Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Who Are Your Blog Readers?

Yesterday we talked about where blogging leads for writers and today I want to ask the question: do you know who is reading your blog?

Of course we all hope an agent or editor comes across our blog and has a wee look and goes "Holy Krakow, this blog is not only well written, but funny and innovative, and I must have the writer, I must. Now!" and voila! We've got a six-book megamillion publishing deal. But let's return to reality for a moment. (Your reality at any rate; I'm still hoping). Sometimes, as with Carrie Heim Binas, you do get very visible people not only looking at your blog, but then getting engaged to you. Othertimes, as with myself, you get people arriving at your blog because they do random Google searches and one of your posts appears in the results. For some reason, I get a TON of hits on my old Silverfish are Disgusting post, from people typing into Google "What is the purpose of silverfish?" (A very good question.) I have also gotten lots of hits from a mysterious reader in the Netherlands. And I know a friend in Australia reads the blog, but doesn't comment. In fact, my hit ratio per day is about 20-25 (depending on the day of the week) and about 5-6 (average) comments. That's a lot of lurkers, which is okay since it's not possible to comment on every blog you read. (Although it would be nice if the lurkers would comment more.....hint hint). I also know which posts have proven most popular over time (so far, silverfish and the one about cats plotting to kill you win, which is rather disappointing considering the point of this blog! Or is it? Maybe I should convert to an all-animal blog?)

How do I know this? Because I use a free tool called Site Meter, which allows me to see where visitors arrive from (if they clicked a link to get here), the country, the town, the date, and overall visitor statistics. If you're at all curious as to who and when people are reading your blog, check it out. I know some useful things. I know that my Friday Google Reader Roundup posts have grown in popularity because a few months ago the hit rate for Fridays wasn't as high, although Friday traffic in general remains low compared to earlier in the week when we're all raring to go and reading blogs. I know that in general, my visitor rate has grown over the months, which is really cool. And I know that no one reads the blog on weekends, which is good since I don't blog then. That tells me that people come back because they know I'll have fresh content.

So, barring agents, who do you think is reading your blog? Are you aware that a variety of different people with different purposes are likely reading?


Lt. Cccyxx said...

No frigging idea who reads mine - I decided at the beginning not to collect stats.

You may have more people reading yours than you know, though...if people add you to their Google Reader feed, it won't register as a hit unless they click through to your actual blog. I know this because my wife has a blog and tracks stats and can't see that I read her posts - even though I've subscribed to her feed and read them all - unless I click through to comment.

Travener said...

I assume my readers are just a bunch of, you know, losers with nothing better to do. Present company excepted, of course.

Julie Dao said...

I have no idea who reads mine, really! I'm sure I have a lot of lurkers, but it's okay... to blog is to make the choice of putting myself out there. I'm curious now, I might have to check out the Site Meter thing!

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

I check Google analytics every few weeks to see my stats, it's always so interesting to see what people search to get to you. And don't stress about lurkers. I just checked mine from yesterday, I had 87 visitors and 26 comments. So it seems lurking is the majority of readers in most cases.

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

My readers are: writers, one brother-in-law, one co-worker, one gal from high school, one ex-boyfriend, and randoms.

I check analytics pretty regularly, and I know I have more readers than commenters. This is fine with me -- I sort of like the idea of lurkers.

It's interesting, though, to blog with an audience in mind! I find that it hasn't changed the way I write, even when I've tried to let it.

Natalie said...

I use google analytics which is a lot like site meter. I think my blog mostly draws writers, but also I get people who I am friends with in real life, my agent, and occasionally an editor who is reading my MS and wants to see if I'm crazy :) I try to cater to the writers who read though, because they are the vast majority.

CKHB said...

To be fair, The Rejectionist and I got engaged because I visited HER blog and commented in an extraordinarily witty manner, at which point she visited my blog, and the DANCE OF LOVE BEGAN.


I used to analyze visitors to my old, non-writing, personal website, but eventually got bored/didn't care enough/had other time commitments, and I haven't bothered to track anything since. I couldn't figure out how to use Google analytics on my blog, but I wasn't trying very hard.

KLM said...

I kind of want to know. But I kind of don't want to know either, lest it turn out to be prisoners and old boyfriends or some combination of the two. I do wish I could get my blog followership up, but I'm at a loss as to how to do that in the time I allot for writing it. The blog is a gas, but at the end of the day, I must focus my limited writing time on actual novels. I've come across a great many blogs that are clearly and obviously just marketing tools, and those bore the bloomers off me. To me, a blog is about giving something to readers, not trying to get something from them.

Sierra Godfrey said...

Lt. - You're exactly right about the readers.

Trav - Of course. :)

Julie - you and KLM are right in that it's really about giving something to readers.

Roni - not stressing about lurkers, since I definitely lurk on most blogs I read, I think.

Amber - also there is ME!

Natalie - it's good that your agent and possibly editors check your blog; you'd want them to keep up to date with what you're saying, no?

Carrie - it goes without saying that you are extraordinarily witty and I'm not just saying that because we're having a TORRID AFFAIR!! Hee hee!

KLM - I don't think it's possible to know the exact people unless you hunt down their IP addresses. But you've piqued my interest regarding prisoner readership. Just as with trolls, I'm pretty sure I get no prison readers. DANG IT! :)

Tina Lynn said...

I lurk a lot here, too. I always read blogs later in the day, then get no response from you. Which ends in me sobbing uncontrollably into my pillow. So, I hardly comment, but always visit.

Sierra Godfrey said...

Oh, but I go back and read Tina, I do, I do.

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