Posts Tagged ‘blog statistics’

Once each year I like to go over the statistics for this blog in detail to see what posts have been the most popular, which search terms are finding this blog, which videos are most watched, etc. I’m not doing this just for an ego trip, but to be able to report the impact this site is having. I have had some very generous sponsors over the three years this blog has been running, especially the American Section of the Société de Chimie Industrielle (which paid for my fellowship in 2009) and the Chemical Heritage Foundation, which provided such a wealth of resources in its collections on the history of chemistry. It was during the time of my fellowship that this blog really began to find an audience, and it has been growing ever since.

Stats for the Elements Unearthed

Monthly Stats for the Elements Unearthed Blog

So here is where this blog stands: As of today, there have been a total of 67,620 visits to this site. As seen by the histogram, the number of visits has shown a definite annual pattern consistent with the school year – visits are lower in the summer when school is not in session, rise in August and September, stay high in October and November, dip a bit in December due to Winter Vacation, then rise again in January and February and peak in March, then gradually decrease as the school year winds down in April and May. This same pattern has repeated for the last three school years, but has grown each year. Last year, in the 2010-2011 school year, my best months were slightly above 3000 visits. Now they are topping out above 4000 and I hope they will hit 5000 by March.

Granted, compared to some popular blogs with thousands of hits per day, 5000 per month doesn’t sound like much. However, I am pleased – this is a rather esoteric blog dedicated to the history of chemistry and chemistry education. The yearly pattern shows that I am reaching my intended audience of high school students and teachers. This is also shown by the types of searches that reach my blog.

Although there are always some unrelated search terms that somehow reach my blog (the biggest ones are “Ocean City, New Jersey” and “Punxsatawney Phil” because I visited both places in 2009 and showed some pictures), by far the majority of search terms are related to chemistry and its history or to science education in general. I’ve gone through the search terms and compiled them into categories, mostly so that I can make plans for the future. Here are the top searches that reach this blog: (1) Greek Matter Theories (3473 searches) with Aristotle, Democritus, and Thales being the biggest ones; (2) the Periodic Table of elements (2288); (3) beryllium (1600); (4) Alexandre Beguyer de Chancourtois (1397) – this is a bit surprising, but apparently my animation of his telluric screw periodic system and description of his work is one of the few sites out there about him; (5) the Tintic Mining District (1041); (6) the history of the periodic table (868); (7) science education (862), especially using iPads in science classes; (8) early modern chemistry (822), including Lavoisier, Boyle, Priestley, Dalton, and Newton; (9) alchemy (732), with love potions, Khunrath, Basil Valentine, Zosimos, and Maier the highest; (10) water and wind turbines (618); (11) strange attractors (586) – this is another odd one, since I only mentioned it once, but it was in my most popular post; (12) mercury (554); (13) early technology (514), such as Roman glass, Pliny the Elder, Agricola, Neri, and others; (14) mining in general (455) – such terms as overburden, open pit mine, ball mill, and headframe; and (15) Cripple Creek, Colorado (315).

Top Posts for this blog

Top Posts for the Elements Unearthed Blog

The videos that I have created for this project are posted on this blog (under the video tab) and on YouTube. The History of the Periodic Table, featuring Dr. Eric Scerri of UCLA, is my biggest hit so far. All parts of this video have been watched a total of 11,474 times as of 1/7/2012. There are even a few derivative works on YouTube that take parts of my video – a section on Henry Moseley, for example – and combine it with parts of other videos with Bill Nye, etc. I’ve had quite a few comments on how useful this video has been for chemistry teachers out there, and I am very pleased with the results so far. There is also a version with Portuguese subtitles done by a professor in Brazil; I’m not sure how many times that has been seen. My separate video that showed only some animations of the periodic table has been watched 416 times.

The second most popular videos have been the two parts on beryllium – its properties and uses, and how it is mined and refined. It has been watched a total of 3219 times, with the separate video on the geology of beryllium watched itself an additional 153 times. The Discovery of Synthetic Diamonds has been watched 745 times and the demonstration of Glass Blowing 754 times. These have been the most popular videos related to this project.

In conclusion, the most important question is: Have I succeeded in my attempt to bring the history of chemistry and chemistry education to the general public, and specifically to teachers and students? All indications, based on these statistics, are that I am succeeding and that that success is continuing to grow.

The last several posts have been about astronomy and space science education, and although some search terms have reached these posts, not many have. For various reasons, not the least of which is that I want to keep this blog focused on my original intent, I am starting a new blog which should be up and running by Wednesday night on space science education and resources for teachers to use now that we are in the golden age of astronomy. I will be doing quite a bit of education outreach on these topics over the next few years, if all goes well, and they deserve to have their own blog. I will include links here once that is ready to visit. I will post to this new blog once per week on Wednesdays.

The statistics also point out which topics have been most popular, and give me direction on what to post about in the future. In my next post, I will give you a schedule of what I intend to discuss over the next year and a half and when I will have the related videos completed. I will try to post once per week, probably on weekends. I have much more material from my fellowship at the Chemical Heritage Foundation that I haven’t shown or discussed here yet, and I look forward to digging into it all. I have also visited many sites related to mining and refining of the elements which I have only mentioned in passing. It’s time to edit all that footage and photos into videos for this site and YouTube. I expect the next few years to be busy, productive, and rewarding and to reach even more people than I already have.

