The top ten of top tens

I could take my request stats for all time, sum them up by URL, and show you a list of my top ten requested posts ever. But that tends to skew towards the one-hit wonders, the posts that got traction on Digg or Boing Boing, accrued more views than my blog normally gets in a month, and then faded into long tail obscurity.

What I really want to know is which posts are my meat and potatoes, my breadwinners, which posts bring home the bacon, day in and day out? When I check my analytics, I tend to see the same posts in that day’s top 10 list over and over again. These are the posts that have a fairly high ranking in Google for a commonly requested search query, which usually translates into 50-150 views per post per day.

So I wrote a little script to loop through every day over the last year, query for the top ten posts within a given day, assign each post a single point, and then repeat for each day. At the end, I tallied up the points per post, and came up with a very unsurprising list of my top ten posts from a years worth of daily top ten posts on Justinsomnia.

There’s probably a name for this kind of statistical distribution. Anyone know what is it?

  1. How to regularly backup Windows XP to Ubuntu, using rsync
  2. How to find an apartment in San Francisco
  3. News of the weird (and cool): Great-grandma tattoo
  4. replacing a laptop lcd screen
  5. Get photos off your cell phone without paying Sprint $15 a month
  6. The grossest thing about poison-oak
  7. how to count unique records with sql
  8. Niagara Falls
  9. Random Image Plugin for WordPress
  10. What would you free with $100 million dollars?

I ran the same analysis over the past 30 days and all the posts were the same (just in a different order), with one exception: “What would you free with $100 million dollars?” dropped off the list (it seems I’m not as highly ranked for a certain picture of Christy Turlington any longer) and in its place appeared Essential Database Naming Conventions (and Style), which I recently re-integrated into my blog. It used to be a static HTML page without my analytics tracking pixel.

Are these posts really representative of what you might expect to find on Justinsomnia these days? Where are the food posts, the hikes, the national parks? Well the Niagara Falls post made the list as my sole representative from the Outdoors category. But none of my food posts are bringing home the bacon.

The mainstays are clearly the “how-tos” or technical posts, accounting for six of the top ten—seven if we counted Database Naming Conventions. The rest all made the list because they contain a highly ranked image in the results of Google Images.

The surprising thing is that there’s not a single post on there from 2008 or 2009. One is from 2004, three from 2005, four from 2006, and two from 2007. If you can believe it, that Database Naming Conventions post is from 2003! Apparently in the eyes of Google, Justinsomnia’s best posts were written 3-4 years ago.


I originally found you site when looking for a WordPress plugin that would show random pictures I have uploaded to my restaurant review site. As the site got bigger I decided to move my picture content to NextGen and use the random slide show instead. But even after that I still continue to read your site because I’m interested in the things you talk about, find and post, etc. Besides isn’t poison-oak technically an outdoors thing too? ;)


i found you through your french bistro table post, then realized you were local in the bay area, so looked a bit more … and then realized you went to Harley farms (best goat cheese with sun dried tomatoes) and started sending your blog around to foodie friends.
keep up the foodie posts!

Dan, I guess you could say so. ;)

Kim, thanks for leaving a comment, and thanks for reading. Glad you’ve been enjoying my food posts (I have too!) and hope your friends have as well.

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