Statistics October: When Am I Going to Do Something About Mark Trail, And What Will That Be?

I have not a thing to do with Jules Rivera’s Mark Trail. Even in the world of comic strip snark bloggers I’m a third-tier player. The nearest connection I have is that a former friend went on to become a syndicated cartoonist.

But I do read it, and I occasionally recap its plot. I do this for a dozen story strips. This is my plan for what comic strips I’ll be recapping the next month, and when I plan to post those recaps:

So my first comments about the story and my reaction to it, I figure to have in two weeks. Hope you feel it’s worth the wait. Me? I’m just reveling in that I figured out how to post from the Classic, or “Good”, WordPress editor again and don’t have to fight the new Block, or “Bad”, one to do stuff like embed images or videos.

So, like, every month I hope to look at my readership figures and see what was popular and what wasn’t. This month? It was extremely popular for me, according to WordPress’s count of page views, and other stuff. WordPress tells me there were 7,149 page views here in October. This is the largest I’ve ever had in a single month, going past even the Apocalypse 3-G peak in November 2015. It’s way above the 4,050.8 twelve-month running average of page views. The number of unique visitors was way up too. WordPress recorded 4,135 unique visitors in October, also a record, and way above the twelve-month running average of 2,374.8. Heck, 4,135 views, never mind visitors, would be among my most-read months.

Bar chart of monthly readership figures. After several months of slight rises around 4,000 views per month, it leaps to just over seven thousand views and four thousand visitors for October.
I feel like daring them to tell me how I could get people to pay me for reading Gil Thorp.

I know why all these visitors. You do too. But let’s let that wait a moment and look at other statistics. There were 115 things liked here in October, tolerably above the twelve-month running average of 95.3. And there were a positively robust 43 comments, beating the average 27.5. I do like seeing all this. My next goal will be getting two commenters having a conversation with each other, instead of chatting with me. Well, that’ll probably never happen. I’ve been doing this daily for eight years; if I knew how to say stuff that attracted people who want to talk to each other, I’d have done it by now.

So what does draw people in? The mode of them were looking for Mark Trail news. The five most-read pieces in October were posts with names like Why does Mark Trail look funny? and Why Does Mark Trail look different? As I noticed these getting popular I put up tags to tell people about the new artist-and-writer, and to point them to my plot-recaps pages. They’ll never come back. The only pieces to compare were, well, that months-in-reverse-alphabetical-order post, and one asking about what’s going on with Mallard Fillmore. Daily Cartoonist says that Bruce Tinsley is returned to the comic strip he originated. That’s all right. I return from not reading Mallard Fillmore to not reading Mallard Fillmore.

The five most popular pieces around here that were posted in September or October of this year were largely comic strip based. One original thing did make the cut:

My most popular long-form essay was Some Astounding Things About The Moon, which it’s nice to see get some recognition. Especially since I both like the piece and had the main bulk of it spill out in about twenty minutes’ thinking, which is a pretty good ratio. Some pieces I spend all week trying to get into shape and they’re still formless blobs. My most popular Statistics Saturday piece was, of course, How Many People Wanted To Know What Was Up With Mark Trail This Past Week. I’m not above being a little clickbait-y, as long as I can whitewash it with irony. Yes, I’m Gen-X.

77 countries sent me any readers at all in October. That’s the same count as in September. There were 15 single-view countries, up from 10 the month before. Here’s the roster:

Country Readers
United States 5,677
India 262
Philippines 144
Canada 142
United Kingdom 113
Australia 102
Colombia 51
Germany 49
South Africa 43
Sweden 42
France 35
Spain 33
Brazil 29
Norway 28
Finland 24
Italy 24
Sri Lanka 22
Netherlands 21
Chile 20
Japan 18
Kenya 18
Malaysia 15
European Union 14
Greece 14
Belgium 12
Thailand 10
Austria 9
Mexico 9
New Zealand 9
Singapore 8
Hong Kong SAR China 7
Switzerland 7
Trinidad & Tobago 7
Turkey 7
China 6
Croatia 6
Denmark 6
Indonesia 6
Poland 6
Tanzania 6
Costa Rica 5
Nigeria 5
Peru 5
Romania 5
Russia 5
Serbia 5
Argentina 4
Cook Islands 4
Pakistan 4
Egypt 3
Saudi Arabia 3
Slovenia 3
South Korea 3
United Arab Emirates 3
Algeria 2
Bulgaria 2
Czech Republic 2
El Salvador 2
Ireland 2
Kuwait 2
Portugal 2
Taiwan 2
Åland Islands 1
Bahrain 1
Bangladesh 1
Congo – Kinshasa 1
Curaçao 1
Georgia 1
Guatemala 1
Israel 1
Libya 1
Morocco 1
Myanmar (Burma) 1
Puerto Rico 1
Turks & Caicos Islands 1
Vietnam 1
Zimbabwe 1
Mercator-style map of the world, with the United States in dark red and most of the New World, western Europe, South and Pacific Rim Asia, Australia, and New Zealand in a more uniform pink.
Some month I’m going to just repeat the previous month’s map and see if anyone notices. I bet that’s the month I get a reader from Greenland, too.

