How March 2019 Treated My Mathematics Blog


So, I did something dangerous in March. I try not paying attention to the day-to-day statistics. But there’s a little graphic that shows the last several hours of views. And it’s easy to see while doing administrative stuff. And I happened to see a surge in readers. I couldn’t find an obvious cause for it. There’s some data available about where readers are coming from, but not much. I never did figure out why several hundred people wanted to read my mathematics blog all at once. But it did make me go back and check and re-check what my readership was like. And that’s dangerous stuff, especially since I had a quite variable month. Like, the day before a 113-views day there were 19 views. And that wasn’t the least-read day of the month. Watching the readership statistics, day-by-day, is a terrible habit. It’s even worse for a blog like this with relatively low, irregular readership volume.

So that’s what I did to drive myself mad this past month. And how well did that work?

A box chart showing, for the last several months, fairly uniform numbers of views and visitors. For march, 1,391 views from 954 visitors, 1.46 views per visitor, and 14 posts published.
Yes but I’ve learned how to fiddle with the date range that these figures show so next month I should have an amazing box plot to show you.

For all those slow days I had an uptick in pages viewed: 1,391 in March, up from February’s 1,275 and January’s 1,375. But is that significant? Not really; there were 45 views per day on average in March, 46 in February, and 44 in January. So this is all keeping to the level I’ve been at since about October 2018. There were 14 posts published in March, up from February’s 11 and January’s 12.

The number of unique visitors was up, noticeably: 954 in March. So I’m still holding at only one thousand-visitor month so far. (March 2018 saw 999 visitors, though. It almost makes me think there’s some event or other in the middle of March which attracts people to pop mathematics blogs.) Well, February 2019 had 835 unique visitors, and January 856, and I’d been around 850 per month going back through November 2018. There’s a level there.

Reader engagement is a more erratic thing. One measure was positive, as I see things: there were 97 likes given to my writing in March. That’s the greatest number in twelve months. February only saw 44 likes; January, 63. But that’s a surprisingly variable measure. But the other side of things? Comments? There were four in all March. Comments are always erratic, yes. February had 10 comments, and January 22, and there’ve been as many as 60 in the past year. But four comments? If I haven’t missed anything I haven’t had a month that sparse since November 2012, which, just … wow.

I can explain some of this. I’ve been doing a lot of Reading the Comics posts, which are fun to write but have almost nothing to respond to. I’ve gotten some comments on Twitter. This has to be the first month I’ve seen more comments on Twitter than on WordPress. And I haven’t been in the midst of an A-To-Z or similar themed event that’s really open to comments. Still, mm. I should do more things that are open to comments, but how would I learn what those are?

For all that people read without commenting, they did still read things. The most popular posts in March were:

So, two perennials, and a bunch of comics. I’m curious why the 2016 Pi Day comics was so much more popular than the 2019. There were more strips for the 2016 version, but the 2015 Pi Day comics were even more robust than that. Also now that I’m reminded I’d had a Barely Mathematics Edition I realize I should have named Sunday’s Reading the Comics, with all those Bear With Me strips, the Bearly Mathematics Edition. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to get to use that one sometime.

59 countries sent me readers in March. That’s down from 73 in February and equal to the 59 in January. There were 17 single-reader countries, down from February’s 20 and from January’s 19. Here’s where readers were:

It's just the one view from China for the month, which isn't much per capita, I admit. But it's still, like, fourteen times more readers than I usually see from China. The real curious thing is that it shows 51 views from Sweden, while six from Norway and from Denmark, and four from Finland. I'd have expected those countries to be a bit closer together.
A Mecator-style map of the world, showing the United States in dark red; Canada, Mexico, Australia, and western and central Europe, plus Russia, in light red, and a surprising number of readers from Pakistan through China. Also several in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil.
Country Readers
United States 902
United Kingdom 65
Sweden 51
Canada 45
Philippines 45
India 40
France 21
Germany 17
Brazil 15
Singapore 14
South Africa 11
Nepal 10
Pakistan 10
Spain 10
Australia 9
Slovenia 9
Netherlands 8
Turkey 8
Mexico 7
Denmark 6
Italy 6
Norway 6
Ireland 5
Thailand 5
Austria 4
Finland 4
Malaysia 4
South Korea 4
American Samoa 3
Belgium 3
Hungary 3
Sri Lanka 3
Switzerland 3
Croatia 2
Ecuador 2
Hong Kong SAR China 2
Israel 2
Latvia 2
Poland 2
Portugal 2
United Arab Emirates 2
Vietnam 2
Bahrain 1
Bangladesh 1
China 1
Colombia 1
Czech Republic 1 (*)
Ethiopia 1
Indonesia 1
Jamaica 1
Japan 1 (***)
Jordan 1 (***)
Lithuania 1 (**)
Myanmar (Burma) 1
Peru 1 (*)
Puerto Rico 1 (*)
Russia 1
Saudi Arabia 1
Slovakia 1

Czech, Peru, and Puerto Rico have sent a single page view two months running now. Lithuania’s been a single view a month for three months. Japan and Jordan have four-month streaks going.

In 37 posts through the start of April I’ve put up 36,734 in 2019. This is 15,984 words in March. My average post length this year has been 993 words, up from the 902 at the end of February and even the 966 at the end of January. Hm. Well, that’s what fourteen posts at 1,142 words per post will do. I’ve reached 52 comments on the whole year, an average of 1.4 comments per posting. That’s down from the start of March’s 1.5 comments per post. There’ve been 182 total likes this year to date, for an average of 4.9 likes per post. That’s an increase, at least. At the start of March there had been an average 4.3 likes per post.

The month started with my having made 1,239 posts in total. They’ve attracted in total 76,956 page views from an acknowledged 38,905 unique visitors.

If you’d like to not miss any posts, you can add my work to your RSS reader, using this link. Or you can use the “Follow Nebusresearch” button in the upper right corner of the page. And I am on Twitter as @nebusj, so it should be easy enough to spot me somewhere. Thank you for being around.

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Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

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