Staring at stats, & other random reflections

Well, I was hoping that sitting in front of a blank computer screen staring at a flashing cursor for an hour or so would trigger an exciting and interesting idea for a post, but sadly all I’ve actually done is play a lot of Solitaire.  Or, as a rather pedantic friend of mine insists, a lot of Patience, since solitaire is apparently any game you play on your own.  You may be surprised to hear that I have, so far, managed to avoid replying with a joke about wanking…..

Anyway, as the preceding paragraph will have made clear, my brain has turned into a kind of grey goo that seems to be trying to trickle out of my ears as I write this, so I’m afraid this is going to be a bit of a stop-gap post.  But I do mean what I say in it, honest.  I’m not just trying to curry favour.

I was quite surprised to find that I have – cue mildly impressive fanfare – had 2,000 visits to my blog.

According to my calculations, I reached that milestone on Saturday, probably quite late in the evening.  I’ve been hacking away at this blog since the 2nd March, so that makes it 12 weeks, pretty much to the day, to get to the 2000 mark.  I know some other bloggers rack up that many hits in a long weekend, but I have to say that I’m amazed, astonished, and pathetically grateful that so many people are interested in reading what I have to say.

I’m even more astonished, amazed, etc. that quite a few of you have taken the trouble to leave comments.  I’ve done my best to reply to them here and there, but even when I haven’t, you should take it as read that I’ve been really pleased to read them.  They’ve often been extremely useful, as in the case of my most recent post, where they’ve helped me work out that, no, I’m not turning floridly psychotic, but, yes, I probably should keep a check on my paranoiac tendencies (not to mention my anxiety, and my emetophobic leanings…..).  Even where they’ve just been a quick couple of words, the comments have helped to make the process of writing this blog less like, to quote beakie of Mental Nurse fame, ‘shouting down a black hole’, and more like a proper conversation.

But I’m also very pleased to have the readers who come and go quietly without leaving comments.  To be honest, I tend to be that kind of person when I visit other people’s blogs (partly because I’m too lazy to log in, and also because I’m anxious, in a possibly-slightly-paranoid way, about drawing too much attention to myself), so I entirely understand folk who do that.

I seem to be averaging about 140-ish hits a week, which is pretty respectable, and certainly enough that I ought to drop the “unread” part of my title (not that I’m not going to).  Given that the numbers of people who read each post as I put it up seems to stay reasonably constant (although they shoot up every time zarathustra is kind enough to link to me in Mental Nurse’s weekly roundup), I’m starting to get the feeling that I have a group of people I could perhaps call “my” readers.  I have to say, that’s a very nice feeling.

For those of you who are interested, my top three most popular posts since I started are:

1 – What depression is actually like

2 – Looking back

3 – Baby, did you forget to take your meds?

I’m pleased my description of what it’s like to be depressed is at the top of the list, as I think there’s still a danger that depression is seen as a trivial condition that people invent in order to scam money from the DWP.  I’m astonished that “Looking back” is in the top three, as it still seems like one of my duller posts to me – but I’m pleased if people are finding it worth reading.  I’m less surprised to see my post about meds high up on the list, as that’s a topic of quite strong interest, I think.

At the other end of the scale, my three least read posts (with the most unpopular coming last) are:

20 – That which we call a patient….

21 – A lousy night

22 – So this is me….

“So this is me” was my first post, where I introduced myself, so I’m not all that surprised to find it at the bottom, particularly as my “About” page duplicates most of the information, and that’s better read.  No. 21 was an attempt to describe the indescribable – when I posted it I didn’t think it was much cop, so I’m not that surprised to find everyone else agrees.  No. 20 isn’t much better read, but I’m a bit more defensive about that – I guess my pretentious wurblings about the OED aren’t as fascinating as I’d hoped.

I have some way to go in terms of my google profile.  This blog comes up fourth on a search for Aethelread, but that’s not really helpful either for me or the people googling. It’s not the way I’d look for a blog on depression, and if I was looking for info on an ancient king of England I wouldn’t be all that interested in a blog about depression.  Searching for more appropriate terms like “depression blog” I don’t make it anywhere near the top.  In fact, even I gave up looking for myself after I hadn’t appeared on the first 20 pages of links.

