Every so often I check my blog stats to see what you, the reader, find most interesting – my goal is to continue to bring you great content in both my blog and my research. While I was looking back over my blog stats I thought you might like to see the top ten blog posts in case you missed any of them. But just how should I assess the top ten? Like all outcome metrics, this one is open to interpretation.
I could take the simple route and just count which posts have the most reads (Table 1a). But that would fail to take into account how many days it has been since the blog was published – it stands to reason that older blog posts might garner more reads. So a ranking based on the number of reads divided by the number of days the post has been online would yield a more accurate result in terms of most read post (See Table 1b – Top ten most read posts)*.
Table 1a – Top Ten Most read Posts
Table 1b – Top Ten Most Read Posts By Views / Days
But the number of reads doesn't tell the whole story. Each blog receives reader recommendations – perhaps the total number of recommendations a post receives would be a better metric. Of course, the time since the post was published would have to be factored in. So the number of times a post has been recommended divided by the number of days since it was published would seem to be a better indicator of how popular a post has been with readers. And as you can see from table 2, with this new metric only one report remains in the top ten (Bold).
Table 2 – Top Ten Most Recommended Posts
Now there is one other stat worthy of consideration: the number of times a post has been recommended as a function of how many times the post has been read. This should give a much better indicator of relevance since the number of recommendations a post can receive is a function of how many times it has been read. This top ten reveals a different mix of posts, but the #1 post remains the same. (See table 3 – Top ten most recommended posts as ratio of reads).
Table 3 – Top Ten Most Recommended Posts / Read
What I hope this highlights is just how important it is to chose the right metrics for your desired outcomes. Often the easiest metric to measure is not the one that gives the best indicator of your performance. So take care when picking your outcome metrics to select the one that best fits your purpose.
By the way, was your favorite post in any of these top tens?
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* To avoid distorting the numbers, posts from 2015 were excluded as they have high numbers in very few days (most posts receive the greatest views/day within a week of publishing).