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December 29, 2011 at 09:51 PM

The 2011 Year in Review


I've been using tools from Google to monitor this website for a couple of years. These tools give me anonymous insight into which pages are the most popular, how people find pages (via a link or web search), what kind of computer they're using, their browser, etc., etc. Most of this information is simply interesting, but some of it is useful. For example, I don't spend any time optimizing for Internet Explorer because that awful technology is down to less than 8% of all traffic (if you're still using IE, shame on you).

Looking back at 2011, I was surprised to learn a few things. The total pageviews for 2011 were about 5 times previous years (but still less than Facebook). iPads, iPhones and other mobile devices make up about a third of traffic and have been growing every month (with a huge spike in iPad usage after Christmas and for this year's electronic holiday card). For this reason, I have pages that are specially formatted to optimize for these devices.

Technology aside, I wanted to recap the most popular content from 2011. Its a mixed bag. Some of it is travel-related, some of its photography-related and some its hard to explain. Here are the top ten posts from 2011, sorted by number of page views as determined by Google Analytics (Note: astute readers will note this list doesn't fully jive with my own "top" list. True. My list is cumulative all time versus just 2011, but the Google Analytics list is smarter at filtering out noise and is probably much more reliable).

UPDATE: Since I posted this Thursday evening, the rankings have changed slightly. The number 10 slot is now occupied by:

10. The Official 2011 Koeller Family Photo - World Edition

Other than its obviously campy humor, this post got picked up on Stumbleupon and quickly took over the number 10 spot. I guess I posted the "Year in Review" a few days too early...

10 11. Photographing Lightning over New York

I spent about an hour on the roof watching a far-off lightning storm over New Jersey. After several attempts, I got one really good shot near the end.

9. Welcome to Gap Hong Kong

Jessica's coworker snapped this photo during her trip to China in September. "Gap Hong Kong" is one of the top search terms that brings people to the site.

8. Photo Tour of the Phillip Johnson Glass House

This is a popular tourist destination during the summer and shows up in a number of search results. HDR photography is also a popular trend in photography at the moment.

7. Weekend in Yosemite & Climbing Half Dome

These Yosemite posts are always popular with friends who attended and those that wished they had. Yosemite and Half Dome were in the news this summer due to the record number of fatal accidents in the park.

6. Behold, Manhattanhenge

These photos aren't that remarkable, and there are far better photos to be found on Flickr and elsewhere. For some reason, this post got linked by an Italian newspaper and the Huffington Post, both of which generated many referrals.

5. Visit to Parrot Cay in the Turks & Caicos

The pictures in this post got a lot of traction with news outlets in the Caribbean, and have been linked to and Tweeted by the resort itself. As the winter months approached, both "Parrot Cay" and "Turks & Caicos" generated much search traffic.

4. A Tribute in Light

This post wasn't the most viewed, but did have the most comments and discussion. Some of the photos were linked by the Associated Press and had numerous inquiries about buying prints. As this was the last year for the lighting, there was a great deal of search traffic on this topic.

3. The Governors Island Jazz Age Lawn Party

This is a hugely popular event twice a summer in New York. The period dress is a big draw for the fashion blogs, and after the event there was enormous search traffic. A few of the bigger New York lifestyle blogs linked to this post, which also boosted its traffic.

2. Madison Square Park in Fall

This one is curious. From what I can tell, the keyword "iPhone" in this post drew a lot of traffic from tech blogs and photo enthusiasts curious about the new iPhone 4S camera. There were many referrals from Stumbleupon, a social bookmarking site.

1. The Louvre at Sunset

I posted this photo after searching through my archives and looking at old photos from Paris. The link got picked up by Stumbleupon and had many thousand views in short period of time.

Honorable mention: these posts also got a lot of traffic, but didn't quite crack the top 10.

Travels to China: Three Days in Shanghai
Find my iPhone Helps Find my iPhone: A NYC Taxi Adventure
Yves St. Laurent's Gardens in Marrakech, Morocco

Another take on "most popular" would be to look at comments and discussion. These are the most "commented" blogs for 2011:

5. A Tribute in Light
4. Photographing Lightning over New York
3. Visit to Parrot Cay in the Turks & Caicos
2. Happy Rockin' Halloween!
1. On the Beach at Parrot Cay

Top 5 Traffic Sources for sites that have the most links to content

1. Stumbleupon
2. Facebook
3. Twitter
4. Google
5. Flickr

Top 5 Searches that lead to content

1. "Kris Koeller"
2. "Climbing Half Dome"
3. "Gap Hong Kong"
4. "Visit to Parrot Cay"
5. "Three Days in Shanghai"

Looking ahead to 2012, there are no big plans to change the site or content in a major way. I've been really busy lately, so its harder to keep up with fresh content, but its still a fun hobby. See you around the Internet!

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The Official 2011 Koeller Family Holiday Photo - World Edition
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