November 29, 2004

Warwick Blogs statistics

Writing about Some Warwick Blogs statistics from Kieran's blog

This morning I ran my little set of queries which give me an indication of BlogBuilder usage. We are now in week 10 of term, so perhaps now is a good time to publish a bunch of graphs showing how busy Warwick Blogs has been.

This more or less speaks for itself. We have been averaging around 20,000 page views (proper page views, images and robots not included) per day. Clearly traffic went up pretty quickly as term started but has hit a bit of a plateau right now. (Those dips are weekends by the way)

Entries per day is very similar to the page views in that there was a sharp rise around the start of term and then a real leveling off. The average is now sitting at around 150 entries per day, which isn't bad. However, when you think of how many blogs we have right now (almost 2300), then the figure doesn't look quite so good. There are clearly a lot of empty blogs out there.

I quite like this graph. The reason is that on most blogs and blog systems, the number of entries is greater than the number of comments. Unfortunately most people do not get comments, or don't get many comments on their entries. With an average of 350 comments per day, we can hope that everyone is getting a comment occasionally. Of course there is a core of entries out there that get the lion's share, but looking deeper into the stats, it looks like virtually everyone has had a comment or two at some point. I think the inclusion of our built in aggregations and now the "My comments" page will help keep up the commenting levels.

Don't really need to say much about this. However, I will note that I am pleased that the number of people still signing up for blogs is a nice surprise. I didn't think we would still have this constant stream of new people this far into term time. We may well hit 2500 by new year (maybe).

I don't think I published this graph before. It basically just shows the number of images people are uploading. We are constantly getting 200 new images per day. Obviously people are using their galleries, stuffing them with 15000 images taking up 1.5GB (we've got plenty of space for more). Knowing that the usability of image upload and galleries is not what we'd like it to be makes these figures all the more surprising.

So, what do I think overall? Well, I'm pretty pleased. Back in September we really did not know what to expect. Were we going to get 100 blogs or 1000? Were people going to love it or hate it? Was it going to blow up?

As it turns out, it has been quite a mixed reaction. A lot of people have registered blogs and left them empty or with a single entry. We have to work out why. But then there are people out there with a hundred or more entries.

There are clearly some people who get blogging and really enjoy it, not just writing, but also reading. However, for all our hard work advertising blogs and getting the message out, there are still plenty of people (the majority?) out there who don't understand blogs or know why they would want one, or even bother reading blogs. Are we not communicating to people well enough now the initial publicity and excitment is over? I suspect so.

Even in the last 9 weeks since term began we have added new features and improved various parts of the system. We have also learned quite a lot ourselves about what people want out of blogs and what kind of people use blogs, so perhaps we need to learn from this and have a fresh drive in the new year. Bring it on.

- 14 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. I concur.

    29 Nov 2004, 13:37

  2. I'm always interested to see these graphs Kieran. I have got one question though: of those page views, how many come from outside the Warwick domain?

    I think the large number of (near-)empty blogs can be put down to a few things: firstly people just signing up for the free picture hosting, those who sign up "for the sake of it" and either make few or no entries, and those who start but lose interest.

    29 Nov 2004, 14:35

  3. Good point about where the hits come from Luke. In the stats I ran recently 54% came from on campus and the rest from outside. So I guess this is either students/staff off campus at home or just random Joe Public.

    I would be interested to hear from most people who have opinions about why people don't blog. Or perhaps as importantly, why people do blog.

    29 Nov 2004, 14:59

  4. Nice statistics, they fit pretty much with my informal observations of blog usage.

    I blog for a couple of reasons. Firstly its the ease of use of the system. Everything works very well, there have been very few if any interruptions in service and any problems in the service have been quickly responded to and improvements made. Well done BlogBuilder team.

    Secondly, I blog because I'm self obsessed and suffer from the delusion that everyone wants to know about my life. I desire lots of attention on a regular basis and Warwick Blogs soothes my raging egotism.

    Thirdly, I blog to create. I try and make all my entries into something more than just a stream of consciousness and into something thats fun to read and even entertaining. Being creative is to me, the meaning of existence.

    I look forward to seeing how the blog community develops next term (and over christmas of course) and what new and exciting innovations the BlogBuilder team can come up with to intice in more users (away from their regular blogs perhaps as well as people who have never blogged before) and keep the community alive, invigorating and fresh.

    29 Nov 2004, 15:28

  5. 150 entries a day for 2300 blogs doesn't sound that bad. That's 4500 a month, or on average once per 2 weeks for each blogger. Sounds about right from my perspective. Sometimes you just don't have anything to write about… Although taking into account the number of people posting a new entry every day (or every other hour???) this statistic might be a bit disappointing. Still – I think the number of comments is far more interesting. Good job on setting this blog system up and good job on tracking it!

    30 Nov 2004, 00:25

  6. Do the number of entries per day include private blog entries?

    03 Dec 2004, 07:18

  7. I'm logged in at home now, if that helps!

    I think blogging's great fun, and a wonderful outlet, even just to let off steam.


    07 Dec 2004, 01:31

  8. I agree. I did some work for WSP over the summer and got involved into the world of blogging. I am happy to see how quickly the blogging has grown in Warwick. I remember when I got my first blog we had about 50 blogs and less than 1000 entries and now it is swoooshh…

    08 Dec 2004, 21:52

  9. RSS seems to be plaing up again in Firefox, half my Live Bookmarks have stopped working over night
    e.g link

    10 Dec 2004, 12:20

  10. There are XML errors in the feeds now, due to undefined entities. If there isn't a suitable DTD or something to include these entities, then the symbols should probably be converted into their numbers instead (eg & instead of &). Or define the entities at the top of the page..

    That's enough jibber jabber from me.

    10 Dec 2004, 22:25

  11. Hmm it converted the codes I typed into the actual symbol. It should have been a & and & .

    10 Dec 2004, 22:28

  12. Images and overlong words in comments also need sorting so they don't break the blogs(URLs in sidebars being very noticable for blog breaking fun). Also Blogs occasionally seem to drop down below the sidebar in IE for no particularly obvious reason(this is currently happening on my blog) which is quite annoying.

    12 Dec 2004, 02:12

  13. Emma D-W

    Well I'm an external person – from POrtsmouth University, as we are looking at blogs in education – and would like to have a similar system here, as you have – so are trying to find examples of other Universities that have done it.
    At the moment, we have students using Blogger, with the associated problems of having study related material residing on someone else's system.

    16 Dec 2004, 13:58

  14. I don't know of any other University that has built their own tool, but there are a fair few (probably more than I realise) who are using external tools in small experiments.

    The various downloadable free software are pretty good and give you more control but obviously end up costing more in hosting and maintenance.

    16 Dec 2004, 14:19

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