The top posts of 2019 are listed, here. This is an exercise in curiosity and also a small lesson in the power of numbers and how they can mislead us.
As long-time readers of this blog know, I occasionally like to call-out the numbers that mislead us. While I do pay attention to my own analytics, I do also take them with a grain of salt.
As an example, I do read various guidelines that say that certain days and times of day are best for making posts. This depends on the type of post, by the way. However, I did notice that there are truly days and times where I get the most readers, by far.
Would you all like to know what day and time that is? Well, it’s the day and time that I normally post. Think about it – if you’re posting when a lot of people are reading, many people tend to read the post when it comes to their in-box. If you tend to keep posting around the same day and time, that day and time will top your statistics as being the best-read day and time. That doesn’t mean it’s the best actual day and time for you to post. The most people are reading it, then, because that’s when they’re getting it.
So, when people write to us to tell us various statistics that prove they’re “number 1” or whatever it is, just keep in-mind that the measurements tend to be faulty on a lot of these claims.
The Top Read Posts of the 2019
These two posts are the most read posts of 2019, in this order:
These posts are quite old – they’re classics. There’s nothing wrong with the fact that they continue to be popular subjects. However, the fact that they keep popping-up at the top of the “popular posts” lists makes it easy to click on them and read them. If it weren’t for that, it’s possible they wouldn’t necessarily be the most popular topics. I mean to say that,
Takeaway: when I’m reading other industry sites, I’m often surprised to pick some of the most popular topics to find that the posts are quite old. Some of them are relevant, even today, but others are actually quite outdated. Yet they remain popular probably because we all see them as the top post and, out of curiosity, click on them and read them.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t promote new ideas. Also, it doesn’t promote new authors. It’s frustrating to people who are trying to write new information on a topic that the older and outdated information keeps pushing it out.
The Top Post of 2019 Written in 2019
The post written in 2019 with the most views, to-date, is The End of Agile for LIMS? written in September.
Or is This the Top Post of 2019 Written in 2019
Can LIMS Compete With Features? from December shows up in the “top posts” lists despite having fewer views than the “Agile” post. Why is that, you might wonder? It’s likely because the “Agile” post was out longer. It does actually have more views because of that. But the “Features” posts got more of its views more quickly.
Let’s Go Back to The Top Posts of 2019
So, if the analytics do calculate in factors for those posts that get more readers more quickly than others, why is is that the oldest posts still out-pace the newer ones. Once, again, it’s not necessarily because they’re more interesting but, at a certain point, they just have so much numeric “power” that the others can’t compete.
Where This Presents a Problem
In this blog, if I were competing with other authors or selling ads based on certain posts, these statistics might be a real problem. If this were an industry periodical (including blogs), it would be something of a problem.
Since none of those apply, I can merely comment on the issues. This is where deleting old posts can be useful, especially where they compete with new ones. Or, if not deleting them, finding a way to archive them in a way that creates a level of separation between them and the new ones.
Yet Another Problem
Here’s something I hadn’t yet mentioned: these numbers are only those here in WordPress. What about the Google Analytics? What about the LinkedIn numbers? They’re quite different, actually. In fact, according to what I see in LinkedIn, the top posts published in 2019 list would be entirely different than what I just listed.
The reason, of course, is that the audiences are different. However, once, again, if I were promoting specific authors or ideas, or if I were charging for ads based on the performance of specific posts, this is when the numbers become at issue.
As one example, out of curiosity, I had clicked on the “top vendors” list in one periodical’s page. Unfortunately, I found that none of their top 5 were even in business, any longer. That’s how old that list was. Those older listings were pushing-out all the current vendors. That periodical was wondering why they were losing ad support and readership. That would be just one factor.
People who call me to tell me how tippy top they are based on one statistic or another tend to get angry with me when I ask pointed questions about their measurements. After all, no-one likes to have their house of cards knocked over. But, if you don’t understand your numbers, don’t try to impress the rest of us with them.
Meanwhile, many of the people who read this blog do have some understanding of the power of numbers. Most readers can start to recognize how these numbers are posed to us as false gods and can begin to avoid believing them.
It starts with all the claims based on various numbers that every single company is “#1 in LIMS.” Meanwhile, just keep these factiods in mind:
- I’m the absolute, #1 author in this blog. The numbers easily confirm this.
- My company is the best LIMS services vendor in all of the state.
- My blog is the most-read blog of all LIMS services vendors based in this state.
Hah! Take that and have some happy holidays and a great New Year! 😉