I’ve wished for some time that WordPress’s statistics included (a) the total number of words in a blog, and (b) a ranking of the blog’s all-time most popular posts. It appears that the basic counts are in place; they just need to be compiled.
The total number of words would tell me if I’ve succeeded yet in writing my “Great American Novel” or its equivalent. Or, from another perspective, how much time I’ve wasted prattling on and on to an infinite and mostly uncaring Internet.
Of more interest would be the top ten all-time favorite posts — the ten that have drawn the most visitors ever. As an alternative, just list all the posts in order of popularity, showing the number of hits for each. I’m guessing that my top post might be the one about ramen noodle recipes. Apparently there is a steady flow of people on the Internet looking for ramen noodle recipes. Sad, in a way, that with all the serious, thoughtful (negative, cynical) stuff I’ve written about politics and health care and the economy, ramen noodles still come out on top.
A few months ago someone discovered my very old post containing two little bits of bad verse inspired by my then-5-year-old son. I suspect most visitors come looking for poems for, not about, 5-year-olds and leave here disappointed. I even changed the title in an effort to clarify, but it still keeps getting a lot of interest, relatively speaking.
For a very long time in the months around the election, by far the most popular post was the one including a picture of the famous Barack-Michelle Obama fist bump. Interestingly, most of the searches that brought people to that post were for Michelle, not Barack.
Sometimes an old post finds new life when someone comes along and digs it up. That throws its title into the sidebar as one of the current popular posts and attracts new attention. That’s my theory, anyway.
I had one political post last year that got hundreds of hits, not just a handful. But it wasn’t attributable to my great writing. Some mystical combination of its tags, categories, and head had landed it in that “possibly related posts” listing at the end of some big network story. It was awe-inspiring while it lasted, even if it wasn’t the result of my impressive political analysis. It taught me never to underestimate the value of those “possibly related” listings and whatever it takes to get your post into them (the proper alignment of Mars and Venus, I suspect).
Turns out there is a listing of all-time most popular posts. You just have to dig really deep on the stats screens to find it.