According to Wordpress stats the greatest post I’ve ever written has received almost 1000 visits (973 as of right now). That is astounding when compared to the homepage which has been visited 1667 times and has existed for longer than 3 weeks (5 months to be more accurate). The next most visited page after those two is my Experiments page (click link above) which has been visited 254 times. That number alone is pretty successful but it’s peanuts compared to the amount of people who care/complain about the peer-review article I wrote (which itself is peanuts compared to much more popular scientific writings).
There is a new feature in the WordPress stats that allows me to see a summary of the best stats for 2011 (for this site). I’ve decided to make it public (because that’s what I do) and share it with you.
You can see the most visited posts and more by clicking this link:
Monday Analytics Reviewed
By the way, I’ll be bringing back the site stats after ScienceOnline 2012.
The big news of this week is the addition of FigShare to my open notebook repertoire. I uploaded the Crumley data there for all to access. While technically the data was already open and accessible through this notebook, having it in more than one location is better!
I think I’m losing the goal of analytics. While I love looking at the hits and it is a very short term reward, I think the important information is not how many people are visiting the site, but where the people are coming from. By knowing where the audience is visiting from, you can better gauge the level of impact you may have on the scientific community. As an example, a lot of my traffic comes from Google searches – I still get a ton of hits for “Open PCR” (and will probably get more because of that mention there) – which is great, but probably not measurable right now in terms of traditional impact. But every now and again I get a visitor who is referred from a site that links my blog. While right now this is kinda small potatoes, eventually (hopefully) someone will link a protocol or a data set, which to me is just as good as a paper citation. That to me says “this person has a pretty good written protocol that you can trustfully follow” or “here is some interesting data based on a similar set of experiments.”
When that happens (and it will) and it happens to others (and it will as well) then ONS will become a viable outlet for more than just a handful of scientists. So today let’s look at some referrers:
Figure of visits by source (from Google Analytics).
- A good number of visitors came from search results and referrals. The referrals are listed as: Facebook (predominantly), Google Plus, LinkedIn, Andy’s Notebook, and Wikipedia. I’ve noticed that I’ve been getting some hits from the ONS Wikipedia page which warms my heart.
- As you can see, I’ve been hitting the social media outlets pretty hard. I actually don’t use twitter that frequently, but I have my posts auto-populate twitter and they go viral from there. I’m pretty amazed because I’ve always said Twitter is useless. It works pretty well for about a few hours and then goes dead, that’s how fast information is nowadays. As for the rest of the social media, I only use it because how are other scientists supposed to come across things that may interest them if I don’t do some form of promotion?
- A surprise to me is that most of my hits are getting tracked as “campaign” and I don’t know what that means! I know one component of campaigns has to do with visitors from RSS feeds and another source of campaign traffic are hits from Twitter. I would have assumed twitter would go under referrals, since other social media is sourced as that. I’ll have to investigate further since I don’t understand the associations, but it is interesting that I could even have a campaign association for an open notebook.
UPDATE: I removed the section that links to the FigShare Crumley data. I thought the embed box on FigShare linked to the data, but it instead linked to the site itself. Oh well.
This was a big week for my notebook. For some reason on Friday I had 100 page views! WP stats won’t give me enough detail to track what people were looking at, but GA gave me a little more insight. WP told me that there were over 50 views to the main page, but Analytics actually says there were less visits to that page and that there was more surfing than usual.
Interestingly there were only 18 visitors, which means that several people (or one person) spent a considerable time browsing. And I know that it isn’t anyone from the lab because there are no views from anywhere in NM! It’s also good to know that the visitors were able to navigate easily enough, especially because the day before I posted an article about the potential importance of user experience in an open notebook.
With that said here are the pageviews for the week:
I’m looking to expand this study a bit so if anyone has any ideas I’d love to hear them.
Well it looks like my notebook took a hit while I was away because there was no new content. What intrigues me is that I usually have steady traffic from Google searches relating to open pcr, open notebook science, tobacco seeds, etc but for some reason no one searched these past week and a half. I guess I answered everyone’s questions, ha!
