Thursday, December 29, 2011

Looking backward

This very post is One Finger Typing's two-hundreth since I started the blog in February 2010.

No, a 200th post is not nearly so dramatic as putting a man on the moon, perhaps not even as dramatic as baking a souffle that doesn't fall. But. Let's keep it in context, shall we? This is a blog, not NASA, and not Le Cordon Bleu. It's also the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, which gives one license to turn to matters that are ... less than earthshattering.

Though you can probably peg it short of earthshattering, it's hard to gauge a blog's impact. Who's reading? How carefully? With what result? Bottom line, does anybody really care? For better or worse, the answers to these questions are often a mystery.

Here's what I can tell you: some posts on One Finger Typing get a lot more hits than others. Blogger stats, Google Analytics, Feedburner, and Google Webmaster Tools all point in roughly the same direction on this question (some more directly than others) ... and who am I to question four opaque tools, whose data sources appear to overlap, and that are run by the same disinterested party? Disinterested in my particular blog, I mean.

Coming in at #1, says the most informative of my unimpeachable sources, is Drafting vs. Editing, posted on 18 Nov 2010, a meditation on how a writer (this one) approaches drafting new material as opposed to editing work-in-progress.

You wouldn't think a post like this would attract a lot of attention. I mean, I'm not Stephen King, or a ghost writer for Strunk & White. So what gives? Maybe it's the image included in the post one of Michelangelo's "Prisoners" from the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence. In fact, when I look at search terms in Google Analytics, variants of searches for Michelangelo's sculptures, unfinished sculptures, and prisoners account for some of this blog's highest positions in Google Search results. How many of those click-through to read my work (or see images shamelessly appropriated in my post)? More than a few, apparently. On average, visitors spend enough time on the page to suggest most are reading the post, and the bounce rate is respectably low. Hmmmmmm....

Shakespeare, power, theme in literature also finishes in the top-five. There are a lot of people searching for Shakespeare out there on the intertubes, and sometimes they find me. Why is that? When I saw this post's recently-read rate spike as the semester came to a close at the university where I work, the lightbulb clicked. Readers spend more time on this page than on Drafting vs. Editing, and the bounce rate is higher. That could suggest readers on a focused mission. Students. Term papers. Cut and paste. And a content source who doesn't have the brains to charge for his literary musings!

O brave new world...

Here's the thing, though. Between impossible-to-gauge impact and vagaries of page-hit trackers, I'm less inclined to dwell on statistical analysis and wacko theories to explain the numbers; and more interested in reflecting back on a couple of hundred essays that, in better moods, strike me as decently written and, for the most part, better considered than your average Tweet.

(Is that an oxymoron? To call a Tweet well-considered? I suppose if brevity is the soul of wit ....... but, then, Polonius wasn't exactly deep.)

So never mind the numbers, here are a few posts from this blog's first two hundred that make some of my 'best of' lists:

If you're a regular reader: thanks for your time and attention. And please feel free to leave more comments. Lots more comments!

If you're just stopping by: welcome, and I hope you enjoy some of the posts linked above. And do leave a comment ...

If you're a search engine bot, cut me a break, okay?


  1. Steve -
    Can you track returning readers? You're a blogging bakery. Some people come in every morning for their donut and coffee, others are traveling through but intrigued by the sign on the door.
    My favorite is the one with the pictures from your walk around your block. I know, I know, not high concept but just really nice. Lindy

  2. My favorite is the one where Steve posted pictures of himself running naked through San Francisco. Gutsy.

  3. @Lindy -- It's possible to track unique visitors vs. visits, which gives some clue about how many folks are regulars. I have a pretty high percentage of unique visitors, which probably reflects the eclectic focus (foci?) of One Finger Typing.

    @SteveL -- I missed that one, must have been really really really drunk.

  4. Great use of those intimidating analytic tools. And congrats on hitting #200.

    My favorites are any that have links to my blog in them, naturally! :)