Who reads this blog? Analysis of the first hundred posts

Google Analytics is a wonderful thing – it means I can see how many people read this blog, and which country and even city they come from (don’t worry, I can’t get your emails). So what does a trawl of the results for the first hundred posts reveal? Overall the site received over 25,000 visits from about 16,000 people (i.e. a mix of one off and regular visitors), with the average visitor reading two posts, and spending about two minutes on the site (such frenetic lives we lead).  Top five countries: US just ahead of UK, followed at some distance by Canada, Australia and India. Visitors came from 163 countries in all (at the last count, the world total was 192, I believe, so that’s pretty good) Five most popular posts: 1. How Much is $700bn? (first by miles – it got picked up by the Huffington Post and various referral sites, testament to the lure of the killer fact) 2. Two great new books on Africa (probably a halo affect – went up just after the $700bn post) 3. Agonizing over Aid (aid optimists v sceptics – an endless fascination for development wonks) 4. How can NGOs influence states? (nice to see a specific success story from Viet Nam getting traffic) 5. What’s Kerala’s Secret? (see? success stories are popular) A lot of the readers and commenters were Oxfam staff, which is great – we’re a sprawling organization of 14 affiliates spread across a hundred countries, and the chances for intelligent conversation (as opposed to strategic planning) are scarce. But I wish Oxfamistas, and everyone else, would send more comments – I’ve made a new year’s resolution to respond quickly when challenged and get into some arguments.   And among the comments I’d like to read are suggestions for improving this blog – subject, style, frequency, whatever. As for me, I’ve found blogging can be highly invasive (particularly at weekends), but if you can keep the ‘monkey on your back’ issue under control, it has a number of benefits over and above the conversation itself: It makes me read and think more sharply, and I am now more curious in seeking out new ideas and nailing down half-thoughts.  Sometimes it’s also a therapeutic outlet for those ‘arguments you have in your head’ (which of course, I always win….). The IT types are trying to get me to twitter, but that sounds just too close to having a transmitter implanted in your brain and switched permanently to ‘on’ – blogging will do just fine for now. And by the way, loyal reader in Ulan Bataar – who are you?]]>

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12 Responses to “Who reads this blog? Analysis of the first hundred posts”
  1. OMW

    I always wonder whether these stats under (or over?) estimate traffic. I get your rss feed directly into google reader, so I often don’t click through to the site. Is this counted?

  2. Duncan, you also have a loyal reader in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I also wonder why you don’t get that many comments on your posts… even I find myself trying to think of ideas to comment.
    A possible answer is that bloggers are normally “nobodies” (or at thi most, famous bloggers), but that’s not your case. We all presume that OXFAM’s head of research has some credit to expose his ideas.
    Anyway, I’ll give you a hand and start commenting more often. It’s healthy to argue.

  3. Pete Cranston

    hi duncan
    I am an exFamista, and my most recent contract had to do precisely with all this web2.0 stuff. First, congratulations: the standard of the content is reflected in your stats – 16k visitors in less than a year is very good. Secondly, the mix of material you have on the site is a model for your colleagues, get them going! Thirdly, web2.0 lore has it that frequency drives traffic, especially cross-linking, and eclectic helps. My favourite bloggers post very regularly but don’t feel the need to do more than add a link and a comment to a good quote or source, or post a picture (which scratches the monkey – ?). Media is the fifthly: there is a wealth of interesting video and image content that would enrich the content, and increase the links and trackbacks. Finally, Twitter works well from events – conferences, and tell the new media people to have a feed from that onto this – and you’ll be feeding yourself and the monkey.
    Good luck

  4. Duncan

    Wow, audience feedback. How exciting! Thanks for the suggestions, Pete; glad to hear from Buenos Aires (I used to live there cuando los milicos) and does anyone know the answer on whether Google Analytics counts RSS feeds?

  5. David Quinn

    Hey Duncan
    I’m one of those silent subscribers on the end of your RSS feed. From NZ. Your post motivated me to drop you a note as a small gesture of support for the value I get from your blog. Your commentary has “moved the bar” for me re oxfam …. which is a interesting side effect of your development issues focus as opposed to a more organisational bent. My overriding thought is while not underestimating the value of fact based research, there is real power in intelligent commentary. Keep leaping off the fence!
    I’ve seen in the technology industry how authority of blogs can grow quite quickly, becoming a significant point of influence. Something there can never be enough of with development issues. I understand the time and discipline required to post frequently …. but worth it to date 🙂
    PS: Using Feedburner for your RSS feeds is an easy way to understand subscription numbers (and add an easy to manage email subscription option).

  6. Sam Grant

    This is Sam Grant from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. I am working at an MFI (XacBank) through a year long fellowship program, conducting research and helping with product development. I really enjoy your blog and consider it great form of ongoing education. I cant wait to get my hands on a copy of your new book. Thanks for the shout out.

  7. Sam Grant

    Vasco – I am actually very good friends with Amy Sexton. She pointed me to your blog. However, I am pretty sure that she does not read this blog, she should though.

  8. Amy

    (Thanks, Vasco!)
    Duncan, you have a growing audience here in UB, Sam (#1!) and increasingly, me. Will comment more often in future and contribute to the debate – thanks for the insights!

  9. Duncan

    Finally got round to asking Eddie Lambert, the blogguru who designed this site. He reckons RSS feeds are not counted in Google Analytics numbers, but that most people reading an RSS feed would click on the link, and therefore be counted. RSS junkies disagree, so I’ll inflate the numbers a bit from now on!