12 March 2009

The woes of being an extremely amateur blogger

I don't know how many of you bloggers out there use StatCounter.com or a similar site, but it's really cool to check out. It's a service that shows you on a given day how many people have been on your blog, where in the world they're reading it, what page they entered on, how they found it (be it a link or google search, etc.) and even how long they stayed and what they looked at. All you have to do is sign up for a free account, embed an html code into your blog, and wait for the stats to pour in.

The stats depicted in this chart in no way reflect my own. This chart is taken from Google images from a blog or web site with over 30,000 visitors a month. I probably have around 150 visitors a month. If I'm lucky.

I have made a few interesting observations from this site, some good and some bad.
One surprising observation I made is that even when I am not blogging regularly (i.e. 99% of the time) I still get a fair amount of page views. This is pretty surprising because I really don't know who would be looking on my blog. Fortunately with StatCounter, I am able to see how and why they are finding it.

For example, one entry I wrote for my Digital Journalism class last spring is often searched on Google. It is about Makoto Hagiwara, the original landscape designer and maintainer of the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. Through StatCounter I learned that many people were searching Google for information about him, and found my blog entry as a result. Very cool!
Sadly, I have also learned a harsh reality that many people who find my blog soon choose to turn around and leave before they even make themselves comfortable. A whopping 61% of visitors stay on my blog for less than five seconds. LESS THAN FIVE SECONDS!?!? Is it really that bad?

Ok, ok, so I won't take it personally.

I've chosen to use the information from StatCounter as inspiration to blog more often and about a wider variety of topics. Seeing that a random topic such as the Japanese Tea Garden could generate so many page views is inspiring to write and write and write some more! Write about odd and interesting things that no one else is writing about. Then more people will randomly stumble upon my blog, and who knows... maybe if it's interesting enough, they'll want to stay for more than five seconds.


Nancy Tracy said...

That's weird. I usually stay on your blog for at least six seconds!!

Erin said...

Even worse than realising that people only stay at your blog for five seconds, is realising that your stalker ex-boyfriend visits your blog 20x per day for less than five seconds, just to see if you've updated. Four years after the break up, mind you!

I'm not using StatCounter at the moment, personally. I'm using Wordpress's average in-built stat counter, but have been thinking about changing. It's kind of an obsessive guilty pleasure, I find, keeping tabs on who's been visiting your blog.

I'm at a stage where I'm getting anywhere between 70-200 visitors per day most days, which is about 500% better than this time last year, but I still wonder why. But, I guess that's the beauty of blogging -- there's always going to be someone willing to listen to your banalities ... :P