chewing ideas down to stubble, then moving on…

“Top Posts” stat inflation?

Posted by Jason on November 25, 2008

I recently saw a blog with the list of recent posts along the side, and then the list of top posts just below it. I restrained from clicking on it. Won’t that make the top posts just way more top-posty? I would assume if you put a list of Top Posts, it would say to a reader, “Look! This is what everyone’s clicking, so I’ll make it easier for you to click on it as well.” 

Now I’m questioning myself… who the hell cares if your top posts get even more traffic? That’s why they’re the top! And why should my blog traffic be egalitarian? My posts don’t have feelings or anything like that, right? They’re not going to revolt if they see that one section’s stats are getting padded from the whole “Top Post” thing, are they? What’s my problem?

I guess I’m thinking that the blog stats are used as tools to figure out what’s bringing in traffic and what’s not. If people read my bonsai posts way more than any other posts, maybe I should write more bonsai posts! If nobody reads stuff that I think is hilarious, then I’ll stop putting up funny things. If I put something on my page that creates an unprecipitated change in those stats, do they cease to be relevant tools for my blogging growth?

That’s why I’m going to do an experiment. I’ll put up a Top Posts section and see what happens. I’m hypothesizing that the top 5 or whatever will have a huge growth whereas the others will not see that same growth pattern. That’s a pretty easy one to figure out, eh? But is it possible to determine if the top 5 are “stealing” views from other posts? Does it matter?


3 Responses to ““Top Posts” stat inflation?”

  1. mrstootie said

    Good point! Didn’t really think of that. Now I may consider removing my “Top Posts.” Will be interesting to see your results.

  2. Jason said

    I didn’t think of the scenario where this post could be one of the Top Posts! Am I totally skewing my experiment by giving my readers’ (all 3 of them) knowledge of it? Such a scientific dilemma I’m in!

  3. Kristen said

    well, these “top posts” widgets DO come in handy to the reader (and isn’t that what it should be about? the reader? no, wait, that’s business-minded. blogs are supposed to be about the writer. nevermind). but they come in handy for me when i am searching recipe blogs and want to know which recipes are stellar. now, that’s not to discredit the others recipes and hurt their feelings–because i’m sure they can be just as good if not better than those listed in the “top posts,” but it doesn’t help to have a “quick link” of sorts to browse through rather than browsing chronologically by date. i want the good stuff and i want it now! speaking of that, maybe it’s just the instant gratification in us that is attracted to the “top posts.” or maybe we’re all just a bunch of sheep.

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