I meant to get around to reviewing April’s readership around here sooner. I was busier than I wanted to be, as we all are. And I was trying to think about what the data meant, which is quite hard.
The startling thing to me is that my readership evaporated over April. In February my humor blog here had 1,046 views, and in March 1,053. In April that was down to a mere 808, the lowest since August of last year. The number of visitors collapsed too, from 505 in February and a close-enough 483 in March down to only 303 in April. And I don’t know what happened. It’s possible that people shifted from reading my stuff on pages to reading through RSS feeds or through the WordPress reader, since those readers don’t show up as views or visitors to my page. But … really, one-fifth of the page views and two-fifths of the readers? That’s weird.
(This does, by the way, match up with an increase in the average number of views per visitor. In April I recorded 2.67 views per visitor, my highest since June 2014. March saw a mere 2.18 views per visitor and February 2.07. From the way the daily view counts look I suspect a couple folks found me the last week of April and went archive-binging, which I would like to encourage.)
I don’t think April just reflects a burst of rapid-onset unpopularity. Some of the other measures suggest that I still have near as many readers. The number of likes was only 402 in April, down from March’s 443, but still up from February’s 345. The number of comments was 108 in April, down from March’s 113, but still above February’s 99. That’s a tie, by any realistic measure.
So I’m left with a mystery of where did the page counts go? I looked to the weekly reader totals for any hint what might have happened. From the week starting February 16th through the week starting March 30 I had between 200 and 260 readers per week. The first and second weeks of April that dropped to 162 and then 156 readers, and the third week of April it only rose to 186. Mercifully for my ego the week starting April 27 I drew in 213 readers, which is back to what the boom times had, but that leaves early April a mystery.
I don’t think I was writing significantly different stuff in early April from what came before or after, and I felt good about reader engagement. Maybe everybody was just off for Easter. My mathematics blog wasn’t, but perhaps there were exams that week. I’d be curious what other writers experienced. But I am feeling a little stunned by the results and maybe need to lie down. And I admit this week doesn’t seem to be starting off very well either. It’s a terrible thing to feel this insecure this early in the month.
Maybe I need to accidentally troll the Kinks fandom again.
4 thoughts on “Statistics Saturday for April Or Whatnot”
My stats took a dent in April. Possibly a general issue? What frustrates me about WordPress is that it doesn’t capture the full stats. As you say, the reader doesn’t register as a hit. But likes are recorded. In the minutes after I post I quite often get a number of ‘likes’ but no commensurate rise in views the stats system registers. There is also no indication as to whether these are drive by likes either, which I might get from a duration count. Mildly annoying.
I’m strangely relieved to hear that other people had a statistically anomalous number of readers in April.
The first week in April was a slow one on my mathematics blog too, although the second week was busier. That could be consistent with what I saw on my humor blog — its readership was flat between March and April, and perhaps it ought to have shown growth — but this is overall mysterious.
I understand WordPress not having a precise count for people who read articles through the Reader. It’s easy to count how many folks have something in the reader, but not necessarily whether they’ve scrolled to that point. On the other hand, how could someone ‘like’ a post if they don’t encounter it in the reader or on the individual page?
Probably the number of likes and the number of comments are better measures of readership, but some kinds of post just don’t lend themselves to any substantial comment.