Wednesday, February 27, 2013

And baby is three

Has it been three years already? Yes, I started this blog three years ago today, February 27, 2010.

Looking at last year's post, most things are still the same. I'm still blogging nearly every day. I'm still spending way too much time at it, yet I can't even come close to blogging about every interesting topic I find.

And it's still fun. Make no mistake, I'll quit the minute it stops being fun. (Although, 'fun' isn't always the right word. 'Catharsis' might be closer, for many posts.)

Last year, I mentioned how I'd started to get more readers. I write this for myself, of course, but it's always good to get readers. Unfortunately, this year has been a huge disappointment in that respect. My readership declined last spring and summer, and it never recovered. In fact, I think it's still declining (and it never was very large).

I'm talking about returning readers, because that's what matters to me, but even new visitors, even page loads, are anemic. I really don't understand that, because I've got a lot more posts now. Wouldn't I be getting more Google hits, just from that reason alone?

But I don't care about that, I really don't. (No advertising here, so no worry about 'hits.') I don't understand how those stats are compiled, anyway. Do I get a hit when a blog page just comes up in a Google search, without anyone needing to click on the link at all? Certainly, I don't seem to get many comments - and almost none from non-regulars - even from posts with a lot of hits.

I do care about returning readers, even though I write this mostly for myself. Has there been a change in the kinds of posts I write? That sort of thing is hard for me to notice. I just write what I feel like writing, and I don't restrict myself at all. Have you noticed a change in the past year or so? If so, was it welcome or unwelcome?

Lately, I've been posting more about computer games, and I know that's not popular with some of my regular readers. But Gregg, much as I enjoy your own blog, I'm not particularly interested in your home repair instructions, either. (Although, living here, I suppose I should be!)

Otherwise, politics and religion dominate, as usual. I haven't been posting many book reviews lately,... but I said the exact same thing last year, when my readership was high higher. Maybe I'm posting more videos? Videos are just so easy, though. And I'm addicted to YouTube, I think.

I'd be interested to hear what you like and what you don't, and if you've noticed any changes here. I'll probably continue posting whatever I feel like, though. Heh, heh. This is mostly for me, after all. And yes, I know my posts are way too long. But maybe I'll listen to complaints if I get enough of them, you never know. :)

(I should note that my proportion of hits from mobile devices has been increasing - not surprisingly. But I don't know how my blog shows up on them, since I only see it in Firefox. I'm not good at graphic arts, so when I began the blog, I just picked a ready-made template. Of course, extraordinarily long posts probably aren't ideal in the age of Twitter and text-messaging, anyway, huh?)

I look at my stats every week, because I find that sort of thing interesting. Week after week, the one post which almost always gets more hits than anything else is this post on house sparrows from almost a year ago. It's funny, because I used to be a very active birder, but I don't do that now, and I've hardly written any other posts about birds.

Well, as house sparrows are the most common bird in the world, "sparrow" and "house sparrow" seem to be very common search terms, too. But I never get any comments on that old post, and none of those people seem to return here (reasonably enough, I guess). As I say, I have to wonder whether I'm getting hits from Google searches, without anyone actually reading the post at all.

My posts about computer games, even old posts - especially about Dwarf Fortress - always get a lot of hits, too (but, again, almost no comments, so I do wonder if they're even being read). Going by Google searches, Dwarf Fortress is still very popular, apparently - or maybe just so difficult to learn that gamers are searching for help. :)

So, if I really cared about hits, maybe I'd make this a birding or gaming blog. On the other hand, none of those people ever seem to return, so that probably wouldn't make much difference in what I do care about, return visitors and regular readers. (Of course, I don't typically blog about birds. And as a game-player, I'm far older than most gamers, so my concerns probably aren't theirs.)

Finally, I get hits from all around the world - mostly from the United States, of course, but you'd be surprised at how many countries show up in the stats. (If you're wondering, Germany is second on the list this week, and France third. But Russia and the UK frequently take those positions.)

One country which almost never shows up is the most populous nation in the world, and the nation with the most internet users, China. I got hits from China one week only and never again. I wonder if that was their government, checking to see if I ever blogged about politics? (No, never. I promise.)

Of course, I don't know if the Chinese are allowed access to any part of the rest of the world. Either way, it's clear I'm not going to get any return visits from there, huh? But I'd still like more return visits from somewhere. :)

Maybe I'll start blogging about celebrities.


Jim Harris said...

My web traffic is always up and down too. I really depends on writing about topics that people are googling. About a 1/5th of my traffic is for a post about an app that tracks colories. I have about 6-8 posts that generate most of my traffic. 99 percent of my posts sink like a stone. I have a number of subscribers, but I'm not sure how many.

Chimeradave said...

The spike in mobile is probably because I got a smart phone. Though I wish you'd go into your setting and activate your blog's mobile settings so your blog would load easier on my phone.

I tried to find where you have to go but I'm not sure anymore Templates maybe.


WCG said...

You must own every mobile device ever made, John, since my stats sure show a wide diversity (Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod, Blackberry, etc.).

And the mobile settings were turned on, but I never see it that way, so I can't tell what works and what doesn't. Maybe I should choose a different mobile template?

It was set to "dynamic views," so I changed it to the default, which is "simple." Please let me know if that helps.

But note that, at my age, you're lucky I'm not using clay tablets. :)

WCG said...

You get a lot more comments than I do, Jim (and you'd get more, but I read your posts in my email, so I don't often visit your website, itself).

Chimeradave said...

I have an iphone so I'm not responsible for any of the other mobile views.

I just checked and it looks like that did it! It works great on my phone now. Many thanks!


WCG said...

No, thank you, John. I wouldn't have known about the problem, otherwise.