Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Something odd, and a rainy day in the herb garden.

Something odd is happening with my blog stats.

When Blogger foisted stats on me, and everyone else, a year or so ago, after I had long and resolutely refused to have any thing to do with them, I had determined I was not going to be a stats whinger.  At that time, I was getting about a hundred hits a day, increasing a bit from time to time, like during Nablopomo, so it varied from a bit over three to a bit over three and a half thousand a month.  I've no idea, and only very limited interest, honestly, if this is good, bad or indifferent, but anyway.  Over the last few months, there has been a general decline to an all time low last month in May of about two and a half thousand.

Since a lot of people seem to have been bemoaning low stats of recent times, and knowing that people were reading on feed readers or deserting old-fashioned blogs like this one in any case, I just assumed this was how it was going to be.  Though comments were down a bit too, I know that plenty of old friends and new are still around, and that's the main thing, and I am aware I'm not quite as assiduous a blog visitor myself as I might be.  There were certain posts which continued to get more views than others, notably my brother's guest post on Cats, which persistently got twice as many as anything else - I even added a PS to that one asking where everyone was coming from, but with no result; surely people don't just feed the word 'Cats' into Google and read all of the nearly half a billion (yes, I've tried it...) results that come up? Other perennials are the post about how to tell sweet chestnuts from the inedible ones ( I like to think I might have prevented a few cases of indigestion there, so serving humanity in my own small way...), and the collage of the North Porch of Chartres complete with numbered key, which was rather Look-and-Learn-ish but I was quite proud of it.  Other occasional hits were the couple of posts, one of which was only in the a comments thread, wherein was provoked a discussion about Nutch, a now defunct and, I gather, fairly disgusting chocolate spread product of near mythical renown which I personally have never tasted, but the only information about which seems to be on this blog.  Anonymous readers on Google searches are sometimes kind enough to leave comments on this one.  I've always done quite well out of image searches.

I digress ( but what's new?).  Accepting my place in an evolutionary blind alley in internet terms, I regarded my dwindling blog figures philosophically.  Then, about a week ago, Box Elder's stats shot up from an average of perhaps 70 a day to well over 200, getting on for a threefold increase.  What's more, they've stayed there, and gone up some more.  All kinds of posts from the archives which I'd forgotten about have been looked up,   And not only this blog, but Out with Mol, which was lucky to get into double figures most days, particularly when I neglected it as I frequently did, started notching up fifty plus, and even Compasses/Questions, the ball of which has been sitting dead on the ground in my court for a month or more, has started looking quite perky on the visitors front.

(No, I'm not putting self-promoting links in, the stuff's on the sidebar somewhere...)

So what's going on?  Have I become famous and nobody's told me?  While I shall lap up any compliments anyone cares to leave to the effect that I thoroughly deserve this recognition and a book deal is surely round the corner, frankly it seems to me inexplicable (and I don't actually imagine stats of 200 odd a day warrant a book deal, in fact, it hasn't gone to my head that I'm that deluded...).  I have been posting frequently but frankly unremarkably.  I have rather felt of late, in fact, that I have been treating this blog rather like a sidelined spouse or parent, fobbing it off with  gifts of flowers and postcards from holidays but not really sharing anything very important with it.  Perhaps it's actually happier with that arrangement, of course...

(Which raises the question of what exactly is the persona of a blog, its writer or its readers, or some other entity created by the connection between the two?)

Blogger's stats recording is fairly rudimentary, but the traffic sources don't indicate anything special; referring sites are mostly those of regulars and friends as ever, and though the traffic is up from all of them it doesn't account for all of the rise.  Search keywords give no clues either, and the geographical audience is much as ever: USA, followed by the UK then France, and all the others in double figures only (come on you Aussies, let's be having yer!).  I don't get that many from India (probably accounted for by Anil and my cool new mate JP), the few from Malaysia are probably Hliza and friends, and none registered from China.  Those funny Ukrainian boys and girls who I'm not sure if they want to sell me something are still hanging around but they don't worry me.  Neiither followers nor commenters have increased significantly.

So where are they, you, coming from?  Has blogging become so old hat as to be now charmingly retro and undergoing a revival of interest?  Has anyone else noted similarly elevated levels of traffic?

