Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Uh-oh! Somebody’s Actually Reading This.

First Problem

I have two problems, the first problem is that I just discovered Blogger.com has all sorts of statistical data about how many people view my blog, how they found the blog, what browser they were using, where they were from, etc.

I know everyone else that has a blog through this site probably realized this long ago, but I somehow missed it until now. This is a problem because I can be a bit obsessive sometimes so it’s not a good thing that I can go in at anytime and see if anyone is reading my blog and then press the little button that says refresh and see if anyone started reading it in those last two seconds.

I now know that I’ve had over 100 page views from such foreign countries as Germany, Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, and Netherlands and Spain. And in the last week I’ve had visitors from New Zealand, Denmark and the United Arab Emirates.

I can’t even get my best friends to look at my blog, but I have readers in Indonesia?!

It was also interesting to see the different web browsers and operating systems people are using to view my site because I’d never heard of many of the more obscure ones.

For instance people have viewed my site with the web browsers Ubuntu (a Linux browser), SeaMonkey, Novarra-Vision, and PBSTB (which is so obscure the only thing I found by searching Google for it, was a link to another blog where she asks “What is this browser?” and even though there are many replies no one seems quite sure).

My blog has been viewed by such devices as I-pads, I-phones, I-pods, Blackberry, DoCoMo another mobile phone operator, (but it didn’t say whether it was the Indian or Japanese DoCoMo) and Playstation Portable.

It just amuses me to no end that someone manages to get their Playstation Portable to browse the Internet and they end up at my blog of all places. Plus, it’s just a portable video game console, Game Boy sure as heck couldn’t surf the web.

My question is how come no one using an Android or Nook Color has been to my blog?

Second Problem

My second problem is that people are actually looking at my blog. This blog wasn’t created so that people could read it, it was started so that I had a place to put the various articles I’d post on message boards. I’d post them and then I’d want to find them months or week’s later and I’d have to struggle with that particular site’s search engine to find it. Also, as I got more layout savvy I got frustrated with message board limitations; I wanted it to look just so.

And so,"One Geek’s Mind" was born, a storehouse for all of my brain-droppings in one convenient location.

Up until now I was working in a vacuum. I only have five followers of my blog so I figure no ones looking except for my wife that faithfully reads it, but does admit to skipping over the boring parts (love you Babe!). But, according to the stats I’ve had over 8,000 page views.

My most read book review is “Childhood’s End” it's had 534 views since I posted it on Oct. 29, 2009. I just looked st the review tonight for the first time in who knows how long and I feel like I have to apologize to all 534 readers for never bothering to fix up the text. It was double-spaced and the heading weren’t bolded. Now I know why girls get so embarrassed when someone comes over to their house and it’s “all a mess.” I also have no idea why this particular review is so popular. It’s blowing everything else out of the water; the next most viewed book reviews are “Contact” (93 views) and “Fahrenheit 451” (89 views). Is it just that good a review? Is it a popular book?

At Jim Harris’ suggestion I sent one of my articles “How Many Hugo Nominees and Winners can you get for free?” to a popular Science Fiction blog, SF Signal. They linked to my blog and it was a successful experiment, I got 67 hits because of SF Signal’s link. The article is my fifth most popular overall receiving a total of 223 views so far. The rest of the hits are probably a result of people searching Google with phrases like “Hugo winners, free.”

My third most viewed article with 253 views is, “Some Details in Back to the Future.” It’s just a quick article I threw together after watching the movie again. Most of the things I mentioned are found in other various articles around the blog-o-sphere. It’s just the things I happened to pay attention to that viewing and decided to look further into.

The other five top-ten articles are all comicbook reviews. Comics were one of the original focuses of the blog, but they’ve kind of been eclipsed by some of my other interests lately. The last time I wrote one was last April.

The number one most viewed article is, “What if Spiderman had rescued Gwen Stacy?” (604 views). It’s a well written review for what it is, but my theory on it’s popularity is that since I used the title of the comic for the title of the article, my blog comes up first itf you search the title in Google. And since I used a big scan of the cover with a high resolution, it also comes up first in image searches for both the title and “What If 24” (that’s what I named the image file).