There’s no countries that were single-view two months in a row. I’m not sure that’s ever happened before that I noticed. I’m happy seeing it, though. If I am going to be barely noticed, at least it can be a broad bare-noticing.

From the dawn of time to the start of November I had posted 2,830 pieces. These gathered 195,475 total views, from 110,257 logged unique visitors.

WordPress credits me with 14,152 words posted in October, my most laconic month this year. I averaged 416.2 words per posting in October. And that’s with stuff like the Popeye cartoon reviews and the story strip plot recaps bulking out my average. Recapping a Sunday-only strip like Prince Valiant helps. But, this means for the year to date I’ve posted 159,495 words, and have an average for the year of 523 words per post, dropping from 536. We’ll just see what I do about that.

If you’d like to see what I do, add my RSS feed to whatever you use to read essays. If you don’t have an RSS reader? Sign up for a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal. You can add any RSS feed — which most every WordPress blog has, and many comic strips and other regularly updated stuff does too — from or as you like. Or, if you have a WordPress account, click the “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile” button on this page somewhere.

Thank you all for reading.

Statistics Saturday: Top Five Letters In October

  1. E
  2. R
  3. O (second O)
  4. C
  5. O (first O)

Reference: Life Science Library: Giant Molecules, Herman F Mark.

(You know, plenty of people complain how October isn’t the tenth month, but do you ever hear anyone complaining how it hasn’t got eight letters in it? Yeah, me neither.)

Statistics October: People Want Me To Talk About Comic Strips

I continue to have spreadsheets alongside my monthly readership review. This may not seem important to you but, trust me, I love having them to look at. They let me do this running-average stuff that’s so gratifying to work with.

It’s gratifying because the trend has been good the last few months. I did not quite break my November 2015 readership high point. That month, when the collapse of Apartment 3-G got me a bit of attention from the Onion A.V. Club, still has my highest number of page views. It’s now got only the third-greatest number of unique visitors in a month. October 2019 now has the second-greatest number of page views and largest number of unique visitors on record. Let’s get to the specifics.

There were 4,363 page views here in October. These were spread across 469 pages, including the home page that I imagine people default to reading. There’d been 460 such in September. 162 of them got a single view each. There were 166 such in September. The count of page views is rather above the twelve-month running average of 3,349,9 page views. The November 2015 peak was 4,528 page views, so, mm. Better luck next month.

Bar chart of monthly readership statistics from February 2015 through October 2019. It jumped up considerably in early 2018 and has been rising the last half-year steadily.
Huh. I wonder when I started including regular recaps of what the story comics were up to. It’s a shame there’s no way to tell.

In October there were 2,420 unique visitors. That’s above the twelve-month running average of 1,909.3. That’s also above the longstanding November 2015 record of 2,308 unique visitors, and the more recent April 2019 record of 2,418 unique visitors.

The things that reflect reader engagement, as opposed to just letting pages load, continue to dwindle, though. There were only 119 things liked here in October, well below the twelve-month average of 155.0, which itself was down from years gone by. There were only 14 comments, too, down from the average of 35.8. That’s also in a long secular decline. I don’t know why, especially as more people read posts.

The per-posting averages show just the same trend. There were 31 posts in October; there were 140.7 views per posting, above the average of 11.0. 78.1 unique visitors per post, above the average of 62.7. 3.8 likes per posting, below the average of 5.1. 0.5 comments per posting, below the average of 1.2.

The most popular postings in October were, mostly, not things published in October. The top six (there was a tie for fifth) postings were:

The most popular long-form essay was from way back in October 2018, Everything There Is To Say In Explaining How Computer Graphics Work. That was the most popular thing in September too. I suspect it might be getting spurious results from people looking for computer-graphics advice.

