The ones I liked
I, too, spent some time looking through the blog stats. It was interesting how some posts really took off to the extent they did. One stat I looked at was how many people "clapped" for a piece. There seemed to be a correlation between views and claps (as you might expect), but some numbers told another story: Fewer people clap for the original fiction we publish on the blog, which has been more common as of late - with, of course, some exceptions. I was a little bit surprised about this, to be honest, and I happen to rather enjoy those. I always find them interesting.
Some of the more-clapped-for posts included Jasper's awesome articles about - well, I guess I'd describe them as more hands-on worldbuilding (I'm thinking about Climate Modeling 101, Generating Continents Procedurally with Distortion Fields and How I generated artificial rivers on imaginary continents). I'd guess that some of the popularity stems from the fact that readers who are programmatically inclined can test it out for themselves. It's one reason I liked them, and I'd be interested in seeing more examples of using coding to generate different aspects of worlds.
Google might (sorta) be our friend
A neat little feature I found the other day is a little tiny button on the stats page that says "Details". It brings you to another page with some more information on the views a post has gotten, as well as the sources of those views. Here's an example of what one looks like:
Now, you might notice something interesting about that picture, and a number of other highly-viewed stories on the blog: Most of those views came from Google. A lot of stories get views from inside Medium or through Medium's newsletters - I don't really know how they work, although I should. But for our most highly-viewed stories, in general, we got a lot of views from people Googling phrases. Here are some highly-viewed posts for which this was the case:
The second and third from the end got a good number of views from Worldbuilding Stack Exchange, too (as they were mentioned in questions), but they were outshone by Monica's The Sisters’ War (Chapter 1), which got most of its views from How would having multiple moons affect tides? after it was linked there - a question that first got hot itself.
Basically, what I found is that most of those highly-viewed posts were highly-viewed because they proved helpful to people who don't use Stack Exchange or Medium - just people wanting to read up on cool stuff. These titles apparently dominated search results for their particular topics. And that's pretty awesome.
One final weird note
Oh, another interesting thing I noticed: A year ago, I wrote When nature beats you to the punch for Universe Factory, basically talking about a number of neat organisms that people had mentioned on the site to solve someone's problem. The details page shows it got a decent number of views (~40%) from
nativeapp.toutiao.com, which is explained well here. It's a weird situation involving a Chinese platform for content aggregation that shows the users content and kinda messes with the stats. So if any of the editors see that pop up on one of our stories . . . well, that's the reason. Just a weird tech glitch.