Tag Archives: statistics

Annual report? Really? Apparently . . .

According to WordPress’s automatically generated text, “The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.” I think it was more likely done automatically and digitally. Also that if it has to be done by hypothetical sentient beings I prefer helper monkeys to Tumblr’s conceit of tumblrbeasts. Or is it tumblbeasts? I’ve forgotten.

They additionally provided a button for me to push to post the report to my blog. I pushed it. This post is the result. But now I’m going through and changing most of the text to make it bearable. 😉 I’ll leave the picture. It took me a while to realise that the upward-pointing arrows are meant to be firework rockets:

Along with the animated fireworks the report contains such information as

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,900 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

I’m sure that’s helpful if you make a habit of travelling on tube trains in New York. If not . . . well apparently their trains hold quite a lot of people.

To be honest, there isn’t a a lot for the report to report, since for various reasons I only wrote a handful of posts in 2011. It’s still quite interesting though, and doesn’t take long to read. You get to find out what the most common search terms were that brought people here and suchlike. Some are surprising.

You can see the full report here.

A search Wordle

WordPress provides a wealth of statistics about who clicked what to get to a blog, what they clicked when they were there, and so on (all unidentifiable; don’t worry!). You can get paranoid in them for hours.

A particularly interesting one is the list of search terms which people used to find the page, but it’s also quite hard to digest. You just get a list of the terms and how many times they were used.

I was pondering my list of searches, trying to make sense of it, and then I remembered Wordle, the addictive website where you feed some text in and out comes a “word cloud” in which the size of each word is determined by how many times it occurs.

Ideal! I copied my list of search terms, put them in and played around with the settings for a while, and out came:

Word cloud of search engine terms


Image created at http://wordle.net/
Click to see full size

which is much easier to visualise. Because it’s, er, visual. And, I might add, the brain has a lot of processing power devoted to visual information. (I wonder what an audio equivalent would be? Now that might be fun!)

Actually that particular wordle isn’t 100% accurate, because in my eagerness I forgot that some of the terms (e.g. the impressive pluto planet dwarf plutoid plutino) had been used twice and should have been pasted in twice. Or maybe it is accurate, if it was the same person returning? Who knows? (Answer: the person who used it. OK, point taken.)

Now I’m wondering: does Wordle translate the number of times a word is used into the total size of the word, taking into account how many letters it has, or does it merely translate it into the font size? Hmmm . . . OK, OK, in theory I could work that out by counting the words myself and looking at the result, but that seems like a lot of work at 12:50 am, so I’ll be content not to know for now.