Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and blog statistics

When I was setting up the new site, I though about how to have a list of other things people might want to look at if they’d stumbled on the site and found the first thing they read interesting.

What I came up with was to list the most read posts, using the Most read in XX days plugin.

For a while, this worked well. There were a couple of old posts that were being read pretty often, most notably the Bread machine brioche recipe. But in general, the things that were popping up on the list were the better posts I’d made in the last couple of months, so I got feedback on what people were reading, and they got to look at the other interesting things on the site.

Unfortunately, now the “most read posts” sidebar is pretty fixed, and it isn’t clear what I can do to get a new post onto that list, because although people read the new posts, they then go and look at the old posts that are on the “most read” list, so those get more readers than the new ones do.

One thing I can see I should do is put things that are of only temporary interest up as pages, and when they stop being interesting, take the pages out of the navigation menus via the exclude pages from navigation plugin.

For instance, the post that would be on the sidebar list if I allowed one more post is the flyer for a workshop that happened last August. I’m glad 200 people read that post last August, and 40 people came to the workshop, but I’m not sure it matters if nobody ever reads it again.

I’ve thought about having a “most read in the last 6 months” sidebar as well as the “most read ever” sidebar. But that starts cluttering things up.

So I guess I’ll just keep thinking about the problem. Let me know if you have any good ideas.

Note: this post was originally titled “Schroedinger’s Law and Blog Statistics”.

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