May. 23, 2010


Yesterday was the first anniversary of this blog, which went up on May 22, 2009. As I’ve written here before, I doubt that the blog will generate significant book sales, which was why I started doing it, but I’ve come to enjoy blogging for its own sake and I’ve made a few new friends in the bargain. I may never get to that mythical thousand true fans, but if you’re a writer, you write — even if it’s not clear how many people are reading.

Anyway, here are a few random statistics about this blog’s first year. They are culled from SiteMeter, which is linked at the bottom of every page (click the green badge in the footer), and WordPress itself, the software the site runs on, which compiles a slightly different array of stats.

  • Total visits: 8,547. Total page views: 14,946. Those are infinitesimal numbers next to some of the bigger blogs out there, but they are much higher than I expected a year ago. (The SiteMeter badge in the footer of this page understates the visits count because I did not join SiteMeter until a couple of months after the blog launched.)
  • Most views in one day: 180. A spike like that usually means a post got picked up by some high-visibility blog or Twitterer.
  • Average views per day: 41.
  • Total posts: 150 (not including this one).
  • Most Popular post: 848 hits, for a post on the writing habits of Graham Greene. The popularity of this post points up the difficulty of winning fans to my books by blogging. Most people come to this blog after Googling something completely unrelated to me but that I happen to have written about, like Graham Greene. Most of these visitors don’t stick around to learn about my books. Some of them do, I suppose, but it is a vanishingly small number. So is it worth it? Damned if I know.
  • Least popular posts: 1 hit. Eight posts are tied for this honor. And I can’t even be sure that the one lonely hit isn’t me checking to see that the post looks all right. I don’t do much to publicize this blog. I link to significant new posts on Twitter and Facebook, but most of the smaller stuff I just put on the blog and never alert anyone. So most of the short posts slip under the radar, which is fine. Anyway, I will award the honor for Least Popular Post to this one, in which I announced I was taking a vacation and inexplicably required three long paragraphs to do it. It cops the prize because of this pathetic irony: a post announcing there will be nothing to read — and nobody bothered to read it. Oy. Blogging can be a kick in the groin.
  • Total comments: 259. The best part of blogging by far is hearing from readers.
  • Total cost: $0. Well, this isn’t quite true. I do pay to have the site hosted at Media Temple. But the site itself has cost me nothing. All the software and services I use are free. All the design, the Photoshopping, the coding, and of course all the writing is done by me. Of course, all that labor is only “free” if you assume my time has no value…

Last thing: the map below, also clipped from SiteMeter where you can see an updated interactive version anytime, shows the location of the last hundred visitors. In the last two days or so, this blog has had visitors from Queensland, Australia; Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and New Delhi; Israel, Ukraine, Spain, France, Holland, Belgium, plus several in England; and all over the U.S. Very cool.

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