Most visited posts of 2008

2008-12-31

in Daily updates, Internet matters, Writing

As the year comes to a close, it seems worthwhile to link back to the posts that got the most attention over the past twelve months:

1) By far the most popular was this post on Greyhound bus security, arguing that incorporating airport-style security into the bus system doesn’t make sense. Largely because it got linked by Bruce Schneier, the post was viewed over 2,000 times – more than 1,000 of them on the first day when it was linked.

2) Second post popular was this post on Health Canada’s climate change report. It’s not much of a post, really, when it comes to new content from me. What it does do is make the PDF files of the report available for easy download: something Health Canada itself opted not to do.

3) The third most popular post came very early in 2008, and was about how high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission could be a major enabler for renewable electricity generation.

4) The fourth post once again demonstrates the power of getting linked on a popular site. Zoom directed a lot of people towards my odds guessing experiment, the results of which were posted subsequently.

5) Finally, the fifth most popular post of 2008 was my flowchart for voting in Canadian elections. Strategic voting was a big issue in Canada this year, as was the difficulty of interpreting any electoral result. Voters are simply trying to express so many different preferences through such a narrow channel that knowing precisely what any vote means is impossible.

Taken together, these posts demonstrate a few basic realities of the blogosphere: (a) the small fry get a lot of attention when they can catch the eye of bigger fish, (b) failing that, it pays to be Google-bait, (c) it pays to be the one providing access to something popular, and (d) posts with the most substantive content won’t necessarily get the most traffic.

My thanks to the 36,418 absolute unique visitors who stopped by this year, viewing 117,400 pages. Hopefully, next year will be even better, both in terms of the quality of writing, photography, and discussion and in terms of how many people participate.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Litty December 31, 2008 at 6:32 pm

posts with the most substantive content won’t necessarily get the most traffic

Which posts do you think were your best contributions?

Also, which photos were you most pleased with?

Alena December 31, 2008 at 7:30 pm

Could you list your most favorite photos and what you consider to be the most interesting debate that you generated? I think that it is fantastic that you have the discipline to write every day and engage with such a wide audience. Bravo on another year of excellence! Stastny Novy Rok.

oleh December 31, 2008 at 8:54 pm

Thank you and congratulations on another outstanding year on your blog.

I appreciate your explanations which make difficult concepts more understandable. For example I recall the explanation of how many new hydro-electronic dams or nuclear plants would be required to either meet the hoped for decrease in slowing of electrical consumption.

I also observe the growth of visits in each quarter over the past year with

1. first quarter 11,109

2. second quarter 11,331

3. third quarter 13,774

4, fourth quarter 17,932

I am looking forward to what the sibilant intake of breath will offer in 2009.

Milan December 31, 2008 at 9:20 pm

Some 2008 posts with good photos (in reverse chronological order):

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20

21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40

41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50

51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61

A year is a long time!

Anon December 31, 2008 at 9:29 pm

You are right to think that links from big players are the route to popularity.

Is that what you want?

Emily January 1, 2009 at 5:12 am

I hope this year coming is full of excellent and encouraging things to write about!

Milan January 1, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Thanks to everyone for the good wishes.

You are right to think that links from big players are the route to popularity.

Is that what you want?

I am more interested in the quality of conversations than the sheer quantity of visitors. That being said, it is nice that this is the first year the site’s operating expenses were paid out of ad revenues.

AT January 2, 2009 at 1:55 am

It is nice that this is the first year the site’s operating expenses were paid out of ad revenues.

Blocking ads with Firefox, I had no idea this blog features them. Some sites, The Daily Kos for instance, request from readers who block ads a subscription to support the site’s revenue. As a rule I don’t pay for anything I read on the internet. This reminds me, therefore, that if I don’t want to a be a free rider I’d better turn off Adblock Plus.

Milan January 2, 2009 at 8:53 am

I think people should be free to use products like AdBlock if they like, even on my site. I don’t think there is any moral obligation to view the ads some people put on their websites.

That being said, I can see how people with higher hosting expenses might feel otherwise.

Personally, I use AdBlock in my default brower (Firefox), but not in the secondary browser (Safari) that I use when a site is unhappy with Firefox and my particular collection of plugins. NoScript, in particular, causes problems with some sites.

R.K. January 2, 2009 at 10:45 am

What were your most common search queries in 2008?

Milan January 2, 2009 at 10:56 am

Top 25 search queries for 2008: (number of instances)

  1. sindark (996)
  2. sibilant (510)
  3. non alcoholic beer (202)
  4. hvdc (198)
  5. oc transpo strike (173)
  6. jeff+gibbs+flotilla (138)
  7. ryder mckeown (135)
  8. skypein canada (124)
  9. non-alcoholic beer (122)
  10. hvdc transmission (121)
  11. spore galactic core (120)
  12. “scott davy” sindark (104)
  13. http://www.sindark.com (102)
  14. richard casement internship (100)
  15. shoe cobbling (99)
  16. lhc activation (96)
  17. oxford blogs (92)
  18. health in a changing climate (87)
  19. “ryder mckeown” (85)
  20. turkey in december (75)
  21. a sibilant intake of breath (72)
  22. not not to lose things (71)
  23. magic (63)
  24. international law notes (62)
  25. “viktoria prokhorova” (59)

It is notable that these are not generally topics I write much about. Presumably, there are much larger websites out there getting the bulk of the hits for ‘climate change’ and so forth.

In total, 54.76% of visitors found this site using search engines.

Milan January 2, 2009 at 11:09 am

For the curious, here is a list of the top Google queries in which my site appears, as opposed to the top queries that actually lead to a visit. The number in parentheses is the average position in the listing where my site appeared. That is to say, a (5) denotes that most people saw my site as the fifth item in their list of results:

  1. non alcoholic beer (9)
  2. sibilant (7)
  3. oc transpo strike (24)
  4. gay love (99)
  5. “non alcoholic” beer (5)
  6. oc transpo strike 2008 (9)
  7. dr strangelove (73)
  8. hvdc (7)
  9. vaclav klaus (15)
  10. atwood tools (6)
  11. greyhound busses (6)
  12. norwegian women (85)
  13. codebreaker codes (13)
  14. exro (7)
  15. essaouira (66)
  16. skypein canada (11)
  17. nuclear test (19)
  18. non alcoholic beverages (9)
  19. nuclear testing (20)
  20. chester arms (9)

It’s a bit remarkable that I am in the top 100 for ‘gay love,’ on average. All those hits result from a single usage of the words side-by-side, in this book review.

R.K. January 2, 2009 at 2:04 pm

You have to wonder about the people who type “http://www.sindark.com” into a search engine.

Partly, I blame Mozilla. By building Google search capability into the address bar, they have helped to even further confuse those who don’t understand the distinction between one and theother.

Milan January 2, 2009 at 2:11 pm

90% of the people who searched for that term were using Firefox.

Actually, it seems that there was was just one person from West Vancouver, running Firefox in Mac OS, who ran that search 88 times using Microsoft’s Live Search.

Padraic January 2, 2009 at 8:04 pm

Keep up the great blogging. You must spend a lot of time coming up with twice-daily posts, and it’s much appreciated.

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