As usual here are the analytics reports from my two tools, and it looks like the correlation is pretty remarkable. Check it out:
This week was a very strange week indeed. It started off normally and I received generic traffic from people following my notebook. Then I created Google+ and Facebook pages to promote my notebook through other media. Then I blogged about the motivations for doing so and the failures of each. Then for some reason I got a ton of traffic, and none of it makes sense. To make matters worse, Google Analytics and WordPress Stats don’t correlate at all during these record breaking numbers, and my social media tracking tools don’t work either at all or because twitter doesn’t work. Let’s talk about this:
- I published the article about Google+ and Facebook Pages on Thursday. Then on Friday I had a huge spike in numbers. The traffic on this day doesn’t demonstrate anything relevant to that topic, but yet I still had the most page views ever in the short history of this notebook. This day also marks the end of the correlation between the two analytics services. WP says 85 views and GA says 81. The most viewed page was the main page, with the Macrophotography post coming in second.
- Apparently on Friday there was a lot of browsing. As GA reports 8 pages per visit meaning people surfed the site. Great!
- Saturday was real weird because WP says there was almost no traffic, meanwhile GA says there was a lot. Meanwhile Sunday got a ton of traffic on WP but about half as much on GA. I’m like 99% sure this discrepancy is due to a time error in WP. I’ve noticed that some posts will post the next day if I publish around 5pm (not sure what the exact time is). And according to GA the first big spike in traffic on Saturday was at 7pm MT. This would be after WP switches dates. Which would explain the large number of visitors on Sunday for WP and the split amount on Sat and Sun for GA.
- A new referred has joined the crowd, Networked Blogs. I had to sign up for that so I could import my notebook posts into the new IheartAnthony’s Research Facebook Page. They of course redirect you through their site to my site, which I don’t think I’m too keen on right now, but it works so I won’t complain… yet.
So now that I figured out the discrepancy between the WP and GA stats for the weekend (time difference issues) the numbers between the two continue to correlate well, not perfectly, but well. That is a positive.
Unfortunately all this new traffic has not resulted in any positive measurable effects outside of web traffic stats. I’ve received a few comments from outside the lab (thanks Bill Hooker!). For me, the purpose of open notebook science isn’t just about data transparency and archiving, but it is also about engaging the community. And until I’ve got some success stories to share, measuring analytics won’t convince anyone that open notebooks are going to be the future of science.
I need a community project…
I’m still trying to figure out how to direct this experiment. I think right now I’m just going to compare the analytics tools to ensure they are similar in results and are reliable. If something ever prominent happens (like the research here gets cited or something) I’ll try and show proof through the analytics. Right now this is just raw data that is noteworthy, but not for any particular reason.
Here are the Site Stats Comparison (in Page Views):
- There was a noticeable amount of traffic last week from searches that involved OpenPCR. I wrote a series of posts about building the device and troubleshooting. The guys over at OpenPCR loved it, and I’ve been getting hits sporadically relating to those posts, but this past week almost every day I had a hit relating to those posts. Hopefully they are useful to people.
- Someone also searched “eee transformer useful” and came to this site. I most certainly didn’t say in my post on the tablet (Asus Eee Pad Transformer) that the device was useful so I’m assuming they got that message. I still don’t like tablets and feel they have a long way to go. In related news I learned that the chromebooks have been on sale for a little while. I would much rather have one of those. Maybe I should try it out.
- Someone also searched “tobacco seeds microscope.” That warms my heart because that size comparison study was pretty well done (with rulers and everything) and I hope the person who searched that got what they were looking for. I wish people would leave comments though so I had some sort of feedback.
There isn’t much else to report this week. I got a lot of hits from twitter again and some from Steve’s blog. The main page was the most looked at page, but a close second was the setup for RC4 and surprisingly Alex was not the majority of those hits. Wednesday was a huge spike in traffic and I can’t explain why and Google Analytics and WordPress stats don’t correlate very well on that day either (46 vs 71 views).