Geography #blogwanking, March 2015 edition

French Guiana!  French Guiana!  French Guiana!

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I have finally filled in a continent other than North America and Australia, as French Guiana shows up today and gives me the last little bit I’m missing.  Kosovo, at this point, has got to just not show up on WordPress’ scanners at all, because it remains the stubborn hole in Europe, and the -stans are screwing Asia all up since I’ve decided North Korea doesn’t count.

But South America!  Done!  Woohoo!

BY REQUEST: Geography blogwanking


Haven’t posted this map in a while either.  There aren’t really any surprises on it, I don’t think, other than the continued refusal of anyone from Kosovo at all ever to come visit my blog.  I swear, guys, I’ve been chasing this one: I have Kosovo as a search term in my Reader and I Like every single post that is tagged “Kosovo” and not one single person from Kosovo has come back to my blog from Kosovo to read my blog in Kosovo.


Also, Svalbard island, but I’m less annoyed by that because I know no one but polar bears actually lives there.

Most of the rest of the places I haven’t had at least one hit from are either third world countries, theocratic dictatorships, or former Soviet bloc countries with -stan in their names, and frequently they’re more than one of those at the same time.  Oh, and Cuba, which doesn’t quite fit into any of those categories but also doesn’t surprise me too much.

But seriously, Kosovo.  You’re in Europe.  There’s no excuse.  Come say hi.

On a year at WordPress

I started blogging in… 2004, I think, when a grad school friend of mine suggested that a bunch of us start sites at Xanga.  That blog lasted five years of mostly-daily publishing through the first three or four years and then a slow decline over the last year.  A year and a half or so ago I got dragged back into a new Xanga site at the suggestion of a friend I’d met through the first blog, and then Xanga exploded and I moved operations over here.

In six or so years of blogging at Xanga, I got around a hundred and twenty thousand hits.  Here’s the traffic from my first year at WordPress:

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…so I’m at half the traffic of six years of blogging at another site, in a year.  Traffic’s dropped way off from wintertime but that’s because I’ve invested less time into babysitting the site; it’s starting to climb back up again lately and I’m fine with that.  All said, nearly sixty-five thousand hits in a year is not something that I feel like complaining about.  It’s awesome.

What?  You want more nerd stuff?  Okay:

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I am down to mostly third-world countries, Islamist theocracies, and Communist strongholds as far as countries that I haven’t seen traffic from yet.  And Kosovo.  Seriously, Kosovo, what the hell is your deal, what did I do to you?  I’ve had so much traffic from the rest of Europe that I’m starting to wonder if WordPress thinks Kosovo is a country just for this map but actually interprets traffic from there as being from someplace else.  And somebody hitting me up from Svalbard island would be nice, but I think there are only seeds and ice there and I don’t think seeds and ice use the Internet.

One more, while I’m sharing numbers:

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That followers number staggers me, even as I’m convinced that it doesn’t mean much– I had one random couple of days a few months ago where I inexplicably got almost a thousand page views in a day, but there are nowhere near three thousand people coming here even on a monthly basis, so I suspect the majority of those followers are bots or fly-bys.  Still, though, when I look at most of the other blogs I read, three thousand seems like a lot for people who aren’t otherwise celebrities or well-known, and I’m certainly not that.

So, yeah.  I’ve invested a lot of time and effort in this place over the last year but I think it’s been worth it and it’s been a lot of fun.  We’ll see how the next year goes.  Hopefully Kosovo will show up so I can start shooting for Liechtenstein and Vatican City.  🙂

Thanks for reading!

(Actually, let’s not make that a three-word thing:  Seriously.  Thanks for reading.  Y’all are awesome.  I mean it.)

Saturday blogwanking and math nerdery

Screen Shot 2014-03-22 at 11.44.09 AMWARNING: In case it wasn’t obvious from the headline, this post is going to be mostly inside baseball and nonsense.  I know there are a few people who will still read it because you’ve posted similar things lately, but oh who am I kidding EVERYONE READ MY NERDY BLOG MATH POST RIGHT NOW.


