On the peculiarities of blogging

So, my blog is still alive.  2 weeks have gone, and I’ve managed a healthy average of about 1 post/page every two days.

As far as visits go, I’m neither flying high nor crashing and burning.  I’ve had a grand total of 90 visits, a vast improvement from the total for the middle of day 2, from various people,  many of whom I know, though a surprising few whom I have no idea who they are.

I managed to work out who many of the people who visited my blog were by realising that the two major spikes in page views closely followed the two occasions when I mentioned this blog on the news letter I’m in charge of.

However, looking at the limited other information that wordpress.com gives me about my blog’s stats, I have had to conclude that I’ve had quite a few visitors who weren’t actually intending to come.

I’ll explain:  Last weekend, I made this post about a comic strip I read on a regular basis.  It didn’t prove too popular.   About Friday things, oddly enough, started to pick up on that specific post, even though I’d posted another one.  After puzzling over my stats, and for a long time not making much sense of them,  I eventually got to the bottom of the mystery.  The thing is, I’d checked all the recorded search terms in Google, to see if I was in any of the top soil to no avail, but they still seemed to be the source of all my traffic.  Finally it twigged – have a look at the second item on this page.  Does it look familiar (I hope it is still 2nd place, or else I’ll look a tad silly – data correct at time of posting)?  For some reason unbeknown to me, I’d managed to hit the top line of the image results for 3 or 4 search terms including the word “best”.   It’s not even my picture – I hotlinked (I assume I have permission, since he gives a link to do so on the page) it from XKCD!  Now I’m not complaining, but I do feel somewhat guilty claiming some credit from Randal Munroe’s work.  So I’m repaying him with gratituous backlinks!

So all in all, due to some kindliness on the half of Google’s pagerank algorithm, I got a lot of hits.  Eat that, SEOers!  To be honest  I don’t think they stayed for very long – it’s actually impossible to tell what they did once they got here, but it’s nice to know I exist outside of my social circles.

On an almost totally unrelated note, it’s rather intriguing how the whole process of managing a popular blog works.  My perusing of the blogging world, has told me that there are a few topics that are bound to make you the talk of the town – anything to do with religion or politics, especially Sarah Palin as of late, will give you a busy afternoon replying to comments (and probably offensive ones if you argue for religion).  I wouldn’t be surprised if that sentence along attracted a few inquisitive/argumentative/academic people.  What also piqued my interest was that there were blog posts out there that used (or abused really) all sorts of super popular tags to describe themselves, even though they had nothing to do with the topic.  Of course, the search engine pros at Google penalise acts like that, but I do wonder if the programmers who manage the internal search here at WordPress.com have learnt the same lesson.

I’ve also noticed that people are a lot more liberal with their links in their posts, again I assume to improve traffic through their blog.  So I’ve followed suit, if you haven’t already guessed.  Though here I am again with  pagerank, yadayadayada, but I think link abuse might also get punished by Google, so I’m loathe to do it too much.  And it would be a shame to spoil what is turning out to be such a good relationship.

So it’s been an interesting two weeks, in a geeky sort of way.  And I’m well up for continuing, if I can think of something decent to write rather than those ghastly, dreary, series I’ve got running.  Maybe I need to be more topical.  Its a bit old, but something about the Large Hadron Collider perhaps?

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~ by Dominic on 30 September, 2008.

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