It’s been ten years since I last posted some statistics about the site – time flies!

Let’s see what’s happened since then…

Diary, Encyclopedia and annotations

Ten years ago the 3,434 diary entries had 58,603 annotations. That’s now grown to 71,769, so there was obviously plenty still to discover and discuss on the second read-through. It’s an average of about 20 annotations per diary entry.

The Encyclopedia now has 5,084 topics, up from 4,790 in 2021. 2,815 of those are people. 1,153 of the topics have links to their Wikipedia pages (I said this was 2,549 ten years ago, which can’t have been correct).

There are now 12,321 annotations in the Encyclopedia, up from 9,425 a decade ago.

Articles have 298 comments, Site News has 1,374, and Letters have 6.

So, in total, there are 85,768 annotations/comments across the whole site, up from 69,585 in 2012.

Visitors, page views, etc.

According to Google Analytics, since 1 December 2005 (roughly when I started using it) we’ve had just over 24 million page views and 1,350,000 “users” or 4,550,000 “new users” (I’m not sure exactly what those mean).

Over the course of May 2022 we had 90,405 page views and 17,243 users.

Here’s a chart showing the number of page views per month since 2006:

A line graph showing a slightly jagged line that begins at around 200,000 page views in 2006 and continues just under that until about 2012. From there it's at round 100,000 apart from a couple of spikes up towards 200,000 around 2020 and 2021.

We can see the second cycle through the diary has had slightly fewer views than the first, unsurprisingly, but around 100,000 page views per month across the site still seems like quite a lot.

Here’s a map showing where visitors to the site have come from since this read of the diary started in January 2012:

A map of the world with most countries shaded light blue. Canada is slightly darker, the USA much darker, and the United Kingdom the darkest of all

And here’s a table of what percentage of users have come from which country:

1United Kingdom40%
2United States31%

Since January 2012, 61% of “users” were “New Visitors” versus 39% who were “Returning Visitors”.

Here’s where visitors to the site came from: 60% from a search engine, and 30% “direct” visitors (e.g. browser bookmarks, or typing in the URL).

A pie chart titled 'Top Channels', showing 59.5% for Organic Search, 30.7% for Direct, around 6% for Referral, and 4% for Social

Unfortunately I don’t have any data on which queries people have used on search engines, that resulted in them visiting the site – I think I should have changed a setting in Google Analytics when the site switched from http to https some years ago. Shows how often I look at the stats!

Over the first five months of 2022, here are the most popular web browsers used to access the site:

5Samsung Internet1%

And using these operating systems:

PositionOperating SystemUsers
5Chrome OS3%


The @samuelpepys Twitter account started tweeting excerpts from the diary entries in “real time” in 2009 and by the end of the first cycle in 2012 it had 31,398 followers.

Now, after the account’s first complete cycle of the diary, it has 71,016 followers. It tweeted 13,873 tweets over the course of the diary – this will probably be fewer next time, because the maximum length of tweets grew from 140 characters when the diary started in 2012, to 280 now.

RSS feeds

According to the stats on Feedburner, the diary RSS feed has 282 subscribers, a figure which dropped suddenly and drastically in 2021 as seen by the green line on this graph:

A graph with a green line that, roughly, starts at 2000 subscribers in the year 2008, climbs to around 3800 around the year 2011, then quite suddenly drops back to about 2000. It rises again to about 3000 in the year 2015 before dropping suddenly again to 2000. Around the year 2021 it drops down to around 300

That’s always been a strange and erratic graph and I don’t think a count of RSS subscribers can be accurate these days. I’m guessing the big drop was something to do with Google suddenly paying the service more attention last year.

(What are RSS feeds?)


Those changes at Feedburner also meant moving the daily email newsletter from the service – which was a very simple one – to the same place as the email discussion group, This process proved to be frustratingly complicated for all involved, for which I apologise.

At the time of the change over there were 2,559 people on the previous email list, with 1,931 marked as “active” and being sent emails.

The new diary-entries email list has 455 subscribers.

The main discussion group has 637 members, although some of those are people who had to subscribe in order to subscribe to the diary-entries “sub group”. Maybe I can simplify this process before the diary starts again.

Let me know if you have any other questions about this kind of thing and I’ll see if I can find the answers.


Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Always interesting, Phil.

Is there any way of mining the age of readers? Are we entertaining the retired, or contributing to the education of the high schoolers? Not that that would make much difference ... this is X-rated on occasions because of Pepys, not the annotators.

And thank you for commiting to a third cycle. You are a Prince.

I hope you and your family enjoy the Jubilee weekend, and your 7 month vacation from this wonderful endeavor.

Arthur Perry  •  Link

I’ve been subscribed to the RSS since roughly halfway through the first run. I use Feedly. So there’s one more data point for ya. Thanks for everything, Phil!

Liz  •  Link

Thank you, Phil, very interesting. I feel inclined to start the cycle again!

Sam Ursu  •  Link

I only caught the last nine months or so, so I'd definitely love a full trip 'round the Diary!

Larry Neal  •  Link

I've been through half of the first round and all of the second, and look forward to the third. Pepys always seems to have something new to say. Thanks, again, Phil.

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