I’ve cut back pretty substantially on care and feeding of the blog for the last week or two, and even more so since Tuesday when my wife had her foot surgery and I became responsible for All the Things around the house.  (Note: Not complaining.  I’m about to leave her one-legged and alone with the boy for four days while I ponce off to DC for a while.  Merely stating facts.)  A couple of my more regular blogbuddies have posted recently about traffic trends and other things like that on their sites and it got me interested in pulling together something similar for mine.

So.  Some facts:

  • The blog was born on June 4th of last year.  I’ve been blogging since 2004 with varying degrees of regularity but was mostly living over at Xanga (pours out liquor) before moving over here.
  • I currently have approximately(*) 2,364 Followers.
  • The single best day for traffic had either 725 or 708 page views .(**)
  • Until February, which only missed the mark by less than 100 page views, every month has had more traffic than the month before it.  This month will not reach February’s traffic either; I’ll get to why in a bit.
  • Excluding the last couple of weeks, an average day generally reaches around 160 unique visitors and around 450 page views.   Over 500 is not uncommon; I’ve broken 600 three or four times, and 700 only the once.
  • March and February, my two best months, were just short of thirteen thousand page views and around 3200 unique visitors.
  • This will be my 452nd post.  READ THEM ALL, RIGHT NOW.

Until recently, especially since I’ve gotten so busy that just finding time to put up a post has been difficult, I was averaging two or three posts a day (one of which, usually, would be a picture) and was also trying to find some time each day to go look through keywords and read other blogs.  I tend to spread a lot of Likes around; they absolutely help in driving traffic to my website and plus it gives me a chance to find other good bloggers, which is fun.  My theory is that the Likes are what is responsible for a lot of the traffic and certainly the (to me, at least) large number of followers.  Lately I’ve not been posting as much and generally when I have it’s been later in the evening, and so I’ve not gotten nearly as much traffic.  The floor seems to be around 130-140 page views for any day when I actually post; it’s very rarely lower than that.  I seem to have a core readership right now of around eighty people who are going to visit the site every single day no matter what; that said, I don’t think looking at blogs through the site reader functionality on WordPress actually counts as a hit, so it may actually be more than that.

Interesting fact: while pure views and visitors are down, attention to individual posts doesn’t seem to have wavered– I’m still getting around 25 Likes and a handful of comments for everything I post regardless of overall traffic, which tells me that there really are a group of regulars around here.  (Love ya!)

What seems to work:

  • Post every day.  The “sweet spots” for a new post generating a lot of traffic seem to be around noon, around 3 PM, and around 7 at night.  Sometimes early-morning posts will catch a lot of attention too but that seems to be more dependent on the day of the week.
  • Read and comment on other blogs.  LOTS of people seem to like to click through on their Likes to see who left them.  I don’t generally do that unless one of those tiny icons catches my eye but lots of folks do.
  • Occasionally find an excuse to leave a blog link on other high-traffic websites.  I found a reason to link to a post I did as comment #6 on one of John Scalzi’s posts and it brought me hundreds of page views. I try not to do this too often (I figure if he notices, that’s probably bad) but  it works.
  • A wee bit of luck doesn’t hurt.
  • Practically the only reason I still have a Facebook account (and I still haven’t figured out what to do with Luther Siler’s, which you can Like here if you want) is because several of my RL friends use it to click through to blog posts.  I get generally 10-15 clickthroughs a day.  That said, I’m also fairly certain that some of my friends have blocked me (note: I don’t mind) because of the fact that I post almost nothing but links to my blog posts now.

What doesn’t seem to matter:

  • Twitter.  I’ve had three or four retweets of blog links by Twitter accounts with ten thousand or more followers; once by someone with over twenty.  I’ve never had more than five hits from Twitter in a single day.  No one clicks on links on Twitter.  That said, I still like it for other reasons, but it’s not driving meaningful traffic to the blog that I can see.

Anyway.  Does any of that count as interesting or useful?  I hope so.

