Looking Back at Peltier Tech in 2009

Dick Kusleika says a pretty picture will keep readers on the page longerI wrote a post last month called State of the Blog – Year End 2009, but that was more of a “looking forward to 2010″ kind of post, with all the great stuff I want to do. I thought since I was reviewing my site statistics anyway, I’d share some of it.

In 2009, I posted 170 blog entries, and you and I together left at least 1550 comments (some of the comments on 2008 posts were left in 2009). In fact, Monday’s guest post by Nick Hebb, Programming Excel 2007 and Excel 2010 AutoShapes with VBA, is overall the 400th post since the Peltier Tech Blog was launched in early 2008.

Dick Kusleika says that a nice picture will keep readers on the page longer, so instead of the customary boring chart, I’ve asked this model to sit in.

Web Stats

Here are the basic statistics for the blog:

2009 Peltier Tech Blog Statistics

Here are the same totals for my site as a whole, including the blog:

2009 Peltier Tech Web Site Statistics

I guess those numbers are pretty good for a limited interest blog. Everyone uses Excel, but how many users are really interested in charting and programming?

Here’s a funny story about one of these visitors. My oldest daughter is a senior in college, and one of her friends is looking for a post-graduation job. The friend called my daughter and said, “I wrote on the application that I knew pivot tables, whatever they are, so I Googled them, and landed on your dad’s web site.”

Of course, the bulk of the Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts section of my web site was written by Debra Dalgleish, before she got smart and started her own hugely popular Contextures web site, and wrote several great books about pivot tables.

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Disclosure: these are affiliate links, which means if you click on one of these pictures and buy a book, Amazon will pay me like 35¢. Also, Debra sent me free copies of these books if I promised to say how great they are.

Popular Pages

The ten most viewed posts in 2009 are listed below. Naturally the blog home page is first. Second is the tutorial on clustered-stacked charts; when I saw how much traffic this post receives, I developed the PTS Cluster Stack Chart Utility, and it has been jumping off the shelves. The next two posts covered Excel 2007 issues: using error bars and installing add-ins.

Error bars are much more difficult to use in Excel 2007 than in 2003. It’s harder to find the commands to add them, since they have been removed from the Format Series dialog. Once you’ve added them, it’s more difficult to format error bars in Excel 2007.

Add-ins are more difficult to install in Excel 2007, because the Tools menu has been dismantled. Most of its commands have been buried three or four layers deep in the Office menu, or whatever it’s called that appears when you click on the big round orb in the top left corner of the window.

The list of pageviews for the top 100 posts follows Zipf’s Law, that is, a power law fit of pageviews vs rank. A power law is a straight line on a double-log chart.

2009 Peltier Tech Blog Statistics

In layman’s terms Zipf’s Law means the first few pages get many views, and the rest of the pages drop off pretty quickly.

2009 Peltier Tech Blog Statistics

The popularity of the Error Bars and Add-Ins posts are borne out by the list of popular search phrases:

  • 01 – error bars in excel 2007
  • 02 – pts blog
  • 03 – excel 2007 add-ins
  • 04 – error bars excel 2007
  • 05 – excel charts
  • 06 – error bars in excel
  • 07 – excel 2007 add ins
  • 08 – excel 2007 error bars
  • 09 – add ins excel 2007
  • 10 – add-ins excel 2007
  • 11 – error bars excel
  • 12 – excel error bars
  • 13 – peltiertech
  • 14 – jon peltier

Comments

The most commented posts show that a little controversy goes a long way.

There was some controversy when Chandoo and I kicked off our Chart Doctor series. It turns out Kelly O’Day had a “Chart Doctor” page on his Process Trends web site. In retrospect, didd remember Kelly’s page, but it had been over a year since he’d updated it, and naturally I forgot. (When you get older, memory is the second thing you lose, and I don’t remember what’s first.) Chandoo and I renamed our series Chart Busters, and one of my Chart Busters articles reached number 9 on the charts.