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This blog has reached a milestone over the last week. Over 15,000 people have visited this blog since it was begun in Oct., 2008. Since my fellowship in Philadelphia last summer, the viewership has risen greatly, and I’ve been averaging over 1500 visitors per month with 2600 in March as my top month. I don’t know how that compares to other blogs out there, especially on such an esoteric topic as the origins and uses of the chemical elements, but it represents to me that my purposes in creating this blog are being fulfilled – people are finding out about the Elements Unearthed project and are hopefully learning about the elements (although this is impossible to assess using just the WordPress stats).

Monthly Blog Stats

Stats for The Elements Unearthed blog

I can’t track demographics about the age or interests of the visitors except by looking at the most common search terms they’re using. Some of the time the searches bring people here accidentally – for example, they might be looking up how to build a water turbine and find my post on the water turbines used at the Du Pont Gunpowder Factory in Delaware. I don’t have any instructions that would be useful for them, and their purpose wasn’t to find out about how gunpowder was made, but here they are. A rough estimate is that about two-thirds to three-fourths of the people coming to this blog are doing so because of legitimate searches involving chemistry, the elements, or the history of science or mining. I hope that I have provided the information they need.

I get a few searches every day about the Tintic Mining District around Eureka, Utah. This is probably because not many other sources exist. Some of the comments written show that some of these visitors had relatives that worked there (so do I – one of my great grandfathers died as a result of injuries received as a miner in the town of Diamond, part of the Tintic District). This lets me know that I need to soon do the episodes on the Tintic District. Now that the weather is (mostly) getting better, I hope to take one final trip to the area around Mammoth, Diamond, and Silver City to complete the photos and video I’ll need. My plan this summer is to visit a mining area at least twice per month. Then, if I have a school team that wants to do that area, we’ll have much of what we need all ready to go for the 2010-2011 school year.

Search engine terms

Recent search engine terms which brought visitors here

Ultimately, it’s the videos that this site is about. If you want to play them on YouTube, you can simply look up “davidvblack channel” in the YouTube search engine and all 23 of my videos (including the Business Profile Videos and my animation demo reel) are there. This blog’s purpose is to promote the videos and talk them up, giving some background into their creation. Once I have three topics done (the next topic after beryllium will be glass blowing), I will set up a dedicated website and upload the videos to iTunes, which will provide another location in addition to their existence here on this blog and on YouTube. There are some drawbacks to this blog as the primary source of the videos: since WordPress converts the video to FLV format, these videos won’t work on an iPod, iPhone, or iPad (I went to the local Mac store recently and tried out an iPad. The videos, being Flash based, won’t play). So I need a site like iTunes that can work for the Apple crowd as well (my kind of people).

Here are some stats on how the videos are doing: The episodes that have been finished so far have been the two parts of the Periodic Table featuring my interview with Dr. Eric Scerri of UCLA and the first half of the episode on beryllium.  On this blog site, the periodic table videos have been played over 370 times, and on YouTube they have been played over 1100 times. This isn’t to say that they have been played all the way through; the average play is about three minutes (which is why I try to keep my Business Profile Videos to three minutes or less).  They were uploaded about two months ago, so they’ve seen about 1500 plays or about 4500 minutes of viewing so far. I’m pleased with that. The beryllium video (which covers the uses, sources, and geology) has been viewed 82 times here and 27 times on YouTube since it was posted about two weeks ago. Considering it is a more limited topic, I feel that is a good start as well.

Even more surprising, to me, is that the Periodic Table videos have been close-captioned into Portuguese by Luis Brudna and have been viewed over 2200 times – twice as much as they have been viewed in English. Here is the link to the Portuguese versions: http://www.youtube.com/tabelaperiodicaorg#p/u/3/5lV6BIkAhvQ for the first of the four parts or http://www.youtube.com/tabelaperiodicaorg#g/u for the YouTube channel. The Beryllium Part 1 video has been translated on Vimeo at: http://vimeo.com/11555398. You can visit Dr. Brudna’s website at: http://www.tabelaperiodica.org.

YouTube Periodic Table videos

Periodic Table Videos on my YouTube channel

Now it might seem that I’m just into an ego trip, obsessing over these stats, seeing who is referring to this blog from their site, who is putting links to these videos on their sites, etc. It’s like typing your name into a Google search to see if you really exist (I don’t show up until something like Page 19 of the search results . . . there are a lot of other David Blacks out there). But I do have a reason for tracking how this blog and the videos are doing: I hope to be able to show the reach of this project to potential funding sources. Since NSF turned me down this year, I’ll have to go begging hat in hand from other sources, and being able to show how many people are finding and using this blog and viewing the videos will be essential for a successful pitch.

If any of you out there read this, I would appreciate your writing a comment on how you’ve found this blog, what needs (if any) it has met for you, how you’re using it, etc. Any information I can get on how effective this blog is which goes beyond the bare numbers will be very useful for me. Meanwhile, I’ve been very busy with some client videos that were on a tight deadline, but I have a lull now for a few days and I’m getting back to Part 2 of the beryllium episode (this section on the history of mining, refining, and hazards). I’ll get it posted within the next week or two, give or take the weather (I’m also trying to plant a vegetable garden, if the ground will ever dry out enough). Then I’ll start on the blown glass video, which already has the narration and much of the video editing complete from my students last year. I’ve gathered more photos and need to add them. It will be done in two parts as well: one on the history and process of blowing glass, the other on the science and hazards of glass blowing. I’m shooting for mid-June to have those done, and will set up the iTunes site then. That should be enough episodes complete to start pounding the pavement looking for funding.

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