This past year I have been surprised and encouraged that this blog has a wide readership. However, I have also learnt that I don't want it to become too popular.
A few months ago, when I was visiting Columbia University I met with Peter Woit. He writes a very popular blog, Not Even Wrong, that has become well known, partly because of his strong criticism of string theory. It is a really nice scientific blog, mostly focusing on elementary particle physics and mathematics. The comments generate some substantial scientific discussion. However, it turns out that the popularity is a real curse. A crowd will attract a bigger crowd. The comments sections attracts two undesirable audiences. The first are non-scientists who have their own "theory of everything" that they wish to promote. The second "audience" are robots that leave "comments" containing links to dubious commercial websites. Peter has to spend a substantial amount of time each day monitoring these comments, deleting them, and finding automated ways to block them. I am very thankful I don't have these problems. Occasionally, I get random comments with commercial links. I delete them manually. I did not realise that they may be generated by robots.
Due to the robot problem, Peter said he thought the pageview statistics provided by blog hosts [e.g. blogspot or wordpress] were a gross over-estimate. I could see that this would be the case for his blog. However, I suspect this is not the case for mine. Blogspot claims a typical post of mine gets 50-200 page views. This seems reasonable to me. Furthermore, the numbers for individual posts tend to scale with the number of comments and the anticipated breadth of the audience [e.g. journal policies and mental health attract more interest than hydrogen bonding!] Hence, I will still take the stats as a somewhat reliable guide as to interest and influence.