Never mind, it's probably a flash in the pan. Whatever, it's having the positive effect that I'm thinking I ought to be lavishing a bit more attention on all my blogs, (I might even have something to say about kites and swallows soon...), and I've even gone so far as to edit one or two of the older posts that were being looked at a bit.

The downside is, I appear to have become what I vowed not to be, a complete stats bore.
~~~
Enough.  Here are some pictures of the herb garden, an assortment of containers on the terrace, in the long-awaited rainy weather.  Mostly the bronze fennel plant, which I love as a plant, though I don't use fennel much in cooking, and don't really care for the bulb vegetable at all.  Anise flavours seem to me a very French taste; we Brits like ginger, and vive la difference!  However, I may pluck a discreet few fronds for a potato salad with pickled herring tonight.

















22 comments:

Jean said...

Well, this is very interesting, Lucy, because exactly the same has happened to me! Stats up from c 100a day to c 250 on my main blog and from c 20 to c 100 on my micro-blog. I didn't know what to make of this - and now still less! Very interested to know if others on Blogger are having the same experience. I think it must be not us but the way Blogger is counting, alas...

Gorgeous photos.

Lucy said...

Ah, that would explain things. I shall now sink back into detached apathy!

zephyr said...

i suspect, as Jean does, that it's that Google/Blogger has decide to change how it tallies things.

Love the rainy photos! :^)

We are on the same wave length: i don't grow fennel, but i grow tarragon (which has that similar anise flavor) specifically for my favorite potato salad...and it's been on my mind for our supper. Bon appétit !

the polish chick said...

hm, i must fun off to check my stats now. my interest has been piqued.

pickled herring and potato salad? you're a woman after my own stomach!

the first photo made me think of christmas, but in a good way. lovely, lovely, lovely.

Lucy said...

Indeed, it is apparently a freak thing which is happening all over, maybe some weird spammy thing going on.  There's a discussion on a Blogger forum here.  A salutary lesson in stats related vanity; the moral is I must achieve the same rapprochement with my blog without the incentive.  It would appear that Blogger's own stats are completely unreliable anyway.  Funny how we believe these things without question...

Potato and pickled herring salad, however, is real and genuine.

Plutarch said...

Perhaps you shouuld try counting raindrops and making a study of their distribution in a spikey plant. Just to add another mystery.

Anil P said...

Lucy, your blog is among the bright spots in the blogosphere. I doubt if any of us (your readers) will complain if you lavish more attention on your blog. There's never something as too much attention if the place is much admired.

I saw much the same phenomenon on my stats as well. I'm surprised anyone reads my blog, so I can't say I was displeased with what I saw.

Many Social Media 'experts' have predicted the death of blogging, too many times of late!

In general I suppose Twitter has contributed to decreasing an already depleted attention span.

And it appears, from my own experience, that most readers are hard pressed to (or unable to) spend more than a minute or two on posts, just glancing over pictures.

Whatever has to happen will happen, and we must continue doing what we must do (or want to do).

Like they'd say back home - Do Your Dharma, and the Karma will take care of itself. Something I'm coming around to being well disposed to, if not out of choice than out of compulsion :-)

And I began by trying to avoid looking at stats, but then you know how curiosity is!

Rouchswalwe said...

Anil beat me to it, sweet Lucy! Maybe the stats counters should do away with numbers and just show glowing bars ... yours would definitely be bright! Now pickled herring ... that's something I'd be interested in. Mmm.

Catalyst said...

You and Box Elder certainly do increased attention. A book deal is surely just around the corner.

Oh, wait.

Did I just read that somewhere?

..Yours, for higher numbers.

Catalyst said...

Perhaps I should have included the word "deserve" in there between "do" and "increased." Shows what I get for being a smart ass!

rr said...

Now this has inspired me to be a parent bore. But really, the mere suggestion of pickled herring with potato with fennel leaves on top. I'm so sick and f-ing tired of catering for children with their "I don't like this" and "I hate that". Even though I've tried hard to diversify their palates. But they just wouldn't eat pickled herring. And I do love it so. When do I get my freedom back? and if that ever happens, will I be able to afford anything other than lentils? (which, to be fair, they do eat, being rather fond of dal with lots of ginger).

Sigh.

Only seven or so years to go.

Dave said...

If you want accurate stats, install Google Analytics code. (I have even graver doubts about the in-house stats at Typepad, BTW.)

