Thursday, August 12, 2004

Blogging and Readership

I installed Extreme tracker in May to see how many people were actually reading my blog and why they came.

At first I was very pleased to find that over 700 (to give the current figure) different readers have come to my blog. I thought, "Hey, I'm doing pretty good for a new and infrequent blog!" Then I went to the breakdown for a friend's blog and discovered that he had had over 20,000 unique visitors. Okay I'm still in the minor leagues, I thought, but 700 people! That's still good!

Then I started looking a little closer at those figures and realized that most of those people (80%) were one time visitors coming in response to a particular entry or google search and not regular readers at all. Ok, but that means 20% are reloads, or returning readers, so that's about 180, so that's still okay!

But then I realize that the reloads include each time the person comes 'round, so divide 180 by the number of weeks I've been doing the blog and...well it looks like I might have eight to ten regular readers. *Sigh*

But wait, there are still 700 people who dropped by to read a particular entry, right? Other bloggers must have recommended some insight or comment I'd made that others were dropping by to check out. So I've still reached 700 readers with at least one entry, eh? That's still good!

But then I looked closer and saw that most of my traffic has been arriving by mistake! There were only 84 people referred by other bloggers, the rest came from Google (and similar) searches. For example, one guy typed in "Boring Family Photos" and my site came up because it has "boring" in the title and I have a "Family Photo" in one entry. I mean, maybe he did find what he was looking for, but it's not exactly about reading what I wrote, you know? I get a lot of searches with "Not boring" in them. (Someone needs to be teaching the public better search skills.) So it's not even like people are interested in my topics. Not really.

But it gets worse. When I actually looked at what words were most frequently pulling Google referals, it was "torture", "rape", "castration" and etc. I eventually figured out that these words were coming up in Dem's excellent guest editorial on the Iraq photos, but do I really want the people interested in these topics coming to my site? I mean, if they were looking for an editorial on the Iraq photos, all well and good, but I suspect most of these guys were looking for "rape photos" and got here by mistake. Eek, I suddenly feel creepy and need a shower.

Oh well, new term starts in a couple of weeks and I will get another batch of students, at least some of whom will figure out that reading my blog might give them some insight into where I'm coming from, thus driving up my readership figures....

...always assuming of course that universdity students still read any more...

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