Recently, another blogger, Laurie, nominated me for a Versatile Blogger Award. As I responded to the Sunshine Blogger Award recently, I will direct readers to that for my random facts and fellow blogger suggestions. Since writing that blog, I have come across a couple of history related blogs, Virginia Plantation and Map of Time, which are worth a view. For the content of this blog, I will post something that I drafted some time ago, about blogging statistics, which are believe are partially behind the blogging award concepts.
Twenty or so years ago, I recall a co-worker exclaiming that she had 22 messages on her answering machine on afternoon. To her this meant 22 people loved her enough to call and leave a message. This was in the days when answering machines were something the size of a tape recorder with a mini-cassette tape that you plugged your phone into. Yes, before cell phones, digital voice mail, e-mail, texting, instant messageing, Facebook, etc. Now there are blog statistics.
Twentey-two messages of love! I am happy when I arrive at work and the red light is not illuminated on my work phone: no disasters to attend to. I am happy when we have just one or two voice messages when return home… even better if they are just robbo-calls from the GOP or NRA: press 3 to delete. Maybe this is the difference between a hermit in the mountains and a dancer in NYC. Managing a blog, on the other hand, requires responding to “requests for moderation” and “someone Liked your post” e-mail notices. Managing a blog can lead you down the road of tracking which posts get more views, and which other internet site brought “traffic” to your blog.
Computers are essentially number machines. On, Off, and the billions of binary combinations bring us everything from text, to images, to innumerable calculations. Blogs contain two general types of statistics: those which anyone can see on the blog home page, and statistics which the blogger accesses through his or her password and account. Those numbers which are for public view are determined by the format of the blog as well as which “widgets” the blogger selects to desplay. As far as I know, WordPress generates the bloggers private statistics… but there is lot of stuff I have not tried to figure out yet.
The first number to check is the number of “subscribers”. On many blogs, I find this in the a side column, usually just above the sign up box. I have seen these range from a handfull to hundreds. These are folks who provide their e-mail address and avatar, if they have one. They will receive automatic notification of future posts as well as comments. This can be useful, if you have found a blog you really like. This can have some drawbacks if the post has lots of other followers and commenters… you get all those e-mails, one at a time.
A variation of this is when you make a comment on someone else’s blog and check the box to be notified of respones. While it is just for that post, not all future blogs, I did this a couple of times to posts which had been Freshly Pressed. Ack! I had dozens of e-mail notifications over the next few days until that post rans its course. Linda was not amused… “You have a bunch to WordPress e-mails to delete!”. Good time to open a new e-mail account and leave the old one for WordPress stuff.
A second statistic to check on is the Like at the end of the post, just before the Comments box. On some posts, you need to first click on the “Leave a Comment” line before this shows up. If someone wants to acknowledge the post but not comment, she or he can click on Like. Her or his avatar photo will join the other boxes of people who Liked the post. Now this can be useful for those who would otherwise just write “great post”, “loved it”, “super” or some other affirmations but no content. On the other hand, Like does not tell us bloggers what or why you liked something. Of course, none of the above statements do either.
If you are into blog shopping, those avatar pictures in the Like pile give you easy access to track those folks’ blogs. Just click on a picture, then the link (if provided), and his or her blog will pop up. Take a few reads and meet a few people. Being suspicious, as hermits are, I also question some times whether some people who Like my blogs actually found my style and content interesting, or they are looking for others to find them. Occasionally in back-checking a Like, I find that their posts have dozens of responses, “Thanks for Liking my post…”. Okay, so my post was one of dozen that they person clicked the Like button to that day. I have never been into big group parties either… “love to see you again… it’s been so long… what have you been up to…” small talk is not my style.
Another way to find what other blogs a writer follows is the Blogroll, usually on the side column. These are links that the bloggers has set up. Read through the names, and hover the cursor over the name for additional descriptive information. If you find something of interest click on the link. I limit my blogroll to links for personal blogs. I have come across some interesting blogs from writers, small farm and business owners, and B n’ B’s, but I prefer to avoid endorsing companies or products through this type of link.
Moving on, check out the number of comments. This will include readers who took the time to read the blog, think about the content, and write a note, as well as the blogger’s responses to them. As a fellow blogger wisely suggested, if someone takes the time to write to the blogger, he or she should be curtiseous and acknowledge the response with a follow up comment. Quiet honestly, some of the responses that I receive, I think are better thought out than the post which I wrote (thanks, Vicar). If you leave a comment, be sure to check back later for the blogger’s reply. If you read the blogs a few days ago but did not comment, come back to see what other people have added to the conversation.
A few other cool graphics, which I have seen on other people’s blogs, but do not know how to do my self, include calendars with highlighted dates on which he or she made posts, notices of how many views have come to that blog, maps of the world with “pins” from each location where people had accessed the blog, and way coolest, little flags from countries of people who were logged onto the blog at the same time. Of course, I might find some of these images intimidated also, such as someone who has 300 subscribers, 64,559 views, and dozens of othe people checking out their blog. Hmmm, did they really take time to contemplate my ruminations? or, is he looking for subscriber 301, view 64,560. Hermits.
Another series of on-screen statistics that bloggers might provide include the number of posts in different categories and under different tags. Each blogger decides which of these to include, though I notice fewer blogs leaving trails to previous posts. Blogging is somewhat present oriented with old stuff disappearing. Categories generally appear either in the header, letting you know what the main ideas are for that blog, or in the side column. If you like my theatre or concert reviews, click on the “Reviews” category to see my prior reviews. I you prefer gardening, click on “Farm Life”, etc. Fewer bloggers seem to list their tags these days, though I leave mine on the side column. Tags are the words of different sizes. Each size represents how frequently that I have written about that topic. You will notice that “culture” has lots of posts and “Blogging” only a few. Again, if any of those tags floats your boat, click on the tag to find what else I have written on this.
The internet and WordPress are constantly changing. By the time that I post this, the who screen might have changed formats! The numbers will probably be there somewhere.