Lucy said...

Anil, you are charm itself and I am so glad you are probably half my Indian audience! Your blog is well read and rightly appreciated, and I will emblazon 'Do your Dharma...' somewhere where I shall see it frequently.

Cat - same goes for you as my Arizona audience, and not to worry about the typos as it meant I got an extra comment.

Rouch - pickled herring must fulfill your nostalgie de pays on two counts I imagine. Thanks for your kind words!

rr - while away the time until they grow up by boiling your kids some potatoes, and give them some sausage or dairylea or sunny delight or whatever they'll accept with them. Then buy yourself a tub of rollmops, they are quite cheap really, and slice them up on your helping, add some crushed fennel seeds and mustard to the dressing if you don't have any leaves.

In fact I don't think I ate a pickled herring until I was pushing 30 then ate one at a wedding buffet and it was a Damascene moment. I didn't much care for soused things at all, and still have to work at enjoying gherkins, but have lately discovered the aigres-doux ones which are more doux and less aigres than the regular cornichons. Pickled onions and eggs are still no-go. Not that I've seen a pickled egg since I left the shores of Albion...

Lucy said...

Dave, you snuck in there. I heard about Google analytics while reading up on this issue, but I really don't want to be a stats junkie... I might do it though. Thanks for the tip.

Zhoen said...

Lies, damn lies, statistics.

marly youmans said...

Lucy,

I think they're somewhat reliable in that I had gone moribund and lazy for a while, and they definitely picked up as soon as I picked up. Recently I have hit 250-300 a lot, and I think that was because of "The House of Words" series. So it does seem to parallel what one does, at least for me.

But I do think there is a change because more people are adding some of the new Blogger gadgets, some of which appear to be quite helpful. I think the "top ten hits" gadget picks up extra page views, and so does that gadget you have where the blog list includes titles for the latest post and when they were written. Because that one takes a little time--it's not like you can just convert your blog roll with a click--that one seems to being added on slowly. But I tend to get more visitors from blogs that add that feature. I want to add it myself (as soon as I get time!)

Looking at my top two all-time most popular posts, I find that one makes total sense and the other is a complete mystery. One is a piece about what I learned from guest editing "qarrtsiluni." Very popular 'zine that has two main editors with active blogs. But the second is an interview I did with somebody who often left amusing comments, part of the "I Interview My Visitors" series. Why is that the second most popular? I'm not sure, even though Susanna is perfectly charming and funny.

earlybird said...

Stats are a mystery. But these pictures are lovely and fennel really is worth trying to like ! - lovely subtil flavour - particularly with fish and you must get lots of that in Brittany... Try slicing it very very fienly on a mandolin and then just flash fry it in the pan in a little olive oil and add lots of salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. (Cook straight after slicing or keep for a short while in water with the juice of a lemon in otherwise it will discolour). You can also eat it raw sliced finely like this in salads...

Crafty Green Poet said...

I love those photos, so beautiful!

My blog stats have increased dramtically over the last few weeks. Also a few months ago there was a huge spike in visitors to Bolts of Silk. I don't pay too much attention to stats though I find them fascinating!

Dick said...

As a seasoned and renowned stats whinger/bore I can only envy you your constituency. I average 68 a day with an unknown RSS roll (and thus far unknowable - how do I find out who's on my feed?) My only advice, Lucy, is steer clear of stats curiosity: it's an addiction!

marja-leena said...

Stats are a mystery to me, each counter comes up with different numbers. Generally though, the more often I post, the stats go up and the reverse.

Love your fennels with rain drops photos! And now I'd like to try growing it though I've not cooked with it!

Bee said...

You "bore" in a very entertaining way, Lucy, but I can't enlighten you in any way regarding stats. I haven't looked at mine in ages . . . and I doubt they are very interesting for someone who only manages to blog once or twice a month!

I wonder if they are connected to the weather?

JP said...

I like to think of my blog's stats as utterances by the Delphic oracle; portentuous, but unlikely to mean what they seem to, or indeed anything at all. I keep having spikes of readership from Denmark and an old, perfunctory post about a minor Thomas Mann is my most consistently read single post.

It is possible that after all the excitement over twitter and tumblr people are now once again including a healthy dose of old-school blogs in their online reading.