Monday, April 25, 2011

count me in


I have always been fascinated with them.  I still remember how excited I was in the third grade when I discovered division and multiplication were the yin and yang of each other.  Same functions in drag.

There was even a time when I thought of answering the siren call of mathematics.  Instead, I responded to the kazoo of law and politics.

But numbers still interest me.  Like most bloggers.  Well, special numbers.

Earlier this week I stumbled across a tab that lets me see the top "views" for each page of my blog -- broken down by "now," "day," "week," "month," and my favorite: "all time."

That last one had great promise.  It sounded as if I could see anything from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21.

I was wrong.  According to the application, "all time" meant from May 2010 until now.  Hardly "world without end."  But the results were still interesting -- to me.

I have only a vague notion what constitutes a "view."  Merely pulling the page up seems to qualify -- whether or not it is read.

Here are the top five.

Number one on the list with the most views (in fact, more views than the next nine added together) is float like a butterfly, sting like a caterpillar.

It is an odd piece to be number one.  It starts as a tale about Jennifer Rose's encounter with a stinging asp caterpillar and metamorphosizes into a nostalgic saunter through my childhood.  If that was not mundane enough, the post is almost three years old.  Almost a year before I moved to Mexico.

But, I think I know why it has so many views.  It shows up in Google each time someone searches for "stinging asp."  For some reason, that is a rather common search term.  Perhaps, there is a big Cleopatra wannabe lobby out there.

And, of course, I get fallout from my obvious Cassius Clay ripoff.

The position of the second (bandera de méxico) is as easy to understand.  My little history lesson on the evolution of the Mexican flag shows up whenever vexillologists (and their groupies) conduct their searches.

Ironically, I also wrote that piece in Oregon, as I did number three (tears on the sand) -- a rundown of the bumpy road of purchasing real property on Mexico's coast, using the controversy surrounding Tenacatita as an example.

I suspect most of the hits came from people who were caught up in the emotions of the property changing hands.

Looking at the first three posts on the list made me wonder if only old posts have high hits.  It didn't make sense.  After all, the "all time" category is really less than a full year.  And posts, by their very nature, are ephemeral.

But those three posts seem to be the exceptions that prove the rule.  Without their unusual search terms, their numbers would not be remarkable. 

The next seven posts were all written this year.  Including the last two of the top five.

I wrote number four (at a snail's pace) earlier this month.  And I will confess I did the same thing television producers do during sweeps weeks.  I spiked the results.

The posts asked readers to assist me in identifying a large black bird who had become a regular visitor at my inlet.  (The answer was snail kite.)

But I did not stick with my regular readers.  I put a link to the post on the Melaque message board -- and netted a few new readers.  Or, at least, new viewers.

Number five is the only post from my Mexico trip series that made it onto the top five list (searching for pátzcuaro).  That surprised me due to the number of comments the series engendered.  And why the
Pátzcuaro piece?  I have no idea.  Maybe the Felipe Zapata Fan Club stirred up some local interest.

The list made me wonder.  How many of my fellow bloggers have looked at their top view lists?  Do they make sense?

Want to share?


NW said...

There you go adding a conspiracy element to the comment box. Now I feel like just another shopper being counted at the turnstile, or RFID tag..

Steve Cotton said...

The difference is that each reader is like a dinner partner to me -- full of fascinating tales to be shared over prime rib.

ANM said...

"It is hard to say all things are well/when the worst is about to happen./It is fatal to woo yourself/no matter how graceful the posture."

T. Roethke

ANM said...

To the contrary, NW. You're not just any shopper. You are the Phantom Shopper. ANM

Steve Cotton said...

The only successful woo is the self-woo.

Steve Cotton said...

Isn't it strange how people gravitate to the things they find a bit scary?

Marc said...

Steve, it is interesting how often we are thinking along similar lines. For a while now, I have been analyzing my stats, noticing where my readership comes from, and wondering why certain posts generate so much interest.

I have done year-end posts in which I review my favorites of the past year, but have never thought of doing what you just did -- review the readers' favorites. I shall answer the call one day soon. It's' too interesting to pass up.

Steve Cotton said...

well, of course, the five are not necessarily anyone's favorites. Merely the posts that have been opened more than others. Blogs are a bit like blind dating. You never know what you will get until you open the door. and I always thought my post "naked youth" would be up there near the top -- which was the whole thinking behind the title.

lauriematherne said...

The dashboard of blogger has a new stats thingie. It only started in 2010. My top key words are Santa Lucia and banana soda. Go figure on the second one. And my top referring site for a long time has been....Steve In Mexico. Thanks, Steve.

Steve Cotton said...

The reason is obvious. My readers love your blog.

sparks said...

I don't know if Steve listed the site to check your STATS .... but as a Blogger with multiple sites I don't have a clue. I can check my real website stats but it doesn't mean much.

What matters is comments and Google Ad income (for me). The verification that I exist in this world is either thru like interests or money passing hands ... or non-Internet related relationships

Steve Cotton said...

I agree. I am far more interested in readers' comments than I am with the raw numbers.

LeslieLimon said...

According to Blogger's stats, my most read post is "Two Fun Ways to Improve your Spanish". It only received two comments, which I'm sure are SPAM.

And as is the case with our friend Laurie in Honduras, you are my number one referring site. Mil gracias to you! :)

Steve Cotton said...

Glad to be the conduit for your good words.