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Where do they come from, what do they want?

I've been running a blog in some form or another for over a decade, well before the term "blog" was coined. It's been enjoyable; a good way to share photos and experiences, practice writing, and hopefully provide an educational resource.

I am a poor community builder. Some blogs twine themselves with others and get extensive networks going, all of the bloggers interacting and commenting to each other. Not me. It's not that I am against cyber-villages - I just don't take/have the time. I'm not even very good about commenting back to the relatively few people who make comments on my own posts.

Feedback on the old blog is nice, though, and it does interest me to know how many, or if anyone, reads it. An easy way to get a quick bead on the popularity of nature-related blogs is the Nature Blog Network. But that site, which at present hosts some 1,100+ blogs, just gives a ranking based on the number of visits.

If a blogger really wants the scoop on who is reading their blog, and why, linking to Google Analytics is a must. The blogger must paste in some code which then allows GA to monitor the blog and generate data. The breadth and depth of info provided as a result is incredible, almost scary. If it's feedback you want, it's feedback you'll get.

For the month of June, 2010, 5,262 people made 8,941 visits to my blog, entering from 98 countries and using 49 different languages. The top five countries were the US, Canada, United Kingdom, Denmark, and Brazil. I find this amazing, and incredibly cool, and quite telling about the sea changes that are occurring in media and how people get their information. Small wonder traditional media outlets and print resources are struggling, when the Internet allows such easy entree to a worldwide audience, in live time and for free.

Google Analytics also reveals the paths that visitors took to reach the blog. For mine, the top 5 were Google; direct visits (people who have it bookmarked); Facebook; Yahoo; and my buddy, Bill of the Birds (whose camera lens is fixed, I see!).

Perhaps most interesting of the GA data treasure trove are the "keywords". Yes, it tracks the exact words that people punched into search engines that resulted in them landing on my blog. For last June, there were 1,017 different combos listed, and it's always interesting to me to skim through them. The most common threads involve either my name or that of the blog - people who are seeking it out specifically. Thank you!

We GA users can also see who is googling their own names, or has stalkers who are googling them :-) There were quite a few of those in June, all of whom shall go unnamed. Amongst all of the somewhat predictable key words are some wierd ones, and a few of those follow:

"cannibals-fly". I have actually written about cannibal flies several times, and hope that my blog was of use to this fly-seeker. But maybe they wondered if cannibals can fly?

"hitler pond". There is such a place, in Pickaway County, Ohio, and I've blogged it before.

"tar hollow state forest and bigfoot". You got me here, but I would LOVE to write about bigfoot! Put me on to one and let me get a photo, and they'll be on here lickety-split!

"sausage with legs". Either a strange cosmic coincidence, or someone remembered me referring to the Meadow Vole with that term.

"145 wimpy mighty beanz rare or common". What?! I have no idea on this one, but am mildly curious.

"are the eastern eyed click beetles dangerous?" No. And I hope my blog helped that seeker figure this out.

"big fat purple hio singing?" Huh?

"camouflage hooters Guatemala" Well, the only hooters I saw down there were owls, but if the others were camouflaged I may have missed them.

"ferrari f50 yellow pelican hotel miami". I did once mention a Ferrari, but it was an F40. Still, I'm glad that post drew in a non-traditional nature blog surfer.

"incredible male body". Flattered, am I.

"how to kill a wheelbug". Please don't - they wouldn't kill you.

"is there a man-eating beetle in Ohio". I don't think so, but there may be some beetle-eating men.

"copperhead snake black on yellow will kill a fellow". Back to herpetology 101 for you, ignorant surfer - that's the Coral Snake. Might want to sort all of this out before you open your snake-charming school.

And there is more - lots more - where all of that came from! Thank you, Google Analytics, for offering a glimpse into the sometimes strange and twisted minds of our fellow cyber-surfers.


rebecca said…
Your blog has been a must-read for me ever since I discovered it this spring, and after I move to Georgia next month I'll still be reading it to get my required dose of Ohio goodness... thanks for all your efforts!
This is amazing stuff. I always read your posts but I don't often comment. I figured that you don't really care about who is reading this. Your information is so interesting that I come back time and again. I have learned a lot. Laughed occasionally too. You are a good writer. Keep up the good work.
Jim McCormac said…
Thank you Lisa and Rebecca - I'm glad that you enjoy the blog!

Wally said…
I get all this info from a serverside statistics program installed on my web server, and it's always fascinating. I always like to check out keywords that 2 people searched for to get to my site. If someone searches for something bizarre and some chance juxtaposition of words leads them to me one time then that's just happenstance, but when two people do it something magical happens. Well, for me anyway.

I check out your blog a couple times a week and always love reading your latest updates.
Cape May Wren said…
Hmm, yes, I've noticed myself appear on your blog via the Live Traffic Feed... Spooky, indeed, what can be divulged/learned through a bit of internet surfing.

Thank you for the blog! It is a delight to read, a feast for the eyes and gray matter. (Perhaps Oscar could make more appearances, blue or otherwise?)

And thank you for the info on Google Analytics. I knew all of those statistics were available, and you've just saved me the trouble of, er, Googling for the link...

Here's hoping that you will join the live-and-in-person blogging community and come with the Ohio contingent to Cape May for our Autumn Weekend!
LauraHinNJ said…
So... coming to Cape May this fall or what?

: )

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