How All Of 2019 Treated My Mathematics Blog


I’d promised during my review of the past month that I’d also look at my readership for the whole of 2019. It took a bit longer than I figured, but I’ve gotten there. 2019 was the eighth full year that I’ve been mathematics-blogging. I started in September of 2011 and needed a while to figure out what the heck I was doing. I think I knew what I was doing for roughly half of last year’s A-to-Z sequence. I’ve since forgotten it.

2019 was my most-read year to date: 24,662 page views from 16,718 unique visitors. It’s a heck of growth from even my 2018 figures, of 16,597 page views and 9,769 unique visitors. This 49 percent growth in year-to-year page views is the second greatest I’ve had. 2014-to-2015 saw a 60 percent growth. 2015 is also the first year I did an A-to-Z and I’m certain that made a difference. The 71 percent growth in unique visitors was the greatest growth in that statistic.

Bar chart showing annual readership, which rose significantly in 2012, 2015, 2018 and 2019, and held steady or drifted downward in the other years.
WordPress only started tracking, or at least reporting, unique visitors partway through 2012 which is why the darker unique-visitors bar in these makes it look like I had two visitors who read three thousand posts each that year.

A good part of that is a fluke event, though. One post in my A-to-Z sequence got linked from somewhere and that brought a flood of readers in. Easily something like five thousand people came in, read one or two posts, and left again. I’d still have a record year without that influx. But I don’t see anything else getting a reference like that, so I have to suppose that 2020 is going to be a more challenging year.

Bar chart showing the number of likes over the years; 2014, 2017, 2018, and 2019 were at roughly a thousand likes, with 2015 and 2016 four times and two times that figure.
Again, those 2012 and 2013 figures look suspiciously low, but I can’t think of any changes in how WordPress reported statistics which would make that make sense.

I always talk about how I’m getting fewer likes and even fewer comments than I used to. The yearly statistics show just how big the drop off is. There were 798 things liked in 2019, the lowest number since 2013. I’m not sure that the statistics for 2011 through 2013 are quite right. The jump between 2013’s 262 and 2014’s 1,045 seems suspicious. I’ve had a steady decline since 2015, though.

Bar chart showing the number of comments over the years. 2015 had the unquestioned peak, with 2016 and 2018 next-best, but the progression is a decline from that 2015 high point.
I certainly am not looking at this chart and the Likes chart and thinking that my chance to be a successful blogger came and went in 2015, nope!

And there were 181 comments in all of 2019. That’s half of 2018’s comment count. It’s my lowest number since 2013. I suspect part of the trouble is Reading the Comics posts. They’re good content, yes, but as initial posts they’re fairly closed things. Even the A-to-Z posts, apart from the appeals for subject matter, are pretty closed topics. I’ve clearly forgotten how to write open essays.

Besides my home page there were 797 pages that got at least one page view over 2019. There were 635 that got at least two page views, 304 getting at least ten views, 16 getting at least a hundred, and two that got over a thousand page views. Also, 109 of the pages viewed were Reading the Comics posts. The most popular of these were:

The first and third of these were posted in 2019. The top five essays posted in 2019 would be the linear programming and the Hamiltonian essays, plus:

Apart from the linear programming essay, I understand why these A-to-Z topics should be so popular. They’re big topics, ones that support wide swaths of mathematics.

Over the whole of 2019, people from 148 countries or country-like entities read something here. I feel pretty good about the spread of people, really. The only anomaly is that it’s been yet another year with no Greenland readers. I know there’s 14 people in Greenland but it does seem like someone would have read a page of mine by accident. Madagascar is a similar curious anomaly. 31 countries had only a single page view, which is really not that different to how many single-view countries I’ll have in any one month. Here’s the full roster of reading countries:

