If you’re visiting on a desktop or laptop computer or a tablet, then over in the right-hand sidebar you’ll see a list of my most popular posts. (If you’re viewing this on a phone you’ll have to scroll down to find them, but there they are.) Since January, there have been two lists: the five most popular posts from among those published in 2020 and the five most popular from all the other posts on the site. When I made the two lists, I only had 7 full months of statistics to go by. For various reasons I only started collecting viewing statistics in mid April 2020 and when I totted up my totals, I didn’t have a full set of stats from December.
I always intended to revise the list when I had a full year of statistics, but rather than update at the end of May, I thought I’d leave things till the middle of the summer. Which is where we are now.
My previous post on the subject, Top of the Pops in 2020, has an explanation of how I collect my statistics. (Briefly: Google Analytics.) How I analyse them is less easily explained, though I had a shot in that earlier post. Spreadsheets are involved, and colour coding, but a lot of it is about weighing different factors.
A post that has been visited more than 170 times in a year seems to be more popular than one that’s only been visited, say, 30 times in the same time frame. Then you sum up the number of seconds that visitors actually spent looking at the posts and discover that, on average, the 170 visitors spent 0.2 seconds each on the page and your excitement tends to evaporate. Meanwhile, it turns out the 30 visitors spent an average of 25 seconds each on the other post. It’s not great, but 25 seconds is a good deal better than 0.2. So maybe the 30 visitor post is in fact more popular.
You also have to think about how long a post has been up on-line. A new post may have a glut of visitors the first week it’s up, but then be completely ignored forever after. Or, it may be a slow burner, with visitors dropping in week on week over a longer time. Most of the most popular posts from before 2020 fit this pattern. It’s the reason I’ve chosen to separate out posts published in the last 18 months. I’ve given them their own top ten.
As before the top five posts are in the sidebar, but the top ten are all in the columns below.
TheSupercargo’s Top of the Pops
July 2020 to June 2021
Posts published 2020-2021
Deborah Warwick, my Grandmother – a Memoir
Published 30 July 2020. This has been viewed 20 times in the last 12 months. Visitors spent an average of 1 min 45 secs on the page.
Let’s Taxi with the Flow in Accra
Published 19 August 2020. This episode of my ongoing report of a visit to Ghana 2018-2019 has been viewed 23 times. Visitors spent an average of 1 min 45 secs on the page
Enjoy Heritage Rail in these Delightful Pictures
Published 26 Aug 2020. I admit the title is a bit click-baity. This photo essay has been viewed 22 times and, as with the above posts, visitors spent an average of 1 min 45 secs on the page.
Bringing up the Bodies from Wolf Hall
Published 12 August 2020. This has been viewed 19 times. Visitors spent an average of 1 min 30 secs each, reading this book review.
The Ballet of Absurdist Nonsense
Published 18 November 2020. This piece of flash fiction is a visit to the mind of former President Trump. It’s been viewed 11 times for an average of 1 min per visitor.
The second five
Even a Godawful Year may have a Silver Lining
Published 30 December 2020. This retrospective of 2020 has been viewed 11 times for an average of 1 min 40 secs.
Debbie Jimack, my Grandmother: Some More History
Published 9 December 2020. New stories about Debbie’s youth that came to light because I published the post at the top of this column. Viewed only 7 times so far, but for an avg of 4 mins 15 secs.
Far Flung Writing: Telling Stories from a Distance
Published 1 October 2020. This plug for an anthology of writing including three of my pieces has been viewed 37 times, though only for an average 45 secs each time.
Princess Uncumber – a Retold Tale
The top of the top ten in 2020, it’s slipping down the charts now. I published this story 22 April 2020. It’s been viewed a whopping 76 times over the last 12 months, but only for an average of 15 secs per visitor.
Flying to Accra – in 1964 and 2018
And finally, another in my Ghana series. I published this 8 July 2020 and it’s been viewed 41 times, but only for an average of 15 secs per visitor.
Posts published before 2020
Burning Angels by Bear Grylls – a Review
Published 13 June 2018, this has risen to the top of my most popular posts lists. Viewed 60 times over the last 12 months. Visitors spent an average of 1 min 5 secs reading my critique. I’m sorry Bear, this book really irritated me.
Book Boxes of Brussels – Les boites à livres
I published this 31 August 2016 and it has remained among my most popular posts ever since. Viewed 113 times over the last 12 months for an average of 45 secs.
When did they begin, the Beguine?
Another recent perennial, published 8 March 2016. (International Women’s Day – not a coincidence.) Viewed 61 times in the last 12 months for an average of 1 minute each visit.
Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands – a review
Published 9 Dec 2015. Viewed 64 times over the last 12 months, again for an average of of 1 minute each visit.
A Beginner’s Guide to the Bruegel Fountains of Brussels
Published 1 August 2018 and viewed 51 times over the last 12 months. Visitors spent an average of 50 seconds each on this photo essay.
The second five
The Gothenburg Disco Fire – 20 Years on
Published 7 November 2018, this is one of my most visited posts. It was viewed 150 times in the last 12 months, but it doesn’t hold people’s attention quite as much as some of the higher placed posts. Visitors spend an average of 40 seconds on the page.
Time travel at the Brussels Atomium
Published 18 May 2016, this one has been viewed 34 times in the last the last 12 months, on average for 30 seconds.
In the Dieweg Cemetery
Published 24 May 2017 and viewed 108 times over the last 12. And there hasn’t been a month when some visitors have not opened this photo essay. Visitors stay, on average, for about 20 seconds.
The famous Brussels pissing contest
Published 25 May 2016, this post is another constant favourite. It was viewed 71 times in the last 12 months, on average for about 30 seconds.
Cook and Book – books and breakfast in Brussels
A favourite café/bookshop, this post has crept up the charts. I published it 31 October 2018. In the last 12 months 41 people have viewed, each it staying for an average of 15 seconds.