On Writing: Blogging

One of the surprisingly interesting things about maintaining a blog are the insights you get into what all of those “anonymous” people on the Internet are doing. Blogger, for example, gives you some basic statistics on who’s viewing your blog: what country they’re in, what language they speak, and what browser and operating system they’re using. The data that’s available from Google Analytics – which I’ve just signed up for – is even more detailed; you can see, for example, not just the countries where your readers reside, but down to the very cities in which they live. On top of that, you can apparently get stats like how long someone spends on a page, how many pages they view per visit, and so on. It’s a bit nosy, really. But somehow I doubt that anyone in South Korea will care if I know the name of their hometown. In any case, I’m looking forward to getting more information on who my readers are and how they found me.

I might not have bothered except that in the last few months, the spammers also seem to have found me. Every time I post, I get a regular explosion of phony hits from places like filmhill.com, blogsrating.pw, and so on. I guess the idea is that you’re supposed to be so curious as to where the hits are coming from that you click on the link and then see the ad for whatever it is they’re selling. But it’s annoying even when the source is that obvious. Google Analytics is supposed to filter that out, so I’m hopeful that, going forward, I’ll be able to get statistics on page views and referral sources and such without including the garbage.

Now legitimate traffic sourcing, I think, would make for a fascinating sociological study. For example, some people have found my post on incest in The Bible by searching for “brother-sister incest.” Somehow I doubt they went looking for that out of cultural curiosity. Another was looking online for “short stories about squirrels scurrying.” (I’m the fifth hit on Yahoo for that search. But only if you include the “scurrying.”) And, of course, my personal favorite: the frequent people searching for “Bible spandex.” Who ever would have guessed that there was so much interest in that particular subject? It would almost be worth putting up a phony blog containing keywords of particular interest just to see how the stats develop. I would imagine that the results would be both amusing and horrifying. Isn’t the modern age wonderful?

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