March 31, 2008

I love stats

Conventional wisdom says that links are the currency of the blogosphere.  Highly regarded sites such as the Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem, for example, rank blogs according to metrics such as page visits and inbound links. (I presently rank #10,826 which, considering there are millions of blogs out there, is in my opinion fairly respectable.)

I don't live by my stats - what I say or do on the blog depends on little more than what's on my mind that motivates me sufficiently to broadcast it to the world.  But I do like to know who is visiting, where they are coming from, and what draws them to the Curmudgeon, and thanks to tools like Sitemeter and Google Analytics, I can do that.

I've noticed that in recent months, the kinds of search engine "hits" that have brought people to this blog have largely stabilized. I wonder whether an extended hiatus from blogging has somehow cut down on some of the oddball searches I used to get? Anyway, it gives me an opportunity to take a look at the biggest reasons people visit here, as well as the pages they visit most (apart from the root page). So, just for fun, here are the top five:

  1. are matt stone and trey parker gay: Variations on this theme - I probably get half a dozen such searches daily - bring people to this page. In fact, I'm inexplicably the number one hit on the subject. Since I have made exactly two posts about Stone and Parker out of nearly 1,000 since 2003, the interest in this subject is disproportional to its relative importance to the blog overall. Moreover, the two posts were about South Park's treatment of Scientology.  Reading the excerpt of the page that Google provides, I can understand why people would want to look here. Something tells me I need to take some steps to "bury" this one.  Also, for the record: no, they aren't.
  2. God's perfect will: I'm a little more satisfied with this result, as variations on this search bring people to this page, a bit of theological exposition that I'm happy with.
  3. Gideon's fleece: Ditto this search and this page. Combined, this one and the above beat out #1.  Still, I'd like to find a way to bump them both up to the top.  The fact that people come to this blog looking for information on knowing and doing God's will is a motivation to continue to expound on that subject (as well as other theological topics in general). As I said, I don't live by my stats, but when I see someone responding to some of the better parts of the site, I want to do what I can to improve them.
  4. if you want to leave take good care: I don't know why, but it seems that two people a day stumble across me while searching for this line from Cat Stevens' song "Wild World," for which cruel, cruel fate has made me the top site out of more than three million hits. They find this page, which again isn't particularly important. This seems to be another one of those statistical anomalies that can't be helped. Well, I hope you find a lot of nice friends out there.
  5. life of pi analysis: Finally, people looking for information on, or an explanation of, Yann Martel's novel Life of Pi come looking, and find my review. I hope it is helpful; seeing these hits just keeps reminding me how much I enjoyed the novel (weird theme aside) and writing the article. Life of Pi seems to have some enduring popularity. And indeed, I've recently read some Canadian novels that I found very satisfying, whereas even 15 years ago I wouldn't give a book a second look at the library if it had a maple leaf on the spine. Maybe I should review more, if it encourages college students to read more closely.

So in a nutshell, people come to the Crusty Curmudgeon looking for celebrity gossip, helpful theology, and book reviews. Two out of three ain't bad, I guess.

Also fun are the searches I get where it's obvious someone is looking for me. Once in awhile I can even figure out who you are. Hello out there.  It's good to know friends and acquaintances are keeping in touch, albeit indirectly. Don't be strangers.