How many people? What do they read? 2014’s most popular posts + visitor stats for the year

January 5, 2015

     By Duncan Green     

Had a much less traumatic Christmas than last year (at least until I stepped on the scales) but now it’s back to work, so let’s start with the blog stats and most popular posts of 2014 (I’ll skip the flops). First of all, a huge thanks to all of you who continue to read, comment and link to FP2P (if you stopped coming, Oxfam might force me to do some proper work instead – dreadful thought).

GA stats 3 2014According to the eye of Sauron Google Analytics, there were 297, 857 ‘unique visitors’ in 2014 – defined as ‘Users that have had at least one session within the selected date range’. They read a total of 758,224 pages. That continues a (very) slight upward trend – 282, 408 visitors in 2013, 277,888 in 2012. FP2P began in 2008 and reached this plateau around 2013 (see graph of monthly visitors) – can anyone else confirm that it takes 5 years to establish a blog? Twitter behaves altogether differently, with FP2P followers continuing to grow from 15k to 22k over the year – if you haven’t joined the twitterati yet, you really should, it’s a great source of brain snacks. Twitter now accounts for 40% of referrals to the blog, up from 25% the previous year.

GA stats 2 2014

Readers are cosmopolitan, and predominantly northern, with almost half coming from UK and US, but then a big spread for the remainder, all the way down to the single readers from exotic locations such as the Falkland Islands, Svalbard, the Caribbean Netherlands or St Barthelemy (look it up).

As for the most popular posts, two ‘oldies but goodies’ from 2011 topped the charts again, but swopped places compared to 2013, as

The world’s top 100 economies: 53 countries, 34 cities and 13 corporations took over the number one slot from

What Brits say v what they mean – handy de-coding device

The most read post from this year’s crop was much more unexpected:

Somaliland v Somalia: great new paper on an extraordinary ‘natural experiment’ in aid and governance

Next up comes a review of the report that launched the 85 individuals v 3.5bn poorest people killer fact: ‘Working for the Few’: top new report on the links between politics and inequality

Number 5 is a surprise – a review of Joe Hanlon’s controversial book on Zimbabwe’s land reform, posted in January 2013

A draft guide to writing executive summaries got some really useful comments, and came 6th in the number of hits (but sadly, does not seem to have produced a noticeable improvement in the Exec Sums that we are all churning out)

A 2009 post on how climate change is affecting South Africa suddenly got picked up and came 7th

My rave review of Craig Valters’ paper on how theories of change are actually being used by aid peeps came 8th

SocEnt guru Pamela Hartigam’s piece on the overselling of social enterprise raised some eyebrows and came in 9th

And last (and least, but only of the top ten) came further proof of the wonkiness of blog readers – some heretical musings on the limitations of the human rights approachdog_blog_cartoon in development

The list overturns some of my previous rules of thumb on what works – most blog posts do indeed die after a few days, but some get picked up (presumably on course reading lists etc) and develop a long tail; pieces on particular countries can do well, provided they illustrate wider points. But one thing doesn’t change – FP2P readers are reliably pointy headed and interested in all that conceptual stuff on theories of change, rights etc etc. A relief, since that is likely to be a major focus for 2015.

Normal service resumes tomorrow. If there’s anything you want more/less of, do let me know – got to keep the numbers up, after all.

January 5, 2015
Duncan Green