I guess I’ll need to have a think about how I might bump up my profile, although, to be honest, I’m not all that worried about raw numbers – I’d much rather have a smallish readership that is interested in what I already write than distort what I want to write in a (probably unsuccessful) attempt to attract and maintain a bigger audience.  (By the way, that’s not supposed to be a criticism of people who pick up more readers than me – they get more readers because what they say is more interesting to more people.  Or, to put it another way, they write better blogs.)

That said, a fair few people have found me via google.  Some of the searches seem a little random – “too much saliva” initially seemed fairly off-topic, but I had mentioned it in passing in a post, so it wasn’t absolutely inappropriate.  Oh, and I also hope that the person who found their way here by searching for “tanya byron extreme sex” wasn’t too disappointed by the lack of graphic photos or embedded video in the relevant post….

Most of my traffic comes in the form of people who seem to arrive directly at my posts rather than via a link from elsewhere, but I do pick up a lot of readers via links from other blogs (which is the way blogging is supposed to work, after all).  Mental Nurse, Mental Patient, and Seratonin seem to send the most people over, but of course I’m grateful to anyone who likes this blog enough to recommend it to others.  Quite a few of my readers seem to move on elsewhere via the links from this blog – I’m pleased if the way I’ve organised my blogroll isn’t having too great an effect on the number of people who are finding their way to the blogs I enjoy reading.

And so, I think I’ll bring this entry to a rather abrupt close.  Sorry this has been a bit of a “nothing” post, but I guess it’s given me a chance to think a bit about this blog, rather than just splurging it out as I normally do.  I’ve actually started wondering whether some kind of post about why I blog, and what I think I might manage to achieve by blogging, would be more interesting than this one, but I think I’ll let things stand for now.  Maybe I’ll put the other one up when I’ve had more of a chance to think about it.  I guess you could think of that as a promise (or a threat), but I’ve learned my lesson before about promising posts I can’t deliver, so you’d probably better not hold your breaths….

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9 Responses to Staring at stats, & other random reflections

  1. cb says:

    I think it’s always very interesting to look at statistics and well done on 2000! Least read posts are funny because people don’t know if they are interesting or not until they have actually clicked on them and read them – I think it’s a bit about titles as well!
    One of the things that I’ve found interesting is the people that come via google and some of the strange searches that have found there way – but I’m getting off topic now. So just, well done :)

  2. I think your blog is pretty good.

  3. Mandy says:

    I don’t always post, but I come here once a week for a read.

    I think your blog is pretty good too. I think there are some stonkin’ postings going on from the front line which provides some balance against the durge of politically correct or propagana heavy stuff coming from the media.

    Game on Aethelread

  4. aethelreadtheunread says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for the comments.

    You’re right, of course, cb, about the titles needing to attract folk in, but most of the ways people might browse this site they get the chance to read the first few paragraphs of a post before they actually click to read it. If they’re not clicking through then that’s maybe a reasonably good indication they’re not all that interested in what the post’s about. Or maybe i just write really dull opening paragraphs…..

    Mandy & DeeDee – thanks for the kind words. :o)

  5. la says:

    >>One of the things that I’ve found interesting is the people that come via google and some of the strange searches that have found there way

    I’m the same. It breaks my heart to think of all the disappointed perverts out there.

  6. Suzy says:

    Hmm… noone found my blog through perv-like searches but it has been found by people looking for Jacqueline Wilson books and sheep goddesses. It’s a shame. I’d like more interesting search terms… be happy with what you have, child! Anyway, I think I linked here, but I think I made it private. So I’ll have a look for that, and de-private it. Ta-rah!

    Su x

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  8. Chouette says:

    I get quite a few over from here, though like you the most seem to come from Mental Patient About Town.

    I can’t work out whether it’s you or Suzy who come second, as so many come from individual blog posts and hence so up separately… is there any way of showing that, or do I have to add up all the individual referals.

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