Mercator-style map of the world. The United States is in the darkest red, but most of the world has at least some pink in it. The exceptions are some of Saharan Africa, Greenland, Cuba, Madagascar, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan.
I normally don’t mind Mercator but it does create this enormous visual over-estimation of how many people in Greenland refuse to read me.
Country Readers
United States 13,872
India 1,161
United Kingdom 1,153
Canada 997
Philippines 907
Germany 562
Australia 466
France 347
Sweden 294
Singapore 250
Italy 245
Brazil 244
Netherlands 232
South Africa 180
Finland 176
Denmark 175
Spain 166
Russia 148
Poland 146
Switzerland 129
Ireland 121
Hong Kong SAR China 120
Norway 111
Japan 110
Belgium 106
Mexico 106
Pakistan 89
Slovenia 86
Turkey 85
Malaysia 77
New Zealand 74
Austria 66
Thailand 65
Indonesia 63
Portugal 62
Israel 59
Czech Republic 58
China 54
Greece 54
South Korea 54
Romania 52
Taiwan 52
United Arab Emirates 52
Colombia 51
European Union 47
Argentina 42
Ukraine 40
Hungary 39
Vietnam 39
Nepal 36
American Samoa 35
Latvia 32
Macedonia 31
Serbia 31
Slovakia 31
Bangladesh 30
Croatia 28
Chile 25
Kenya 24
Saudi Arabia 24
Nigeria 23
Egypt 18
Lithuania 18
Peru 18
Puerto Rico 18
Sri Lanka 17
Ecuador 16
Bulgaria 15
Jordan 15
Jamaica 14
Morocco 12
Lebanon 11
Belarus 10
Algeria 9
Belize 9
Uruguay 9
Bosnia & Herzegovina 8
Guatemala 8
Iceland 8
Malta 8
Myanmar (Burma) 8
Panama 8
Uganda 8
Costa Rica 7
Estonia 7
Tanzania 7
Cyprus 6
Ghana 6
Guam 6
Iraq 6
Trinidad & Tobago 6
Tunisia 6
Bolivia 5
Cape Verde 5
Georgia 5
Luxembourg 5
Venezuela 5
Zimbabwe 5
Armenia 4
Bahrain 4
Ethiopia 3
Kuwait 3
Mongolia 3
Albania 2
Azerbaijan 2
Botswana 2
Cambodia 2
Dominican Republic 2
El Salvador 2
Fiji 2
Martinique 2
Mauritius 2
Namibia 2
Papua New Guinea 2
Paraguay 2
Rwanda 2
Uzbekistan 2
Angola 1
Bermuda 1
Brunei 1
Burundi 1
Cameroon 1
Congo – Kinshasa 1
Côte d’Ivoire 1
Curaçao 1
Djibouti 1
Faroe Islands 1
Guyana 1
Honduras 1
Iran 1
Kazakhstan 1
Laos 1
Maldives 1
Marshall Islands 1
Moldova 1
Montenegro 1
Nicaragua 1
Oman 1
Palestinian Territories 1
Qatar 1
Réunion 1
Senegal 1
Sint Maarten 1
Somalia 1
Sudan 1
Turks & Caicos Islands 1
U.S. Virgin Islands 1
Zambia 1

I’m delighted there were three countries that had at least a thousand page views. I’ll try not to think how there could have been a fourth thousand-view country if only I’d hit refresh a couple times more when I was in Canada back in June.

So for the whole of 2019 I posted 173,087 words, according to WordPress’s figures. This was the third-greatest number of words I’ve written in a year, after 2016’s 199,465 words and 2018’s 186,639 words. These were spread over 201 posts. That’s my second-greatest number of posts in a year, after 2016’s 213 posts. This implies my average posting was 861 words. This I’m glad to see. It’s the first time in four years that I’ve averaged under 900 words per posting.

For the year, I averaged 1.5 comments per posting. That’s the lowest figure I’ve had for any completed year. It’s under half the average for each year from 2013 through 2018. The average likes per post is a less dire dropoff. For 2019 I had an average 3.8 likes per posting; that’s the first time since 2013 that it’s been fewer than five likes per posting.

Twice over 2019 I set a new record for daily views. My record now was set the 16th of October, when 5,003 page views came in. 720 came in the next day. It was a bit much. That 16th of October, I believe, upset the previous record that was set the 2nd of October. Before that, my greatest number of page views had been some weird day back in … I want to say March 2014. Sometime around then, anyway.

And that’s last year, in reading around here. I remain quite happy to have you as reader here this year. You can do that by using the “Follow Nebusresearch” button that’s currently on the upper-right corner of the page. (I am doing my annual thinking about changing the theme around here, if I can find a new theme that I like at all. If I do change, that might relocate the button.) Or you can use an RSS reader with the feed https://nebusresearch.wordpress.com/feed to view posts as they come in without my being able to track anything. And again, a free account in Dreamdwidth or Livejournal, which both still exist, lets you use their Friends page as RSS reader.

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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