Gas station without pumps

2013 June 1

Blogoversary 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 19:59
Tags: , , ,

I got a notification from today that my blog is now three years old.  In that time, I’ve posted 1070 posts and gotten 235,600 views and almost 3000 comments (about 40% of which are mine, though, so only about 1800 comments from readers). My comment-to-post ratio is 2.80, nearly the same as previous years, and Bonnie and Mylène are still the top two commenters.  I offered them a prize last year of a suggesting a blog topic, but I don’t remember either of them claiming the prize—the offer is still good.

For 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 views:

Home page / Archives 63,539
2011 AP Exam Score Distribution 17,482
West Point Bridge Designer 2011 5,480
Installing gnuplot—a nightmare 5,118
Why no digital oscilloscope for Macbooks and iPads? 3,542
How many AP courses are too many? 3,408
Bring back the mammoth! 2,769
West Point Bridge Design Contest 2012 2,010
Computer languages for kids 1,993
2012 AP Exam Score Distribution 1,937
Instrumentation amp lab 1,707
County Fair with Pictures 1,614
Why Discrete Math Is Important and The Calculus Trap 1,613
Resources for bioinformatics in AP Bio 1,356
Google Scholar vs. Scopus and SciFinder 1,330
Waterproofing cameras for underwater ROVs 1,294
Soda-bottle rockets 1,273
Adding bioinformatics to AP Bio 1,237
A use for an Ion Torrent 1,108
Teaching voice projection 1,106
Should high schools and colleges teach sentence diagramming? 1,098
Underwater ROV contest 1,049
What is giftedness? 1,037

No single post gets more hits than the home page, which is viewed by those people who read the blog on a regular basis, but overall I get over 41%  of my views from people referred by search engines.  People are reading my stuff for the content, not because the posts are by me.  I’m not sure whether that is good or bad.

Some of the popular posts are artifacts of search engines: like the mammoth post, the pointers to AP score distributions, or the pictures from the County Fair. Some are from middle-school students trying to cheat on homework (the West Point Bridge Designer posts), and some are just weird choices (why the instrumentation amp lab post out of the 173 posts for the circuits course?). A lot of the posts are coming up because of useful content, though (like how to install gnuplot, bioinformatics resources, or soda-bottle rockets).

Only two of those most-popular hits are from the last year, so perhaps I should list the posts with over 300 views that were written in the last year:

2012 AP Exam Score Distribution 1,937
Instrumentation amp lab 1,707
Soda-bottle rocket simulation: take 2 750
EMG and EKG works 732
Physics posts in forward order 714
College tours around LA 670
Coursera Course Catalog 648
Circuits course: Table of Contents 562
Better electrode placement for EKG blinky 519
Medical Instrumentation, Chapter 6 510
UC Berkeley college tour 448
EKG blinky parts list and assembly instructions 421
Temperature lab, part 3: voltage divider 401
Where you get your BS in CS matters 397
Homemade super pulley 372
Weird problem in Coursera course 366
FET threshold tests with Bitscope 361
A critique of CS textbooks 347
Capacitive sensing 323
NSF “clarifies” Broader Impacts 314
Possible textbook, Horowitz and Hill 313

Of these, only the 2012 AP score distribution is embarrassing (it is just a pointer to a post where someone else collected the stats from a third person’s tweets, so it is really 3rd-hand info). Interestingly, the pages that serve as tables of contents for the home school physics and the circuits course have both been fairly popular. I would not have pulled out the instrumentation lab post nor the Chapter 6 summary out of the circuits-course posts as being particularly valuable, though.

I’ve not been pushing my posts on mailing lists much this year—of the new posts, probably only the two tables of contents and the two college-visit posts have been boosted by my telling people on mailing lists about them.

I’ve been averaging about 10,000 views a month lately (though the stupid AP score posts cause a spike in May each year, and December, August, and June were slow months—a lot of my readers are students or academics, so vacation times result in lower numbers of viewers).



  1. I’m a new follower. I appreciate your commentary regarding your success over the last three years. I just started blogging and feel inspired after reading about your experiences.
    Thank you!

    Comment by Louise Valenciana-Ruiz — 2013 June 2 @ 21:02 | Reply

    • I’ve found blogging to be a moderately rewarding activity. Commenting on other people’s blogs (with occasional relevant pointers to your own blog) is one way to build readership slowly. I’ve had more luck with information-containing posts than with philosophical reflections, and more with timeless information than with even announcements or other time-critical posts. ( doesn’t believe in timeless blogs—they don’t even believe in providing any way to get posts in chronological order—just latest first.)

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2013 June 2 @ 21:31 | Reply

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