76 countries sent me any readers in October. In September this was 73; in August, 74. 23 countries sent me a single page view in October, way up from September’s 13 and August’s 14. Here’s the full roster:

Mercator-style map with the United States in deepest red, and most of the Americas, Europe, Russia, and South Asia in pink. Also in pink: Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand.
By the way, there were 48 page views recorded from the European Union, as separate from any particular nation, and I really wonder what the “European Union” designation means and why there’s so many this time. It’s usually an origin that gives me a handful of page views. 48 is getting up into, like, Brazil or Australia numbers.

Country Readers
United States 3,252
India 195
United Kingdom 111
Canada 94
Germany 89
Australia 54
European Union 48
Brazil 45
Italy 43
Sweden 38
Philippines 33
Spain 28
El Salvador 20
Romania 20
South Africa 20
France 18
Finland 17
Mexico 16
Turkey 14
Thailand 13
Japan 11
Norway 11
Argentina 10
Indonesia 10
Kenya 9
Serbia 9
South Korea 9
Netherlands 8
New Zealand 8
Ireland 7
Czech Republic 6
Denmark 6
Pakistan 6
Switzerland 6
Egypt 5
Hong Kong SAR China 4
Poland 4
Portugal 4
Russia 4
Ukraine 4
United Arab Emirates 4
Malaysia 3
Singapore 3
Slovakia 3
Bangladesh 2
Colombia 2
Costa Rica 2
Ecuador 2
Greece 2
Hungary 2
Kuwait 2
Nigeria 2
Taiwan 2
Algeria 1 (*)
American Samoa 1 (*)
Austria 1
Bahrain 1 (*)
Belgium 1
Bermuda 1
Bosnia & Herzegovina 1
China 1
Curaçao 1
Guadeloupe 1
Guam 1
Guatemala 1
Iraq 1
Jordan 1
Lithuania 1
Macedonia 1
Peru 1
Qatar 1 (*)
Slovenia 1
Venezuela 1
Vietnam 1
Zambia 1
Zimbabwe 1

Algeria, American Samoa, Bahrain, and Qatar were single-view countries in September. No countries have been single-reader for more than two months running now.

For November, as ever, I intend to have a long-form essay of about 700 words published every Thursday evening, Eastern Time. Saturday evenings should continue to have some kind of formalistic joke dubbed “Statistics Saturday”. And every Sunday evening I work out what’s happening in one of the story comics. My plan for the coming month, subject to revision if breaking news requires, is:

And again, The Amazing Spider-Man is in repeats, and I don’t know if or when it’ll ever come out. For now I’m keeping the flame alive, but we’ll see how long that holds up. If I do decide to keep recapping the strip despite it being in repeats, maybe I’ll be forced by logic to add Mandrake the Magician or Flash Gordon into the cycle.

From the start of 2019 through the start of November I published 303 things here. This made a total of 172,159 words, for an average 571 words per post. This was a laconic month. The 14,721 words over the 31 posts brought my average down from 581 words per post. Yeah, I’m surprised it was not quite 15 thousand words too; just the What’s Going On In posts tend to run, like, eight thousand words each. But this averaged only 474.9 words per post in October, down from the September 556.2. I must have saved minutes over the course of the month that way. There have been 1,456 likes on anything over the year, an average of 4.8 per posting. It’d been an average 4.9 at the start of October. There’d been 403 total comments on the year, an average of 1.3 comments per post, which is where the year’s average had been the start of October too.

If you’d like to be among my regular readers, please do join in. You can use the “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile” link at the upper right corner of this page. Or you can put into your RSS reader. If you don’t have an RSS reader, you can fake it by getting a free Livejournal or Dreamwidth account and putting that feed on your friends page.

I’m still officially on Twitter as @Nebusj, although I haven’t checked in on it in ages. I had a good month or so where it wouldn’t let me connect at all. Maybe it’s worth checking in again.

Statistics October: How Good It Is For Me When Longrunning Comic Strips End

Given the choice, I’d rather comic strips not end. Oh, there are strips I don’t like, even ones I won’t read. But for the most part, I like comics. I like them carrying on. I love it when a new creator comes in and revives a moribund property. But even something that’s just marking time is this comfortable, familiar friend for whom nothing exciting is happening, but nothing bad is happening either. And that’s consoling, especially in the face of a terrifying world.

