I follow a few blogs and some that I follow such as Mr Money Mustache, I do so not just for the great free information they provide, but also for motivation I absorb. One of the reasons I started this blog was for motivation. I wanted to do some writing and I thought that creating a blog would provide me with motivation to continue.
A great feature of WordPress.com and I expect it is similar with other blogging tools and services is that you are provided with a series of stats showing visitor interaction with your site. These stats have really provided me with motivation. Before you get too concerned about privacy let me say that there is no personal data, I can’t even see IP addresses. So what do I see?
Views at a glance
This table shows the number of hits over a period. The default is hits per day as shown in this image. Obviously if the blog was even moderately successful the scale on the left would run much higher than merely six views.
Views by country
The inclusion of this information was a surprise to me. A map of the world shows the countries that hits originated from for today, yesterday or summaries for earlier periods.
Search engine terms
You may be a bit surprised that a blog owner can see the search terms that visitors have entered in a search engine to navigate to this site. Remember that I cannot see any details of the visitor and at most if this site has only one hit per day I can assume it was from the country listed in the views by country. Apparently some search engines do not reveal the term due to privacy reasons, so it is not always available.
What is great about this feature is that I can see what people are looking for and that can guide me on what topics it may be worthwhile on following up on.
This shows the top posts and how many views each have. Again, this one is useful as it shows what readers are interested in.
It’s hard to tell if someone came to a page from a search engine and then leaves after a quick glance at that page rather than actually reading it, after all I do that a lot when I’m surfing. The clicks shows what readers are clicking on once they are at the blog, so this can be used to indicate interest.
My own page views are not recorded – at least not if I’m logged in. I do a lot of clicking about checking things and with such a small number of page views I get that would drastically skew the stats.
There are a few other stats but they are not as interesting and perhaps there are others that I have not found yet.
There are other ways to gauge interest in a blog. One is the number of followers the blog has and there is a stat for that, but I don’t have any followers yet. The other way is comments. I’m not too concerned about getting lots of comments. At the moment I’m quite content just to see the occasional visitor.
WordPress has provided more information in their support page about stats.
Why I like it
You may be surprised at just how much excitement I get just by seeing that there has been a single page view. It’s often enough to make me feel that it has been worth writing that post even though it may have taken a few hours to write.
While the hits are few and followers nonexistent, the availability of stats is enough for me to recommend having a blog for anyone who enjoys writing or wants to improve their writing skills.
When I started researching blogs I read somewhere that no one will read it. That’s right, no one will read it. I misunderstood this to mean that there would be very few page views, but there would of course be a few people who at least landed on a page unintentionally as the result of a poorly written Google query. Well it has been almost four weeks since I started this blog and other than my wife who I asked for guidance, there has not been a single page view… on any page. In fact if you are reading this post and it’s not too long after the post date it is likely that you are the first visitor to the blog.
It makes me think that people are just not interested in piffle.
I guess one of the benefits of Facebook and other social media sites is that they attempt to not only find people that you are interested in but also actively market you to other people that you may know. The downside for me is that most of the people I know are not really interested in the things that I am and so in this case Facebook’s marketing is not well targeted. There are other reasons I chose to start a blog over using Facebook, the primary one that I prefer blogs but it looks like it is going to be much harder than I had expected.
So the challenge is set. I must do what I can to get a single page view, even it means expanding to include drivel, waffle, twaddle and poppycock.
Update: Woohoo! Just after four weeks this blog had it’s first hit. It came from Malaysia and the person was looking for Excel Tic Tac Toe. It has confirmed by belief that Excel is fun.
Welcome to the first post of my new blog. The internet is an amazing place with many great blogs that are available for free. I grew up during a time when the internet was not available to most people; in fact I didn’t know anyone that had any sort of online access. At that time the sort of information that is now freely available often came at a cost in the form of magazines and books. Sometimes I was lucky and found information that interested me at the local library. I thought it about time that I do my bit to add to this bucket of information.
This blog is a place for me to practice and improve my writing skills. I like to think that my High School English teacher would be proud that I since leaving school I have developed some skills in using English, or at least shown an interest and therefore her time was not completely wasted.
Why have I called it the Piffle Lab? Firstly what I put here are just my own observations and I make no claims about the value or soundness of any of it. In fact it could be just a lot of piffle. The other reason is that I couldn’t think of anything else that had not already been taken.
I wonder if all the content that is currently on the internet, including all the blogs, facebook pages and other social networking sites will remain in many years to come and be the primary source of freely available information about our generation. Some enthusiastic family historian of the future will discover titbits of information about us through what we have placed online and base their whole understanding about each of us on that. What a sobering thought.