UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

How Did People Find This Blog in 2009?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 5 Jan 2010

On 1 January 2010 James Clay published a post on “The Top Ten Blog Posts of 20” which gave the top ten posts from his e-Learning Stuff blog according to the statistics for the number of views. The new year provides a useful opportunity for such reflections and for observing annual trends. So I thought I would summarise the top referrers to this blog: i.e. the Web sites which have delivered most traffic to this blog during 2009.

There were 90,088 visits to the Web site in 2009 according to the WordPress statistics (up from 75,101 in 2008 and 52,648 in 2007). But how did these visitors arrive at the blog?

The answer is quite simple – via Twitter and Google.  The top referrer was (which delivered 1,047 views) with another variant of the Twitter home page ( delivering 540 views and delivering a further 384 views.

The Google Reader Web site ( was in second place with 774 views with two other variants ( and providing 171 and 131 views.

Another popular RSS reader ( was in fourth place, delivering 453 views.

Just outside the top ten were the UKOLN Web site, Stephen Downes’ blog and Chris Sexton’s blog.

Conclusions? Many readers of this blog view the contents via an RSS reader. So perhaps RSS isn’t dead :-) And Twitter is an important mechanism for delivering traffic.

But the figures I’ve provided don’t approach the total of 75,101 for the year.  So were does the additional traffic come from? Perhaps there is a long tail of Web sites which deliver traffic for which details aren’t provided by WordPress.  But perhaps a significant amount of traffic is delivered by services other than Web sites.  Perhaps by users who type in the URL – or by other Web user agents – such as Twitter clients.

Are other blog authors spotting similar trends?

4 Responses to “How Did People Find This Blog in 2009?”

  1. James Clay said

    Twitter was my main source of referrals and similarily to you, Netvibes was number two, Google Reader number three. My next biggest referrer was from Steve Wheeler’s Blog, which was probably a result of all the VLE is Dead blog postings we did this year.


  2. […] 5, 2010 Anything you want Leave a Comment Brian Kelly closed his post on “How Did People Find This Blog in 2009?“, a review of traffic drives to his UK Web Focus blog, with the question: “Are other […]

  3. Do those stats include search engines? Google Analytics splits traffic sources into ‘Referring sites’ and ‘Search engines’. The vast majority of traffic to my blog came via Google as a search engine – far and above any ‘Referring sites’ (by a factor of over 10). However, the top referring site by someway was Twitter.

    • As with your blog the administrator’s interface does not seem to include Google search interface in its list of referrers so although there is a significant amount of traffic provided by search engines – but unfortunately it is not possible to provide meaningful comparisons. However looking at the statistics for search terms it does appear that the largest amount of traffic does come from a search engine – and I would imagine that the vast majoroity with be from Google.

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