Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Yesterday my site meter told me I passed 10,000 visits*, since I began a year ago late Sept. In addition to the previous incarnation of this blog at Blog-City, that makes about 14,000. Not bad for someone who had the sensation, when he began, that he was painting inside a cave -- to be discovered at some uncertain future date by some curious seeker armed with temerity and a virtual flashlight (not to mention lots of idle time). It's that cave feeling that made me choose black for my blog, so my words and images would become like the "silent whisperings of the arrayed handprints in the caves of Altamira," to quote a line from a poem by Francisco Santos.
Obviously there are a lot of curious seekers out there. These numbers sound like the attendance at a major art gallery show -- but what do they really mean? Right now, whenever I post, I get a spike of anywhere from say five to thirty hits from blogs I don't know and am likely never to see again -- names like Joe's Golf Blog, or Kill Kill Kill or Mitsuki's Day at School. I assume my postings appear on lists I'm unaware of -- not just the "recently posted" list at Blogger. The secret to inflating one's numbers -- if that were one's sole purpose -- would be to post several little tidbits a day. There have been days, though, when I've gotten a storm of visits for no apparent reason -- i.e. 35 in one particular hour last July, a month when I wasn't posting at all. This phenomenon was especially frequent during a short period when the blog spam-bots were blamming us like mad, before the advent of so-called "word verification" (that is, gibberish replication) in the post comment feature on our blogs.
By far my most popular post, by the way, in terms of Google searches etc., has been one entitled "The Largest Organism on Earth". I think I've gotten about 500 visits for that one alone. For some reason my post was listed at the top of that weird category for about two months. Another secret to increasing your numbers: post something that gets to the top of an unusual but relatively high-interest category. A post about Jon Stewart's Daily Show, of presumably much more popular interest, didn't get a single search hit... I guess because it's at the bottom of a stack of postings and URLs about him.
We with the site meters can become addicted to watching them. The meters become quite fascinating in themselves. My own site meter has a new feature where I can see the last 10, 20, 50, or a 100 visits I've had on a world map. I've seen visits from Cairo, Jakarta, Tokyo, Bangalore, Lagos, Copenhagen (I know who most of those are from -- a well-hit Basbøll), Sao Paulo, Beijing, Stockholm, Managua, Manila, Santiago. The vast bulk though come from North America, on average about 30% from Canada, 60% from USA. If my site meter is a true reflection, world-wide web is densely stitched over this continent, with a few strands stretching elsewhere. I'm surprised at how few of those strands come from England -- about as many as from Sweden, around 1-2%. What's with you Brits?
As for you, you, you, you and occasionally you who leave comments -- David, Pris, Nick, Peter, Lorna, Gina, Charles, A.D., AJP et al, thank you thank you thank you. It's for the likes of you I write. I truly enjoy and appreciate the feedback. But if I were always getting "O" in my comments box (as is pretty frequently the case, just scroll down), I'd be posting anyway. Anonymity, presumably, didn't stop the cave painters -- why should it stop me?
* as I remember, according to my site meter's definition, visits are not just hits, but include several hits from the same URL within a half hour period.