousand times a day!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I totally hear you. I am a big sucker for likes and comments and a little orange star lit up at the corner of my screen lits up my anxious, anticipating face every time! ESPECIAlLLY right after I’ve published a post. 🙂
    I also hate it when people with new blogs with new posts with no likes and comments on them yet do not respond to your first and only comment or do not return the favour of liking your post, when you were the very first one to like theirs. That seems ignorant and conceited in my book. I was beside myself when I received my first like and reciprocated immediatelly and scoured that person’s blog from a to z. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree with you that likes and comments are important. I haven’t been spreading the likes and comments around for the last few weeks like I did in January, and it’s showing in both my follower growth and daily traffic. Diana (Part Time Monster) has stayed consistent with her liking and commenting, and she’ll soon have twice as many followers as me.

    I think that when someone clicks the headline of a post in the reader, it counts as a view, but not a visit. The reason I think so is that my numbers are still so small I can look at the stats page and account for the difference between views and visits on a lot of days.

    Thanks for sharing the actual numbers. My very best days are just a little better than your floor, and I agree that WordPress can’t do math.

    I don’t worry so much about page views and visits. The main thing I look at is the ratio of views to commenters because I use that as a crude measure of engagement.


  7. One more thing, because you know I love to wank on some traffic. Part Time Monster and Sourcerer are very close together in all-time views, but the Monster is beginning to pull away. And here’s something I noticed the other day.

    The Monster’s weekly traffic is more stable. We rarely see a swing one way or another larger than 20%. Sourcerer’s is much more unpredictable, and swings 50% one way or another almost every week.

    The week I ran Part Time Monster while Diana was in Vegas, we saw the largest decrease there in a couple of months. No way to tell how much was due to the fact that Diana only posted twice that week, and how much because she wasn’t liking and commenting from her reader the way she normally does, but those are the two best explanations I’ve come up with.

    I think you’re right about the 12, 3, and 7 sweet spots. Since we normally only post once per day, I’ve never been sure whether to post right at noon, or an hour before. The 7 pm bump is very noticeable. I frequently get a lot of likes around that time.



    Is it totally weird that I wish WordPress would show you which IP addresses were visiting so that I could parse the numbers even more?



  9. I’m replying to this a whopping 1 1/2 months after you posted it! I’ve found most social media has very little impact on my blog’s views. Maybe accounting for 5% of the referrals. The vast majority of my views come from, not surprisingly, subscribers, as well as people who are using Google.


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