A physics professor ranted in Why Does Excel Suck So Much? that his students made such crappy charts in Excel. This turned into an anti-Microsoft, anti-Excel bash session. And certainly there are shortcomings to Excel’s chart wizard, which were exacerbated when the wizard was removed entirely from Excel 2007. But my comment about this rant was, “Oh my, such anger, such invective, such inability to use Google.”

The “Whatever” post was really a rant about pie and other circular charts, and several readers chimed in. Finally, a few actual tutorials were also popular with commenters.

Looking Ahead

The way my business is evolving should provide me with a few extra hours to write more posts. Maybe I’ll use 200 posts as my target for 2010.

Still with me?I’ve started 2010 with a series about the start to finish process of Creating an Excel Add-In, which I expect will be popular.

Excel 2010 will be released around June, so there should be some discussions about new features and hopefully about fixed misbehaviors. And hopefully not about new headaches. Preliminary reports are optimistic.

I’m sure other things will crop up. There will be more fodder for Chart Busters than I could cover in a post every day. I’ll try to keep this series active, with a post every other week or so. Chandoo and I are planning a series of podcasts covering tutorials and Chart Buster topics. I’ve connected with a few colleagues who enjoy running seminars, and I’ll try to take my show on the road more than the two events I did in 2009, at least if the economy improves and companies can send their people to training sessions.

Oh, and my blonde friend here (as if) was wondering if you’ve actually read all the way down to the bottom of the page.

Peltier Tech Chart Utility

Comments

  1. aha, This is the first time that I find Jon post a beauty in his blog~
    Your blog is in my must-read blog list, I read every one of your artilces, though I cant caught some of them.
    I also post my 2010 plan in my blog today.

  2. A 2010 decision to add some model…….. “Data Modelling”??

  3. Eye-candy in your blog? Wow! I must visit it more often! I did this once, but I used a naked, humm… pie chart.

  4. Seriously, I’m sure 2010 will be a great year for the Excel users community. An (hopefully) better Excel version is coming, more users are willing to learn and go beyong the basic formulas, and more people are aware that too much eye-candy in their charts is bad for their (business) health.

  5. Jorge –

    Sure I relied on eye candy, and I used it to get attention. But I did not obscure any data in any of my charts.

  6. I googled “pivot table” and your site came up 7th.

    I googled “excel chart” and your site came up 3rd.

    I googled “excel vba” and your site came up 27th.

    I googled “pivot chart” and your site was both 1st and 2nd.

  7. Interesting to hear how the most popular blog posts led to your successful Excel utilities. I hope your daughter’s friend gets a job and learns about pivot tables, not necessarily in that order.

    And thanks for voluntarily mentioning how great the books are.

  8. Thanks for recalling the chart-doctor-buster mess. It was one crazy week for me as well. But it ended well.

    2009 has been very good for me as well. I wrote more often and connected with several new readers, started a forum and launched an e-book as well as a set of templates (both of which took off pretty good).

    My daughter’s friends are still sucking their thumbs, so no luck on getting those extra googlers here. but the numbers look good enough for a limited interest blog for me too.

    Wish you all the best for 2010 Jon.. I am looking forward to doing few more chartbusters and the pod cast with you.

  9. Hi Sir,
    Probably, it is a problem at my end, but still thought of telling you this …
    Display of comments beyond a certain point in the “clustered -stacked column charts” gets aligned to the left of the screen and goes out of the monitor, making on screen viewing a bit difficult. I tried viewing that post on a couple of desktops & laptop but the effect is the same.

    Even the comment space at the bottom was out of visibility there and hence writing here. Could it be something to do with the infinite comments?
    And while here,

    Ever wish and pray that God gives you “infinite energy, infinite enthusiasm, infinite daring, infinite patience and infinite success” in whatever you do
    savithri

  10. Hi Savithri –

    I’ve teted the page in both FireFox (3.5.7) and Internet Explorer 8, and for both the page renders fine, through all of the comments and to the comment box at the bottom. What browser are you using?

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Peltier Tech Chart Utility

 

Create Excel dashboards quickly with Plug-N-Play reports.