2011, the annual report

This is year five of the blog, and the second “annual report”, my yearly exercise in self-indulgence transparency and reflection.

Last year’s report of blog statistics and popular posts had the unexpected consequence of landing me in a paper on The Impact of Economics Blogs, as my stats were available while others’ were not. For the first and probably last time in my life, I became an independent variable in a regression (a privilege which strangely delights me). So the annual report tradition seems like a good one to keep up.

In 2011 there were 857,833 pageviews (up 7% from 2010) from 573,227 visits to the site (up 8%). It’s fair to say I have no idea how many repeat and regular readers there are. Google Analytics says that nearly 200,000 visited at least once a month and 120,000 at least once a week, but I think these numbers are dodgy and probably too high. I guess about 50k to 60k people who read at least every couple of weeks or so, but don’t ask me to explain why.

Assuming the relative proportions are about right, however, there wasn’t as much growth. Regular reading in 2011 is only about 1% higher than 2010.

Thank you, in any case, to the indeterminate number of loyal readers out there.

What are the most viewed pages and posts? Ignoring the home page (380,144 views) and my About page (18,500!), here’s the Top 10 list:

  1. Tina Fey: “A Prayer for My Daughter” (16,237)
  2. George Orwell on the “like” button (13,086)
  3. Does it matter if you’re black on the Internet? (11,043)
  4. Graph of the day: Belief in evolution and income per capita (9,002)
  5. Books development economists and aid workers seldom read but should? (8,237)
  6. Students: How to email to your Professor, employer, and professional peers (7,770)
  7. Miscellaneous reflections after an entire week of parenting (7,017)
  8. Undergraduate advice (5,929)
  9. How to get a PhD *and* save the world (5,886)
  10. Which is for you: MPA, MPA/ID, or PhD? (5,798)

I am happy to see #5 make the list, as well as the return of #6 and #9.

About a quarter of all traffic comes from google searches, mostly of the blog name, presumably for those people who don’t like bookmark buttons. Some of the amusing or weirder search terms that brought you here:

  • “how to email a professor?” or some variant (about 2000+ times). My greatest public service to academia ever? I think so. See here.
  • “blattman engagement photos” (790) surprised me until I remembered this post. I hope that is the explanation.
  • “should I be an accountant?” (758). In a word, no.
  • “jpal good for phd?” (506)
  • “do researchers get to travel” (71)
  • “how to get a job with the un” (42). I can only say, thank goodness that was just 42. (Short answer, it’s worse than accounting)
  • “lenin corpse” (31)
  • “christ blattman” or some variation (50). Ah the irony.
  • “don’t give money to japan” (25). Sorry Japan.
  • “bad research” (20). Yes, that would be me. (My colleagues are thinking to themselves, “only 20 searches?”)
  • “how to talk african” (16). Egad.
  • “chinese vs jews” (17). Why would you even search that?

Where were you from? 63% of visitors came from North America, 19% from Europe, 8% from Asia, 5% from Africa, 3% from Oceania and also from Central/South America. (Hey Latin America: you are getting beaten by Oceania. Jump to it.)

Finally, in the interests of full disclosure, the only way I make money off this site is when people click through to Amazon and buy stuff. I get a couple percent, and made $1,892 this way in 2011, which is roughly what it cost me to redesign and host the website this year. This is more or less my goal. If anyone, however, wants to go and buy the most expensive thing I could find on Amazon (a land cruiser/tank, yours for just $666,000!), I will not object.

Have a happy 2012, and please keep reading and commenting!