Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Navel-gazing: My blog's traffic sources

If you're on my blog, there's a fair chance you are just looking for a good photo of a humuhumunukunukuapua'a. And you didn't even find the humuhumu photo I took myself, but instead the one that I poached off of someone else's website (sorry, whoever you are!) for my Intro to Hawaii series.

Yes, starting this past July, Blogger finally started showing us bloggers some statistics for our blogs, such as numbers of pageviews (total for the blog as well as top individual posts), traffic sources, and audience composition (including country, browser, and operating system). It was about time; I know some other blog platforms have offered stats for a while, and since comments and followers are not very good indicators for numbers of hits or visitors, I have on occasion wondered what my blog traffic is like. It's a bit of a shame, though, that it started only in July because I suspect that May-June may have been my blog's peak in exposure. Oh well, I could be completely wrong about that...I guess we'll never know, right?

Anyway, the thing that I have found most intriguing to look at in the stats is my blog's traffic sources--particularly the most popular search terms that lead to my blog. These search terms are clearly a large factor in determining my blog's most popular posts, and they are not what I might have expected. The following are the top searches that lead people to my little blog, in approximate order (I believe that the number counted for searches does not include image searches, so I can't offer a strict order of popularity):

First, a note: I mention in my post Google search results rankings. I know that search results vary depending at least on the searcher's location, and possibly other factors, so these are merely my own Google search result rankings; I can't speak for others.

Image search for humuhumunukunukuapua'a. As I mentioned above, people using this image search term find the photo that I poached off of someone else's website for my Intro to Hawaii wildlife post. It's an injustice that my copy of it has wound up higher on the search results than whoever posted the original (when I do a Google image search, it comes up 5th on the list). I don't know how this photo gained popularity, but I guess there are relatively few sites that actually have the full Hawaiian name of the fish written out.

Felicia Day. I can't imagine I'm anywhere near a top search result for her name, but somehow it comes up. People must click through a lot of Felicia Day site listings to find this blog. Image searches for Felicia Day also lead here, whether the searchers find the screen shot I took of her throwing a fireball in my Kinect post (it's a rather pleasing pose), or the photo I copied of Day with Crabcat Industries at Comic-Con on my post about Crabcat Industries. Speaking of which...

Crabcat Industries. This top search item actually makes sense to me, since there aren't that many sites--yet--that talk about Crabcat Industries, but there is rising interest in their awesome group. They've just launched their own website, at www.crabcatindustries.com.

Kinect RPG. Tons of people are excited about the Kinect, but gamers want to know what RPGs exist for the Kinect. Bad news: There aren't any signs of Kinect RPGs on the horizon. So the people searching for a Kinect RPG often find themselves out of luck on my blog with RPG in the title, on my post about the Kinect.

How To Train Your Dragon RPG. There is a HTTYD forum RPG, but not much in the way of anything money-making that would be advertised, or have multiple pages with lots of hits. Just enough people are lured to my post on HTTYD after searching for a HTTYD RPG that when I do a Google search for it, I'm somehow the 2nd result.

RPG called life. Are people actually searching for my blog? Or is it just people who think it's a catchy phrase to search for (another occasional search term is "life RPG")? I am pleased to find that when I do a Google search for my blog title (no quotes), my blog is the first result.

I also have some of the top (English-language) Google image search results for the name Berlin Zoo in combination with various animals (e.g. otter, tayra). So my blog gets a significant number of hits from people image searching with those terms, and finding my post on the Berlin Zoo.

These popular search terms mostly explain the posts on my blog that have received the most hits ("all time", i.e. since July), which are as follows:
Introduction to Hawai'i: Wildlife
Top 10 characters I want to be
I want a Kinect
How To Train Your Dragon
Crabcat Industries

The exception is the Top 10 characters post. Why does it rank so highly? Sure, it is one of the posts that I recommend as a "favorite" at the top of my blog, but there are 12 others there, none of which have nearly as many hits. Little in my popular traffic sources leads to this post (the only thing I've noticed is the occasional hit from a Google image search leading to the Sydney Bristow picture). Alas, the popularity of this post remains a mystery to me. Well, it is one of my favorites--very fun to write--so I guess I can't complain.

OK, that's all the navel-gazing for now. I realize this was possibly extremely uninteresting for anyone other than myself. Sorry about that. Thanks for reading, anyway!


Hezabelle said...

Hahah It's so cool to see the break down of your blog!

Eleni said...

Yeah, I thought it was fun to see. I wonder whether this post will play into the number of hits on the various popular posts it mentions...

Sebastian said...

Ah, the blog equivalent of jumping the shark!

I kid, I kid... kind of.

Back when I was 'into' the whole personal blog scene, every blogger would eventually do one of those "search phrases that lead to my blog" posts.

Yours is much more tasteful than most. They generally take the form of "omg, people are searching for {X embarrassing thing} and turning up at my blog! I better stop writing about that."

Ultimately though, they write about it more, because they want more hits...

Eleni said...

Ah, Seb, so you are still alive. That's good.

Humph. I don't think it's quite "jumping the shark." It's not like my blog as a whole has now taken a turn toward absurdity. It was one post on a personal subject :( I know what you're saying (it's rather narcissistic; I went with "navel-gazing"), but maybe you need a different idiom.

Yes, I recall at some point learning about your blog traffic numbers way back when...that's when I realized that Blogger was behind in the sense that it didn't offer us any such statistics.

Maybe I should end all my posts with "How to train your Felicia Day humuhumunukunukuapua'a".

Sebastian said...

I didn't think I'd ever done one of those posts!

I may have commented on a few odd search phrases, actually... hmm...

And yes, still very much alive :) Busy, but alive. I will write some kind of blog post soon, re: my trip to Copenhagen.

Eleni said...

Yeah, probably not an entire post, just a reference here or there to a search phrase, or the fact that a certain month saw a great increase in traffic, maybe. Eh, I don't remember.

Nice, I look forward to reading about Copenhagen (and seeing photos, I assume :)