(*) Why “approximately”?  Because WordPress doesn’t seem to know how to count.  I’m curious to see if other people have noticed this phenomenon– I will get six or seven notifications in a row that someone has followed my blog and that they’re my 2012th follower, or my 2013th, or my 2011th, and then all the sudden a few days later it’ll spend a day or two telling me that people are number 2035 or 2036 or 2037, with no numbers in between.  I know I don’t get notified about every follower but it’s weird that it can’t keep the count straight.  Also odd: nothing I’ve ever done has caused the number to go down.  I feel like at some point someone has to have unsubscribed, right?  Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon?

(**) I swear it was 725 for a month and then it inexplicably dropped to 708.  No idea what happened.

Geography blogwanking again

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 2.43.39 PMGuys, I am wasting my several hours of relative solitude and time-to-get-work-done at OtherJob in an epic fashion today; the most active I’ve gotten has been to go outside and hack at the ice in the parking lot, since I managed to wipe out on the way in the door (I’m fine) and now I have a vendetta against it.  But holy hell there is just nothing else happening around here right now.  So let’s give you some information you don’t care about at all, and provide everyone with an update on how my ongoing project to have every country on Earth view my blog is going.  It’s a lot better than last time!  But there are still some holdouts and dangit world get off your duffs and come look at my blog.

North America:  Done, technically, or at least the parts that I recognize as “North” America as opposed to “Central” America.  I’m not sure exactly where the continental divide is; I think technically all of Central America belongs to North America?  This is not impressive, though, because there are only three countries in what I’m calling North America and I live in one of them.

Central America:  Still missing: El Salvador and Nicaragua.  Plus Cuba and probably some tiny islands.  Belize showed up yesterday.  I just got my first hit from Puerto Rico a couple of days ago, too, which was startling; I’d have figured they’d have shown up earlier.  This makes me wonder how many of the fifty states I’ve actually gotten traffic from but I don’t know of a way to find that information.  I figure of the three Cuba is probably the biggest longshot, although I don’t actually know if they heavily filter the Internet down there the way other Communist nations do.

South America:  Missing three: Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.  I can’t find the link right now but I had an entertaining conversation a couple of weeks ago with a guy who was also chasing hits from French Guiana for forever to the point where his blog was showing up in Google searches for the country.  This makes me think that that will probably be the last of the three, but as I know nothing about any of them other than Jim Jones’ people killed themselves in Guyana, I don’t have a good idea about what’ll be last.

Australia:  Done!  Also New Zealand and most of the nearby island nations, not counting most of the super-duper teeny-tiny ones.

Europe:  Mostly done.  Liechtenstein and Vatican City haven’t shown up, but they probably shouldn’t count, and it turns out that WordPress lands on the Kosovars’ side on whether Kosovo is part of Serbia or not.  I actually thought Europe was done until I figured that out.  I was missing Albania for a long time but I finally got a spate of hits from them a couple of weeks ago.  Pretty much once I get a hit from Kosovo I’m gonna call Europe done.

Middle East:  Missing Yemen, Syria, and Iran.  Yemen seems like it ought to show up sooner or later, particularly given the number of hits I get from neighboring countries; I suspect the ongoing civil war in Syria and totalitarian government in Iran will keep me from getting traffic from there for a while, as those folks seem to have other things to worry about other than visiting my blog.

Africa:  Currently a mess, which is unsurprising.  Hard to say which country will be last; I’d have thought Ethiopia but I’ve already gotten half-a-dozen hits from there.  Somalia, maybe?  South Sudan?  Who knows.

Asia:  Mostly done; missing some of the breakaway Soviet republics (Tajikistan; Turkmenistan, a couple of others) as well as Mongolia, Nepal, and North Korea.  Obviously North Korea is on the “probably never” list.  I was gratified to see a hit from China about a month ago, as I’d figured I’d need to write them off forever.

Miscellaneous:  The Svalbard Islands, which are those islands east of Greenland and north of Russia.  Not nearly as big as they look due to the way the map works and technically part of Norway.  That said, searching for posts tagged “Svalbard” produces a surprising number of posts so I figure I’ll catch them sooner or later.

Please tell me I’m not the only person who cares about this.  Anybody else out there have a geographic white elephant they want to share?