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.


How February 2019 Treated My Mathematics Blog

February offered an interesting casual experiment for my mathematics blog. I didn’t actually leave it completely fallow. But I also didn’t do very much with it. I’d had an idea for a nice little project for it, but kept finding other things consuming the time.

So the short month ended up having a mere 11 posts. That’s on the low end of what I usually post around here. I’ve done as few as this several times in the roughly two years that WordPress makes it easy to find statistics for. But it hasn’t been common.

What did this do to my readership?

February 2019: 11 posts. 1,275 views. 835 visitors. 1.53 views per visitor.
1.53 views per visitor is the lowest that ratio’s been since May 2018 (1.52).

So I had a mere 1,275 views over the month, down from January’s 1,375 and December’s 1,409. What fascinates me is that this is an average of 46 views per day. In January there were an average 44 views per day; in December, 45. There were 835 unique visitors in February, down a touch from January’s 856 and December’s 875. That’s an average of 30 per day in February, 28 per day in January, and 28 per day in December. This suggests my blog may have reached the point that I don’t actually need to have stuff on it anymore. This would be quite the load off my schedule. It certainly suggests I’m improving my views-per-things-posted ratio.

My ‘likes’ continue to fall from the October 2018 local peak. There were 44 in February, my lowest total since July. Down from 63 in January and 82 in December. That’s rather more than can be accounted for by the shortness of February. Even per-post it’s still a drop, but not from much of a height. Comments plummeted even farther; there were ten in February, and one of those was about how there aren’t a lot of comments around here. There’d been 22 in January and 17 in December, numbers that seem more robust now. February was my lowest-comment month going back to May 2017, when there were eight comments.

The most popular posts this past month include a couple old reliables, and then one that I expect to be a steadily read one. The top five were:

There were 73 countries sending me readers in February. That’s well up from January’s 59, and even higher than December’s 68. Twenty of these were single-reader countries. That’s up from January’s 19 and December’s 17. I seem to have Europe pretty well-covered, apart from the Balkan, the Baltics, Bulgaria, and Belarus. I’m glad I have readers in Belgium at least. And how many?

A Mercator-style map of the world. The United States is the darkest pink on it; most of the Americas and Eurasia are a fairly uniform pink. Only a few African countries have any pink to them.
And ooh, hey! A reader from China. That like never happens.
Country Readers
United States 729
United Kingdom 67
Canada 50
Russia 42
Philippines 41
Denmark 39
India 38
Australia 28
Indonesia 13
Italy 13
Netherlands 13
Singapore 13
South Africa 12
Hong Kong SAR China 11
American Samoa 10
Germany 8
France 7
Poland 7
Austria 6
Belgium 6
Switzerland 6
China 5
Nepal 5
New Zealand 5
Pakistan 5
Sweden 5
Turkey 5
European Union 4
Slovenia 4
Spain 4
Thailand 4
Algeria 3
Iraq 3
Macedonia 3
Romania 3
Slovakia 3
United Arab Emirates 3
Brazil 2
Colombia 2
Finland 2
Greece 2
Guatemala 2
Ireland 2
Lebanon 2
Mexico 2
Nigeria 2
Norway 2
Panama 2
Saudi Arabia 2
Serbia 2
Taiwan 2
Uganda 2
Ukraine 2
Argentina 1 (**)
Cambodia 1
Cyprus 1
Czech Republic 1
Egypt 1
Hungary 1
Israel 1
Japan 1 (**)
Jordan 1 (**)
Kenya 1
Lithuania 1 (*)
Malaysia 1
Martinique 1
Mauritius 1
Papua New Guinea 1
Peru 1
Portugal 1
Puerto Rico 1
South Korea 1
Vietnam 1

Lithuania has been a single-reader country two months running now. Argentina, Japan, and Jordan have been single-reader countries three months now. Colombia ends its single-reader streak at six months as someone else came in to see what all the fuss was about. This spoils their chance to beat the European Union’s seven-month single reader streak, from December 2015 through June 2016. Sorry. Colombia still has the single-country streak record, though.

If I learn anything from the Insights panel, it’s that I write very long articles. They’re growing less so! According to Insights this year, to date, I’ve posted 20,750 words over 23 posts. This is an average 902 words per post. At the end of January I averaged 966 words per post. I posted a total of 9,162 words over February, or a mere 833 words each of those. I’m imposing less of a crushing workload on myself! Anyway, there were a total of 35 comments so far this year, an average of 1.5 comments per post, down from 1.9 at the start of February. There were 100 total likes, for an average of 4.3 likes per post, down from 4.8. Hm.

I start March with having made 1,225 total posts. They’ve attracted 75,565 views, from an acknowledged 37,951 unique visitors. So far.

I’d be glad to have you as a regular reader. You can have this blog added to your WordPress reader by using the “Follow nebusresearch” button in the upper right of the page. All these posts are also available by RSS, if you’d like to be read without being tracked. On Twitter I’m @Nebusj. And on Sundays and often another day of the week I go Reading the Comics for their mathematics topics. Thanks for reading this. I’m glad you’re there, trusting that you are there. And that it is you. You looked like you from a distance, anyway.

