Monday, September 13, 2010


Oh, this cannot be good.

After two years of this blog (really – passed that milestone on September 4, with about as much fanfare as I usually allot to my own birthday, which I have more than once forgotten about entirely) I have finally discovered what the little tab marked “Stats” does on the Blogger Dashboard.

So I’m not the most inquisitive person in the world when it comes to technology. Sue me.

But there I was, noodling around the Dashboard, clicking on random things, hoping that I didn’t end up either a) nuking Moscow or b) deleting the entire blog, and idly wondering which of these would be the worse fate for me, personally, because it is, after all, all about me, when I happened to try that tab.

Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit, look at that.

I can see page views! Apparently this blog has been accessed something on the order of 1700 times since it first started, although I’m guessing that a fair amount of those were mine, just checking the spelling. But I can dream.

I can see maps of visitors! Most are in the US, but there are a number of people who seem to log in consistently from other places in the world, which I find unspeakably cool.

I can see referring sites! So far Google in its various incarnations seems to be the big one, but not the only one.

I can see popular posts! Apparently you liked the Fourteenth Amendment post, which makes me feel good. It was a heartfelt one.

It even breaks things down by operating system and browser. Firefox is especially popular among readers here.

And I can see the questions and search terms people use to get to me.

Seriously, what is wrong with some people?

I spent a happy few days watching the various numbers go up and down, being very pleased that people enjoy reading what I write.  I’ve always felt that authors need to keep in mind that readers don’t owe them time – you have to make it worthwhile for readers. But you know, I’ve decided that I need to stop looking at this tab, because otherwise it just gets too much. I start to obsess over these things, and then it stops being fun. I am just that way.

So it was good while it lasted, but for my own sanity I think I’ll continue on in the blissful ignorance that I so often wish I could attain in other areas of my life.


Eric said...

Well, hey, just imagine what your searches would look like if you had the word "midgets" in the title of your blog. I have no regrets, but in retrospect....

No, you can't think that way: if I'd gone for a different blog title, I'd probably be appalled by what people want to do with a crumpet.

What I have discovered, is that success increases pressure. The few entries I've written that cracked a hundred page views have had me worried--should I be writing more about x? I said everything I could about x! What if people only want to read about x! People will come here for x and be disappointed that there is no more x and they will hate me! But I don't want people to hate me!

That path leads to madness, I am sure. But better to have a small core of reliable visitors, I think, then to fret over that.

I only just discovered the "stats" tab, too. I think it's new. I did have Google Analytics set up to monitor usage, but hardly visited it anymore. Looking at the stats tab, I found myself surprised by some of the places I was getting hits from. I made a philosophy blogger angry two months ago because he has reading comprehension problems, and I didn't even know it until today, when I saw that his site was referring visitors to me. I also discovered that my review of last week's Pixies concert had been aggregated on a Francis Black forum, which was kind of nifty, and that one post I'd rather forget is getting some love from Germany. If one can divorce oneself from the pressure, this is interesting: I mean, you don't always know what's going to resonate or draw attention, and things like the philosophy blogger writing a response to me on his blog was an amusing surprise. And even search results can be interesting: I'd rather not know what some people want from midgets, but apparently I get a lot of people looking for Pink Floyd's drummer, Nick Mason, and who doesn't love Nick Mason?

Janiece said...

You think "Midgets" gets questionable page views? You should see some of the wacky searches that end up on my site.

But, like Eric, I was a neophyte when I started and did not realize what I wrought.

David said...

I would definitely imagine that both of you would get some fascinating keyword searches with your blog titles :) That's one of the things I found odd about mine - how much can one do with "4 Quarters, 10 Dimes"?

More than I thought, apparently.

You're right, Eric - that kind if hallucinatory self-induced pressure was what bothered me most. It is interesting to see who visits, but I know my tendencies and I'm just better off not keeping track of the stats.

Janiece said...

I have my suspicions about the "stats" tab in any event.

For example, two of the top referring sites to my blog are some "buy our Viagra - CHEEP" site and some UK based circus performer agency. The first I can almost understand, but circus performers? Really?