I began this blog in the May of 2005. For most of the time since then I actively avoided checking my blog stats. Once or twice I did manage to accidentally click my way to that information, but I promptly forgot how to repeat it. I didn't want to know how many people were visiting it, much less which articles were the most popular. At my most optimistic it was because I didn't want to settle and prefer writing posts on only the most popular subjects and topics. This blog has always been meant to be free form, to be whatever I need it to be, a place to think more about what I've read and seen and share some pictures and stories. At my most pessimistic it was to avoid recognizing that no one beside a few bored members of my family and a couple of friends ever visited it. I've never expected the blog to be popular, but it would be nice if other people thought my thoughts were interesting.
A month or two ago, though, Google made a major upgrade to the Blogger system. If you use Gmail, you have some idea of what it looks like, much more open and with easier to access and more intuitive buttons. Personally, I love it, but the up-to-the-moment accurate count of site hits is now right on the welcome screen. No way to avoid it anymore. Now it's only a click away to see which countries most of my audience is from (almost entirely American with a few from Canada, Germany and Russia) and what sites (Middle of the Pack and Pete Magete Blog) and searches ("intelligent movies," "harry potter paraphernalia," and "skateboarders") refer them to my blog.
What really fascinates me though are my most popular posts. Three of the all-time most popular top ten posts ("Harry Potter paraphernalia (mostly of interest to fellow Gonzaga students," "Posting to 'Spice of Life,'" and "Blogger vs. LiveJournal (a fight for the aeon!)") I have to assume are the result of bots. These three account for almost all of the comments this blog has ever received, and they are all spam. The most popular all time, "Intelligent movies" with 468 hits, and sixth most popular, "Skateboarders at Under The Freeway Skatepark" with 98 hits, I guess are fortunate accidents due to common search strings.
What about the remaining five most popular? I'll give you the post titles and see if you can spot the similarities: "Considering Meja Mwangi's 'The Cockroach Dance,'" "Considering 'An Anthology of East African Short Stories,'" "Considering Ngugi wa Thiong'o's 'Petals of Blood,'" "A Year (or Two) in Kenya: Cafe Guava," and "'An Africa For The New Millennium.'"
The answer is obvious. If wanted this to be a popular blog, I would have to return to Africa and read only its novels. "Popular" is a subjective term here as the the range in hits for these posts is between 107 and 43, but it would be something from which to build a small audience, maybe even large enough to make some money through AdSense. Hits on posts made in the past few months and that haven't had the time to build comparable numbers, bear this information out. Posts on Africa, foreign authors and progress on my own novel have easily been the most popular.
The data isn't the most accurate, counts were only kept beginning in November 2009, ignoring the blog's first four years, and even then the data is spotty as there are posts with comments but without hits, but it is fascinating, for me at least, to consider what I do have.
3 years ago