Who reads this blog? Analysis of the first hundred posts

February 16, 2009

     By Duncan Green     

Google Analytics is a wonderful thing – it means I can see how many people read this blog, and which country and even city they come from (don’t worry, I can’t get your emails). So what does a trawl of the results for the first hundred posts reveal?

Overall the site received over 25,000 visits from about 16,000 people (i.e. a mix of one off and regular visitors), with the average visitor reading two posts, and spending about two minutes on the site (such frenetic lives we lead). 

Top five countries: US just ahead of UK, followed at some distance by Canada, Australia and India. Visitors came from 163 countries in all (at the last count, the world total was 192, I believe, so that’s pretty good)

Five most popular posts:

1. How Much is $700bn? (first by miles – it got picked up by the Huffington Post and various referral sites, testament to the lure of the killer fact)

2. Two great new books on Africa (probably a halo affect – went up just after the $700bn post)

3. Agonizing over Aid (aid optimists v sceptics – an endless fascination for development wonks)

4. How can NGOs influence states? (nice to see a specific success story from Viet Nam getting traffic)

5. What’s Kerala’s Secret? (see? success stories are popular)

A lot of the readers and commenters were Oxfam staff, which is great – we’re a sprawling organization of 14 affiliates spread across a hundred countries, and the chances for intelligent conversation (as opposed to strategic planning) are scarce. But I wish Oxfamistas, and everyone else, would send more comments – I’ve made a new year’s resolution to respond quickly when challenged and get into some arguments.  

And among the comments I’d like to read are suggestions for improving this blog – subject, style, frequency, whatever.

As for me, I’ve found blogging can be highly invasive (particularly at weekends), but if you can keep the ‘monkey on your back’ issue under control, it has a number of benefits over and above the conversation itself: It makes me read and think more sharply, and I am now more curious in seeking out new ideas and nailing down half-thoughts.  Sometimes it’s also a therapeutic outlet for those ‘arguments you have in your head’ (which of course, I always win….). The IT types are trying to get me to twitter, but that sounds just too close to having a transmitter implanted in your brain and switched permanently to ‘on’ – blogging will do just fine for now.

And by the way, loyal reader in Ulan Bataar – who are you?

February 16, 2009
Duncan Green