The other popular comic articles are "Daredevil Part 3, The Romita Era" (175 views) and "Not so Mellow Yellow- Daredevil the Early Years Part 1" (132 views), I have no clue why people are skipping Part 2. Daredevil is kind of the "red-headed step-child" of the comicbook world, it's weird to me that his articles would get more then my other Spiderman reviews or Thor or Ironman.

Then there are, "Musings on the Incredible Hulk Part 2" (131 views) and Part 3 (122 views). These figures really confused me because you’d think people would start with Part 1, which is my personal favorite of all the comicbook reviews I’ve ever done. In it I purport that the Hulk is a modern day Buddha attempting to reach a form of nirvana by finding an end to his suffering. I guess it was too out there for most people.


  1. Playing with the stats is fun. It’s often amusing to guess why I get hits on certain essays. For example, I get a trickle of hits on “The Veldt by Ray Bradbury.” Yesterday I got 12. I assume it’s because school kids have to read it for an assignment. I also get regular hits on “Mathematica versus Sage” and “10,000 Hours to Greatness.” And you’re right; I think the title is important.

    To get hits depends on placement in Google, and I find it strange that I would be getting any hits at all, but then who knows, maybe I’ve accidently written about something that few other people have written about. My #1 hit is “The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of the 20th Century.” If people search on that exact phrase I’ll be at the top of the Google returns. Yesterday that post got 75 hits. That means at least, and it could be many more people, 75 people are thinking about the best SF novels of the 20th century that day. That’s pretty weird when you think about it.

    Another odd thing about getting hits is when I use a phrase that’s popular in the searches for a few days. I noticed this when I mentioned “purity balls” about parties for virgins. There is a whole science to getting search engine placement but I don’t worry about that.

    I do know if I write a personal essay, or about a subject that’s too common, say liberals versus conservatives, I won’t get any hits at all. That doesn’t stop me from writing such posts, but when write them I know few people will read them.

    If you are seeking hits I’ve found that reviewing something popular at the moment gets readers. I reviewed a netbook I bought, a Toshiba NB205 and I’ve been getting 20-25 hits a day for over a year now on that one. Now that brings up the idea of journalism. Do you write for your readers? What’s your target audience? Do you stay on topic? I mostly get hits because of things I’ve written about science fiction. So do I bore my regular readers when I write about subscription music services?

    Some bloggers gets millions of hits a month, like http://thepioneerwoman.com/ which I read about in The New Yorker this week. She earns over a million dollars a year in ad revenue. That goes to show you if you find the right audience and give them what they want, you can become a writing success. I’m not, but I wonder how far I’d get if I tried. I’m pretty sure my interests are too narrow for a big audience.

  2. Heh, heh. Yeah, neat, isn't it, John? Last week on my blog, except for my fellow Americans, most of my traffic came from Slovenia. Really, I don't think I know anyone in Slovenia, and I've never posted about that country.

    So who in Slovenia is reading my blog? And why? I had fully one-quarter as many hits from Slovenia as from the entire United States! (On the other hand, not a single hit from China. But maybe it's banned there, since I often talk about politics?)

    Actually, my biggest traffic source is usually your website here, since you're one of the few people who actually reads my blog (and I'm guessing that you must click on the link in your blog list to get there?).

    I guess, if I just wanted traffic, I'd post more about Minecraft, the popular computer game. Two posts I wrote about that last fall still get more hits than anything else, week after week. Of course, that's just from Google searches, and I'm sure they don't read anything else at my site.

    Luckily - very much so, as it turns out - I was never overly concerned about popularity. But that statistical data is still lots of fun. I might also recommend StatCounter. Tony Williams recommended it to me. It's free, and it sends me a weekly statistical count that's different from what Blogger provides (for example, it tells me how many return visitors I get every day).

    It really is kind of fun. (Rather depressing, though. Heh, heh.)

  3. Bill, maybe you should vacation in Slovenia. Maybe you're a big celebrity there, like Jerry Lewis in France.

    Oh, and yes, I always go to your site through the link on my blog.

    I know I'm not interested in seeking hits. Like the article said, I never really even thought about it until the other day. And I certainly don't want to write for an audience. This blog will continue to be written primarily for my own enjoyment. If others enjoy it too, that's just a bonus.

    However, it is fascinating to learn how the game is played. I will certainly keep title searchablity in mind in the future as well as posting a big hi-res picture so it's listed first in searches.