How January 2019 Treated My Mathematics Blog

It seems like about fifteen minutes ago I was looking over how 2018 treated my mathematics blog. But who am I to argue with the calendar? I have a hard enough time convincing the calendar that 1998 was at most eight years ago. My arguments are useless. Look, I clearly remember watching Star Trek Nemesis, opening weekend, alone except for the friend I talked into seeing this with, and there is no possible way that this was one minute more than six years ago. Well, here’s what I can say about my readership and how much blame I can take for it, within the scope of the first month of 2019.

January 2019: 1,375 views, 856 visitors, 1.61 views per visitor, and 12 posts published.
I’m sure someday I’ll reach the heights of 2,000 page views in a month again, if I can find a way to write the how-many-grooves-are-on-a-record’s-side article again.

I posted twelve things in January, and two of them were looks at what was popular previously. Considering that, though, people were interested. I suspect it’s spillover of the A-To-Z posts. There were 1,375 pages viewed, down a little from December’s 1,409 and November’s 1,611. Considering how much less effort January was, this seems like a great tradeoff. There were 856 unique visitors, compared to December’s 875 and November’s 847. In November I had 23 posts and December 17, so I’m at least being very efficient, per post, at drawing readers. I hadn’t had a 12-post month since July, when there were 1,058 page views and 668 unique visitors. Probably people were hanging around hoping to see more A-To-Z grade stuff.

The number of items liked dropped to 63. There had been 82 in December and 85 in November. Again, per post, that’s a pretty good rate of growth. There were 22 comments, up from December’s 17, down from November’s 36, and still pretty close to nothing when you consider I try to answer every comment, so half of all that writing is just me.

There was an outright surprise among the most popular posts of the month. Do you see which one doesn’t seem to belong here? And can you spot in which one I originally wrote ‘2018’ in the subject line, and corrected it, but it’s too much trouble to correct a WordPress URL for me to bother with?

Well, I’m delighted to see interest in the Five-Color Map theorem. It’s not so famous as the (correct) Four-Color Map theorem. But it’s one with a proof a normal mortal can follow.

The Insights panel tells me there were an average of 1.9 comments per post, through the end of January. 4.8 average likes per post, too. There were a meager 11,588 words posted in January, but that still averages to 966 words per post. That’s down from the 2018 average. It’s still my second-highest word count, though. It’s all right. I’ve thought of some things I could post that would be amusing and quite short to write, and that require I do calculations that might be fun in my spare time. This supposes that I have spare time.

How about the running of the countries?

Mercator-style projection of the world. The United States is the most darkly red-colored country, with Canada, the United Kingdom, and India faintly darker. There are almost no African countries with any pink in them; nor are most of the countries along the Silk Road, somehow.
Really the most startling part to me are the eighteen page views each from Macedonia and American Samoa. This seems like more per-capita readers than I might expect.
Country Readers
United States 835
Canada 84
United Kingdom 61
India 60
Philippines 54
Denmark 26
Italy 21
American Samoa 18
Macedonia 18
Slovenia 18
Germany 17
Australia 13
Poland 11
Netherlands 10
Ireland 9
Singapore 9
South Africa 7
Brazil 6
Croatia 6
Sweden 6
United Arab Emirates 6
France 5
Malaysia 5
New Zealand 5
Czech Republic 4
Indonesia 4
Israel 4
Mexico 4
Turkey 4
European Union 3
Pakistan 3
Romania 3
Russia 3
Spain 3
Taiwan 3
Bangladesh 2
Nepal 2
Norway 2
Argentina 1 (*)
Austria 1
Bosnia & Herzegovina 1
Chile 1
Colombia 1 (*****)
Ecuador 1
Finland 1
Georgia 1
Greece 1
Hong Kong SAR China 1
Iraq 1 (*)
Jamaica 1
Japan 1 (*)
Jordan 1 (*)
Kazakhstan 1
Lithuania 1
Morocco 1
Saudi Arabia 1 (**)
Switzerland 1
Thailand 1
Ukraine 1

There were 59 countries listed as sending me any readers in January. That’s way down from December’s 68 and November’s 70. 19 of them were single-reader countries, up from December’s 17 and November’s 13. Argentina, Iraq, Japan, and Jordan were single-reader countries last month too. Saudi Arabia’s been a single-reader country for three months now. Colombia’s on a six-month streak now. I could swear Colombia has done this before, too, although good luck my finding the time when. Searching for ‘Colombia’ in my archives is not as helpful as you might imagine. Oh, I can find a time in late 2015 through early 2016 when I had a single European Union reader each month, six months in a row. Maybe that’s what I was thinking of.

I began the month having ever had 74,290 page views, from an acknowledged 37,119 unique readers. I’m glad you’re one of them, at least right now. You can put my posts in your RSS reader and enjoy them at your convenience. If you do that, you won’t show up in any of my statistics. I’ll never know you read any of this unless you comment. And that’s fine by me. I’m happy with people keeping their privacy. If you’re using WordPress regularly you can also add me to your WordPress Reader. That’s from the button at the upper-right corner of the page. On Twitter I’m @Nebusj. and at least once a week I go around Reading the Comics for the mathematics stuff. Thanks for being here.