How Did People Reach This Blog in 2009?

Brian Kelly closed his post on “How Did People Find This Blog in 2009?“, a review of traffic drivers to his UK Web Focus blog, with the question: “Are other blog authors spotting similar trends?”

So here’s what I found using the WordPress stats numbers (which I presume is what Brian used?) for this blog.

Summary table – visitor numbers [views] for 2009: 155,627. Content on the site dates back to July 2008 – it’s not easy to see how much of the traffic was to posts published in 2008, though I know some of it was…
[I think this means folk who visited the site. In addition, there are folk who read content via a feed and did not click through to the original post on the blog site. As a Google Reader user, I often open a post in a new tab to save it to read later, or to resolve the URL (many blog post links in Google Reader appear as feedburner proxy URL, rather than original, URLs) for bookmarking to delicious, rather than favourite it. Looking at syndicated views stats, each posts gets me approximately 300 syndicated views (on 1800 subscribers) within a couple of days, then another 100-200 views over the next week to 10 days.]

As far as referrers went, my top 5 were:
– 1,492
– 1,463 [scraping wikipedia post]: 1,047 (as a steady trickle) 891 (I think in a burst of activity?)
– 849 (so I presumably have a fair number of clicks from folk who don’t use a twitter client?)

[I don’t know if these numbers relates to visitors, or views? Eg if someone is referred from Twitter and then views 5 posts on the site, does that count as 1 or 5 referrer points?] (archived posts from prior to it being hosted on WordPress*) brought in 716, then (689), (667), (655) and (584).

*The archived content at attracted about 67,000 page views from 50,000 or so visits on that domain (according to Google Analytics).

The Guardian and Google Maps Mania referrals show how getting a mention to a particular post on a well visited site can work wonders for traffic, as can traffic from your own legacy content.

The top incoming search terms from the search engines were private browsing (2,404; in private browsing also brought in 629), cbbc iplayer (1,334) and google database (693), all of which are phrases or near phrases that appear in the title of particular blog posts.

PS Here, for comparison, is what Brian found for his blog:

There were 90,088 visits to the Web site in 2009 according to the WordPress statistics (up from 75,101 in 2008 and 52,648 in 2007). But how did these visitors arrive at the blog?

The answer is quite simple – via Twitter and Google. The top referrer was (which delivered 1,047 views) with another variant of the Twitter home page ( delivering 540 views and delivering a further 384 views.

The Google Reader Web site ( was in second place with 774 views with two other variants ( and providing 171 and 131 views. Another popular RSS reader ( was in fourth place, delivering 453 views.

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

2 thoughts on “How Did People Reach This Blog in 2009?”

  1. Info FWIW: I first landed on this blog through a link from Paul Kedrosky’s post to your article on scraping content from Wikipedia. Then I subscribed to the RSS feed.

    Thanks for the great content you provide – very useful ! Happy New Year to you, and wish you peace and health in 2010 and beyond.


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