April 04, 2008

Analyzing LouisGray.com's Links, Topics, Timing and Comments

This special feature comes courtesy of Yuvi Panda, a 17-year-old stats whiz, who has made a real name for himself by taking a look at some of the biggest sites around the Web, and seeing their patterns or statistics. He did me a great favor by seeing if I follow my own guidance as to linking externally, helped show what times of day I post, and which days, what are my most common topics, or which ones gain traction with readers of louisgray.com.

You should also check out his previous coverage of Engadget, Digg, and Scoble's Link Blog.

This summary was completed by Yuvi in late-March, and any edits here on my end are only grammatical in nature, or for layout. Enjoy!
-- Louis Gray


LouisGray.com is not exactly small nor new, running for 802 days or approximately 2 years and 2 months (9 Jan 06 to 21 Mar 08), producing a total of 1,256 posts at an average of 1.5 posts a day. The posts too, were not exactly small, averaging 337 words per post (compared to Scoble’s 192 words a post). So Louis Gray is more words and less linkouts (i.e. posting just for the sake of linking).

Looking at the posting rate per day graph:

No post binges, no long breaks: Just consistent posting, with consistent short breaks between posts. The trendline is almost flat.

Now looking at the growth of the length of posts:

The only-slightly-sloping-upwards trend line shows that the average post’s length is slightly increasing, up from 200 words per post when the blog was started to 337 per post now. Also, the increase in the number of skyscrapers from October 2007 suggests increase in “binges”, i.e. Posts which are much longer than average.

Conclusion: Blog is neither growing too fast, nor slowing down: Just as steady as it was in the beginning, and perhaps just a tad longer.

There were a total of 6,629 links in the 1,256 posts, at an average of 5.2 links per post. At face value, that is a lot of linking: Engadget averaged only 4 links per post. But, digging deeper, there is only one link per 63 words, so LouisGray.com is more content and less linkouts (i.e. More like Wikipedia (content) than Digg (links)).

The 6,629 links are distributed among 892 different sites, at an average of 7.4 links per site (note that all of wordpress.com and blogspot.com is included as a single site). Here’s the list of the top ten most linked to domains:

Apple isn’t a surprise, since the Blog’s subtitle mentions that, among others, the Blog is for Mac Freaks :) Links to FeedBurner.com are almost exclusively from the “State of the Blog” type posts that seem to be posted every month(automated, I guess). Athleticsnation.com is natural, since Louis Gray also contributes some stories there. Scoble and TechCrunch seem to feature in almost every blogger’s top 10 list, for obvious reasons (A Listers, Newsmongers, widely popular, etc). Amazon.com’s 98 links contain mostly of book referrals :) Blogspot.com here is the aggregate of all links to all blogger blogs (mainly Google Blogs, and “Change Microsoft” Blogs like minimsft and msftextrememakeover). Louis’s interest in FriendFeed is extremely apparent here, as the comparatively newer service finds it’s way into the Top 10 (while the list of A Listers on FriendFeed might be a cause for this spike, it still does show that he’s extremely interested in FriendFeed). Google.com links are mostly to Google Reader (shared items dominate), along with some to Google Finance and Searches using the Market Symbols (That too, primarily for AAPL)

FriendFeed is a peculiar case. Here’s the chart showing outgoing links to FriendFeed:

That large skyscraper there is the “List of Celebs on FriendFeed post”. Here’s another chart comparing FriendFeed vs Twitter:

You have more posts linking to Twitter, but that single, post skewed it towards FriendFeed.

I started the above list at Rank 1. I lied, because I wanted to point out the Amazon Book referrals :) In reality, the most linked to site is LouisGray.com itself, accounting for 1,053 of the 6,629 links, or 16% of all links!

Here’s a comparative chart:

One site has 16% of the links, 8 sites have 23% of the links, 81 sites have 39% of the links, and 792 sites have 22% of the links. Does this say anything at all? This says that there’s a focus to the blog. Can you think of Scobleizer.com’s focus? I certainly can’t. But, with LouisGray.com, I can say with some amount of confidence that the focus is on Apple, Google and of-late FriendFeed.

Conclusion: Focused Linking. More Content than Links.

Here’s the chart showing the number of links going out from your site per day:

Again, from the trendline, you are linking more now than you were previously.

Blogger calls Tags Labels. Here is a chart showing the top 20 labels used:

So, I’ll call LouisGray a Technology-Sports-Apple-Blogging-Google-ANticsComics-Baseball-Finance-TV freak :)

A total of 262 tags were used, at an average of almost 5 tags a post.

Here’s a chart showing number of Comments to the posts which carried that Tag. Note that this might be a bit skewed since Comments were on only after Feb 2007

You write the most about Technology, and that gets the largest amount of comments. But, Sports is the second most applied Tag, but it doesn’t even feature in the Top 20 here! Also, Apple and Google have kinda switched places between the two stats, with Google getting considerably more comments than Apple. FriendFeed does great here too :)

In short, one thing that you seem to like writing about but people don’t really pay too much attention to is sports.

Posting Habits
I have three graphs, and a conclusion here:

You don’t have any specific posting habits (besides the regularity pointed out earlier): You just post whenever you want to. The third chart has an interesting bit of information: All your posts have a very consistent size, regardless of the day on which they were posted. So, you are pretty consistent in your post size as well, and not just on your posting frequency. And, no out-of-the-ordinary, specific habits (Like Engadget’s less-posts-on-Friday thing).


Posting by the Hour

From the first graph: You post more in the evenings, after 6, and in the morning, at 7. Also, the spikes in the second graph at the “even minutes” (i.e. 00, 15, 30, 45) show that most, if not all of your posts have a preset time at which you tell blogger to publish them. So, your workflow is more like write-save-set-time-for-publish than write-save-publish. Even the smaller spikes come at “even minutes”(i.e. 10, 20, 25, 35, 40, 50, 55).

Comments were on only from Feb 2007, so the usefulness of Comment data is a bit limited.

Here’s the Charts Showing Comments per day from Feb 07:

As you can see from the black trendline, yes, the number of comments is increasing, and you do get some days with way higher than normal comment counts (those few skyscrapers), but overall, you don’t really get a huge amount of comments (a la Scoble or TechCrunch).

Analysis of LouisGray is complete here. It’s not as complete as I would have liked it to be: The absence of comments early on was a major factor, since comments are a good indicator of attention paid to that post.
I appreciate Yuvi's taking the time to go through my blog and teach me a few things about how often I link out, where I'm linking, and what topics are gaining your interest. So... given the above, are we on the right track? What should we be talking more about or less about? Sounds like you don't like sports!
- Louis