So I expected the ending of Hazel and then Henry to bring readers here, since who else writes anything about either? Besides actual comic strip news sites. Still, people did come. Partly from the comic strip news. Partly spillover from my mathematics blog, which hosted the Playful Mathematics Education Blog Carnival at the end of September. Give that a try, please. You might find something delightful there. Here’s how the figures worked out, precisely:

3,070 views; 1,681 visitors. 1.83 views per visitor. 31 posts published. 99 page views, on average, per day.
Yes, I am thrilled to be back above three thousand page views for the first time in four months.

WordPress tells me of 3,070 page views in October. That’s way up from September’s 2,644 and August’s 2,848. These views came from 1,681 unique visitors, again way up from September’s 1,436 but basically level with August’s 1,619. Still, there were 173 likes submitted around here in October. That’s basically the same as September’s 174, August’s 180, and really every month going back to April. It’s been in a 165-to-180 range all this time now. I don’t know. The number of comments jumped, up to 67, the highest figure since March. September had 50 comments and August 39. I’m trying to be comfortable with people talking to me.

Comic strip talk made up the bulk of my readership. Part of this is comic strip endings or major changes. Part of this is story strips getting really confusing. Here’s the top five posts for October:

Yes, none of them actually published in October. My most popular thing actually published in October was In Which I Am Distracted By Ziggy For Crying Out Loud, a cry of despair provoked by paying too much attention to the art one strip. I had a lot of well-liked short pieces, by the way, possibly because I got into this good groove of having an amusing trifle and being able to put it down in 150 words. My most popular long-form piece was, like, the 814th most popular thing around here last month. That was Regarding The Time When I Had Too Much Desiccant, showing that what really amuses people is me somehow having problems with petty stuff.

Here by the way is my schedule for upcoming What’s Going On In The Story Strip posts. Subject to change if some fast-breaking news breakfasts:

I also have another seven weeks of recaps of The Stan Freberg Show to run. Don’t think I’m not already panicked about what to write about after that.

Now for the running of the countries. There were 69 countries, if you count the European Union as one and Trinidad & Tobago as one other. And Bosnia & Herzegovina as another one. In August and September there were 60 such countries. In August and September there were 16 single-reader countries. In October? 17. So I’m clearly in a growth spiral here. Here’s the roster:

Country Readers
United States 2,329
Australia 140
Canada 96
United Kingdom 54
Spain 53
India 47
Italy 31
Philippines 26
Germany 24
Japan 19
Brazil 18
Mexico 17
Hong Kong SAR China 16
Netherlands 13
Romania 13
France 12
Saudi Arabia 11
Sweden 10
Belgium 9
Finland 9
Denmark 7
Sri Lanka 7
Colombia 6
Pakistan 6
South Africa 6
Ireland 4
New Zealand 4
Norway 4
Peru 4
Singapore 4
Taiwan 4
China 3
Czech Republic 3
Latvia 3
Malaysia 3
Slovenia 3
Thailand 3
Zimbabwe 3
Chile 2
Ecuador 2
European Union 2
Greece 2
Indonesia 2
Nigeria 2
Poland 2
Russia 2
Serbia 2
Slovakia 2
South Korea 2
Turkey 2
Ukraine 2
Vietnam 2
Argentina 1
Austria 1
Bahrain 1
Bangladesh 1 (*)
Bosnia & Herzegovina 1
Croatia 1
Curaçao 1
Cyprus 1
El Salvador 1
Estonia 1
Kazakhstan 1
Luxembourg 1
Madagascar 1
Maldives 1
St Lucia 1
Suriname 1
Trinidad & Tobago 1

Bangladesh was a single-reader country in September. No other countries were, though, and no country’s sent me a single reader each month for three months running now.

According to Insights, by the end of October I had published 195,599 total words in 304 posts for the year. This is 643 words per post total, on average. I had been averaging 641 words per post at the start of October. There were 18,418 words published around here in October, over 31 posts. That’s up a little bit from September’s total, although really only because there were only 30 September posts. Huh. Anyway, I’ve had 742 total comments for the year, as of the start of November. 2.4 comments per post this year up from 2.3 at the start of October. 6.1 likes, on average, per post, the same number as at the start of October. 1,844 total likes so far this year, by the way, if you wondered.

November opened with the blog having had a total of 102,048 page views, from 56,394 unique visitors. And yes, I reached my 100,000th page view this past month, and celebrated it with a special Statistics Saturday post.

If you’d like to follow Another Blog, Meanwhile, please do. You can add it to your WordPress reader. You can add it by RSS reader, using whatever tool you like to read my content, and maybe even get the versions with the dumb typoes and grammatical errors not corrected out. And if you’d like to see me on social media, that’s your business. But I’m @Nebusj on Twitter, so that’s an option. Choose wisely.

