I was planning to take a more or less complete online break until tomorrow, but you know, life. We are running a dismal marathon known as the Gastro 500 around here and Twitter has been my sanity as I've comforted children and bathed them repeatedly and washed sheets and made up endless glasses of Gastrolyte. The 8 year old, first down with it (Vomit the First occurred at 11pm last night) is now pale, wan and tragic on the couch, occasionally raising a weak voice to request water or a cuddle. The 6 year old is still caught in the throes, although her dose seems a lot less severe than the 8 year old's - a half-dozen chucks, yes, but she's drinking heaps, even eating icypoles and crackers, and is still fairly perky. The toddler, the victim of a horrific gastric bug just three weeks ago, this time has miraculously escaped (THUS FAR), making me wonder if that awful week maybe gave her some useful immunity.
Today I really should have started work on the small contract job I've got in - it's due on 16 January and work opportunities will be even more constrained than usual in the coming fortnight with all three kids at home. But, as I'm on vomit patrol, clean-up crew, toddler-amusing detail, and laundry duties, plus the fact that I logged a whopping 2.5 hrs sleep (in two blocks) last night, that's just not been realistic.
Instead, in the slips and gaps of time between doing all the necessary stuff, I've been moaning on Twitter (how unusual for me!) and reading people's end-of-year blog posts. I've been particularly enjoying the list posts, where people are indicating their most-popular posts of the year (Miscellaneous Mum and Louisa Claire, I'm looking at you in particular). I've never done this before, partly because I am not very interested in or competent with stats, but I thought I'd check out Blogger's page to see what my 5 most read posts of the year turned out to be.
The results surprised me a little bit, but here they are - the top 5 read posts of 2011 on Play, Eat, Learn, Live.
1. An era is ending
This post that I wrote in July about my mixed feelings at what appeared to be the coming end of my breastfeeding of C was the most read post of the year - due, I'm sure, to being mentioned by the ever-popular Nicole in one of her round-up posts.
2. The Australian Eastern Seaboard Floods
I was a little surprised to note the ongoing reading numbers of this heartfelt but general post about the floods last January. I guess common tragedies do draw people's thoughts together.
3. We Play: Coloured Icypole Sticks
One of the last posts I did in Christie's now discontinued We Play meme, this post has had continuous trickling traffic all through the year from when it first appeared in April.
4. Cars 2: Review and Giveaway
This was probably the only one that didn't surprise me - it was a very cool prize pack :-)
5. For and against: Online grocery shopping
This one got a rush of pageviews when it first appeared in April, and again, a small but unceasing trickle ever since. (It is also, unfortunately, a comment spam-magnet; I've deleted more SPECIAL OFFER url nonsense comments on this post than any other, ever).
None of my posts this year eclipsed the two most read posts on this blog of all time: a post from September 2010 on childrens' detective series Trixie Belden and Emily Eyefinger, which is, to my bewilderment, still a total Energizer bunny in terms of pageviews; and my August 2010 post on the science-themed party that my eldest had for her 7th birthday, complete with a birthday cake composed of the periodic table of the elements in cupcakes. (Yes, all 118 of them). That post caught a lot of traffic after my cake-decorating friend K listed it on a couple of baking sites she frequents.
I guess what this tells me is something I already knew - that posts that get linked or mentioned elsewhere attract more readers (duh, you might well say, but I'm not a quick study with these things). I can also see, from the stats on the posts trailing not far behind the Big 5 (or at least what passes for "big" in terms of my very teeny weeny blog), that my wrap-up / options type posts (such as Presents for Teachers) have a steady, predictable and respectable readership; my Reading Notes posts are much more read than commented upon (7 of the 10 posts ranked 6-15 this year were Reading Notes posts); and that cooking / gluten free themed posts also have a steady readership.
(My least read category of posts? Poetry. I'm OK with that, and it won't stop me writing it, when I feel moved to do so).
I found this a really interesting exercise to do. I'm not a stats follower generally, as I don't directly monetise (although I do reviews), and I am not especially interested in writing in a way that attracts the most eyeballs per se. That said, if I didn't want to be read, I'd be scribbling away in a paper notebook rather than posting on the Internet. I blog to practice writing, to form connections, to share, to hopefully contribute in some small way to the zeitgeist of the blogosphere. For all reasons but the first, I do like to know what themes and topics are of most interest to those who read here.
(In closing, one post that I personally enjoyed creating that didn't catch many views was this one.)
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