Gas station without pumps

2011 June 5


Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 10:50
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I just noticed that my blog is a year old (plus a few days, as my first post was 1 June 2010).

What were my top posts for the past year?  Is there any pattern to what attracted readers?

Title Views
Home page 11,071
Computer languages for kids 1,036
Bring back the mammoth! 712
EteRNA, an Online Game 692
Advanced Placement Bio changes announced 625
AP creates penalties for not guessing 609
Adding bioinformatics to AP Bio 501
Bioinformatics in high school biology 495
Value-added teacher ratings 481
Biology teachers teaching creationism 456
Why no digital oscilloscope for Macbooks and iPads? 454
Group work 424
Google Scholar vs. Scopus and SciFinder 406
Two memes colliding 378
Thanks, Dad 365
Searching on the wayback machine 362
Evolution of superbugs 315
Just scoring points 311
Placement by achievement 308
High school stem cell curriculum 299
Should high schools and colleges teach sentence diagramming? 296
Homework load 285
Jay Mathews gets it wrong again 269
Build-Your-Own-Blocks extension to Scratch 262
Science Fair judging 258
Wasting money on interactive whiteboards 257
Bioinformatics training for AP bio teachers 255
Quick look at New Science Education Standards 253
Corrupted peer review 244
UC execs clearly out of touch with reality 241
Evolvability wins 237
A use for an Ion Torrent 231
County Fair with Pictures 231

Hmm, there seem to be several different subjects that catch people’s attention. Some, like my recommendations for computer programming languages for teaching children, have continued to gather views at a steady rate, while others get a quick flurry of attention then no further views. Many of the most-viewed posts are ones that I announced on mailing lists (particularly the AP biology teachers mailing list, the tagfam mailing list for parents of gifted children, and the compbio mailing list of students, faculty, and alumni from my department). But some, like the “mammoth” and “oscilloscope” posts, seem to bring in viewers from search engines.

Posts on education seem to get the most hits, particularly when they have pointers to resources, rather than just opinions, but most of my readers are coming to the home page, which suggests that they are regular readers, rather than just following links or search results to specific pages.

I’ve had 38,965 page views in the past 370 days, or about 105 a day.  It has been fairly steady, with a peak of 496 views on 12 Jan 2011.  I’ve written 302 posts (about 0.8/day), which have gotten 834 comments (and many of those comments are my replies), so the comment/view ratio is very low (about 2% of views result in a comment).  From what little I can gather from other sources, 2% is fairly normal for public blogs, which is depressing if you think of blogs as a conversation (only 2% participation!), but not bad if you compare with feedback on journal articles (I’ve only gotten one or two comments on papers that have been cited 100s of times).

To my regular readers, thank you for reading, and please leave more comments, so I can get feedback on what you like to hear about.  I’d particularly like comments that provide links to interesting related posts or web pages, and comments that give me some pushback on some of my more half-baked ideas.


  1. Many of the regular readers wont show up as ‘home-page’ traffic because they have the blog added as an RSS feed. Thats one thing I’m always curious about but which seems hard to find out from normal web-stats: how many RSS-subscriptions does the page have.

    Personally I liked some of ‘opinion-heavy’ posts best even though some of them had few views. For instance ‘Wasting money on interactive whiteboards’, ‘Two memes colliding’ and ‘Debating the Value of College’.

    Congratulations on the anniversary.

    Comment by Ras — 2011 June 5 @ 12:05 | Reply

  2. Happy blogoversary! Thanks for publishing.

    I subscribe to both your feed and your comments feed on Google Reader, and find it a handy way to get an overview of what’s new of various blogs quickly.

    Comment by Yves — 2011 June 5 @ 17:46 | Reply

  3. I agree with Ras — the opinion posts are a pleasure to read, balanced, and well-substantiated. My current favourite post is Debating the Value of College, which I haven’t digested enough to comment on. I usually request notification of follow-up comments via email, rather than RSS (it bugs me to have my RSS readers cluttered up with dead comment feeds). WordPress reports the number of people who have requested email notification, somewhere. You might also consider having a “subscribe by email” button in the sidebar for those who don’t use RSS readers.

    Comment by Mylène — 2011 June 5 @ 18:32 | Reply

    • E-mail notification button added. I never understood the point of it, since I much prefer to have an RSS feed, but it takes up little enough room that I’m happy to provide it. I have 10 e-mail subscribers currently, and 56 subscribers to comments on specific posts.

      I also hate “atomic comment feeds” with a separate RSS feed for each post, which Blogger seems to default to. Note that I provide a general comment feed, so there only need to be 2 feeds (the post feed and the comment feed). This could be annoying if you only want to follow one post, but I only get about 2.9 comments per post, so it is not much more traffic than the post feed.

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2011 June 5 @ 19:25 | Reply

  4. Congratulations on your 1 Year anniversary! Your post reminded me that I also started my Maths Insider blog a year ago, so I’ll follow your example and pull out some stats for my readers!

    I’m one of the email subscribers—I just find it easier to read blogs that I like directly in my email inbox. I tried Google RSS but found it overwhelming!

    As an expat Brit with 4 kids, I find your posts about the “inner workings” of the US education system fascinating. It may be that we choose to send our kids to US universities for higher education so it’s nice to get an inside view.

    Comment by Caroline Mukisa — 2011 June 6 @ 04:13 | Reply

    • I added a link to your blog in your comment. It seemed unfair to make people do a search for it. I looked over it very briefly, but it seems to focus mostly on advice to parents of young elementary-school students, and my son is starting calculus and AP physics this fall, so there was not much to hold my attention. (I also found the “featured articles” slide show very irritating—I prefer text that sits there and does not move or go away when I’m looking at it. I’m more a book than a TV person.)

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2011 June 6 @ 04:36 | Reply

  5. First time commenting, I stop by occasionally, usually following a link from FSP’s place.
    Happy blogging anniversary!!! *throws confetti*

    Comment by GMP — 2011 June 6 @ 20:47 | Reply

  6. […] my first blogoversary, I posted some stats about my most popular posts, so I’ll do that again this year. I’m marking those newer […]

    Pingback by Second Blogoversary « Gas station without pumps — 2012 June 2 @ 18:15 | Reply

  7. […] my other blogoversaries, I did some analysis of which posts were the most popular (1 year, 2 year), so I suppose I should do that again. Here are the posts with 1000 or more […]

    Pingback by Blogoversary 3 | Gas station without pumps — 2013 June 1 @ 19:59 | Reply

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