Thursday, January 3, 2013

Blogging for A Year

Last year, on January 2nd, I started this blog, something I've been meaning to do for quite a while.
I've since written 95 articles primarily about either astronomy or books. The divided nature of the blog has troubled me, but I'm not yet ready to split it into solely one or the other category. We'll see how things evolve in 2013.

Word cloud (wordle) of some of the most frequently used words this past year. Some html formatting may have slipped through.

In this post, I go over some of the basic statistics of my blog (as of Jan 2, 2013) and mention some of the more popular articles.

Statistics-wise, I have had 19,284 page views this year. Not all of that are new or unique visitors, however. I started tracking this website with Google Analytics on April 25 and since then have recorded 10,025 pageviews: 6,737 visits (5,782 unique). According to Analytics, most visitors are new and see an average of 1.5 pages before leaving.

The single most productive day in Strakul's Thoughts history thus far is June 5, 2012. If you recall, that corresponds to the day of the transit of Venus. I had quite a few articles about that subject, and my description on how to calculate the distance to the Sun from the transit remains the 2nd most viewed article here. There were a lot of visits in June thanks to all those articles and the surrounding hype. My blog (in particular that distance article) was mentioned on many other websites and brought a bit of fame here. I hope it was useful to any others observing the transit!

Since June, the second most popular day has been October 3rd, the day after I published A Year as a Postdoc Astronomer in Chile. That was a very honest and open article about my adventures and frustrations of being a postdoctoral researcher in a foreign country. It appears to have struck a nerve in the astronomical community probably since many people have passed, are passing, or will pass through similar circumstances in their careers. Although it was a bit embarrassing to be so open, I was more worried about backlash in the event my superiors found out and decided to hold a grudge. This seems the type of environment were that can happen. Thus far, though, nothing bad has happened. In the end, I think I was both honest and fair and hope that my article can shine a light on the processes behind this career.

Despite these two popular astronomy-related articles, my number one most visited blog post is a book review of House of Chains by Steven Erikson, 4th book in the Malazan series. The review for the third book, Memories of Ice, is likewise popular being the 3rd most visited page.
This is reflected in the search terms people use to find my blog:

Most of the terms there are words used in the Malazan series. Some, like GJ 667Cc, planets, and ingress interior refer to other astronomy-based articles (note that GJ667 is marked separately from GJ 667 so there are actually more hits for that term), but most people using search engines find my blog thanks to the book reviews I've written.

It is difficult to tell if my blog is more popular for the book-related information or for my astronomy articles. I don't want to recycle astronomy news published elsewhere, though I've done it on occasion. I also find it takes me longer to write the astronomy-related articles and in fact have dropped several entirely. I also wonder if I should have a bit more of travelogue-type articles here. My brief visit to Paraguay appears to be widely searched for some reason.

Only time will tell how this blog evolves, so I hope you will continue to follow along.
As always, I am open to suggestions and comments should you have any.

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