Statistics October: How That Slice Of 2017 Worked Out For Me

I shouldn’t complain about my readership in October 2017. It was up a little bit from September and August, for one thing. There were, WordPress says, 2,151 page views the past month here. This is up from September’s 2,126 and August’s 1,965. 2151 is also special for being one of the years named on-screen in Star Trek, although to be fair, only Enterprise. The number of unique visitors rose to 1,337, from September’s 1,089 and even August’s 1,301. I thought that 1337 was a promising number too, what with it being the year of Wat Tyler’s Rebellion, but of course that was 1381. I have no idea how I made such a dumb mistake and I apologize for the inconvenience.

The popular stuff continues to be comic strip stuff and things by great humorists who weren’t me. The top five essays in October were:

I understand people coming to me in search of plot recaps for the story strips. That’s just practical, especially for comics that haven’t drawn their own commentary community the way Funky Winkerbean or Mark Trail have. I am surprised by the number of people looking up Momma is all. I mean, what’s going on in story or semi-story strips is a question people can reasonably wonder many times over. Whether Momma is still being made a person would wonder once after the strip goes into eternal reruns. Maybe twice if you allow for forgetting the original answer.

The most popular piece of my own original-brand humor was the Statistics Saturday piece, Some TV Show Episodes I’m Still Angry About Decades Later (I imagine everybody has a list like this). The most popular long-form piece of my own creation last month was Why I Am Not A Successful Urban Fantasy Writer, a bit of a surprise to me since that one was published the 27th. I’d have figured one of the goofball writing posts from earlier in the month more likely to take the lead, just because they probably all have about the same audience and would have several times as long to draw readers.

I make out there having been 70 countries sending me readers in October. That’s up from 65 in September and 68 in August. There were 21 single-reader countries, down from September’s 24 and up from August’s 20. And which were all these places of wonder and readers? These.

Country Readers
United States 1,516
India 69
Canada 67
United Kingdom 65
Brazil 51
Italy 26
Germany 25
Australia 22
Philippines 21
Netherlands 20
Spain 19
Ukraine 15
New Zealand 13
Romania 13
Vietnam 13
Russia 12
South Africa 12
Poland 11
Singapore 9
Sweden 9
France 8
Greece 8
Finland 7
Hungary 7
Argentina 6
Czech Republic 6
Hong Kong SAR China 6
Thailand 6
Mexico 5
Pakistan 5
Serbia 5
Turkey 5
Bangladesh 3
Denmark 3
Japan 3
Kuwait 3
Lebanon 3
Malaysia 3
Slovakia 3
Armenia 2
Cambodia 2
Estonia 2
Ghana 2
Indonesia 2
Ireland 2
Kenya 2
Lithuania 2
United Arab Emirates 2
Uruguay 2
Belgium 1
Bulgaria 1
China 1
Colombia 1 (**)
Cyprus 1
Egypt 1
Georgia 1
Haiti 1
Israel 1
Laos 1 (*)
Norway 1
Palestinian Territories 1
Paraguay 1 (**)
Peru 1
Portugal 1
Qatar 1
Saudi Arabia 1 (*)
Slovenia 1
South Korea 1
St. Kitts and Nevis 1 (*)
Trinidad and Tobago 1

Laos, Saudi Arabia, and St-Kitts-and-Nevis have been single-reader countries two months in a row now. Colombia and Paraguay have been for two months in a row. And Cambodia snapped a five-month streak as a single-reader country by sending me two page views. That’s something!

November starts with a total of 65,163 page views, from 35,411 unique visitors. Are you one of them? Maybe. If you use the ‘Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile’ button on the upper right corner of this page you can have it appear in your Reader page, if you’re on WordPress, and then I’m not sure if it ever counts your reading my posts here. If you use the ‘Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile Via E-Mail’ button underneath you can get these e-mailed to you, and then I’m almost sure I won’t know anything about it except that my father tells me sometimes I wrote something hilarious two months ago.

WordPress figures I’m starting November with 782 followers on the site. It figured I started October with 780 so, hm. This is savings-account levels of growth rate. I guess that’s better than when I put my readership in a CD for six months. (It was a Jelly Roll Morton album, so it’s not like anyone was unhappy with it, but six months is a long time to spend in just seventy minutes of music.) And there’s 252 people following me on Twitter, many of them not search engine optimization bots, so please join me over at @Nebusj if you’d be so kind.