Taking Hits

22 02 2007

walter-sobchak.jpg

 

You can see it at the bottom of the right hand column of this page, under Blog Stats:  Hits.  That’s the number of people who have visited this blog.  Each day, starting for some reason at 7:00 PM eastern time, WordPress counts the number of individual IP addresses that view Bull Runnings.  It counts each address only once, and of course does not count mine.  Each day the slate is wiped clean, and each address can again be counted once.  The number you see is the total of the daily counts since I started this blog last November.

Hit counts are but one of a number of tools provided by WordPress to help give a blogger an idea of how his site is being used.  But hits is the biggie.  Despite my frequent self-admonishments that the success of this site can not be quantified, my impressions trend with the number of hits.  This is problematic for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that I have no idea what represents a good or respectable hit count.

A friend told me when I started out that I shouldn’t be too concerned with the numbers.  I totally agree, theoretically.  In practice, I think I am not very like the Buddha.  As Walter Sobchak (pictured above) might say, I’m being very un-Dude.  (In the unlikely event you are unfamiliar with The Greatest Movie Ever Made, Walter is John Goodman’s character in The Big Lebowski; The Dude is Jeff Bridges.)  I find myself a willing slave to the stats.  In fact, I have set the WordPress icon on my Windows toolbar to take me straight to my blog stats page.

The same friend also told me, quite accurately, that blog hits are very much a “what have you done for me lately” thing.  If folks have a reasonable expectation of finding something new on your site when they visit, they tend to visit more often.

I’ve noticed also that more people are viewing my “feed”.  I’m not really sure how all that stuff works, to tell you the truth.  Feeds remove all the pretty stuff from a blog, essentially making all of them look alike.  Feeds are the great equalizer in Blogland, creating a world not unlike that presented in one of the chapters of the Kilgore Trout novel Venus on the Half Shell, a world in which the quest for social equality reduced everything and everyone to the lowest common denominator.

I need to fight the tendency to let the numbers dictate the content and number of posts I make.  I do, to some extent.  Otherwise you would have seen many more articles on Peyton Manning.  But I need to learn to abide.  Like The Dude. 

 

dude.jpg

 

 

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7 responses

22 02 2007
Drew W.

I don’t know, Harry. Beyond it leading me to develop a taste for White Russians (the drink, not Belorussian or Czarist women), I still think TBL was one of the lesser Coen Bros. efforts:-)

I’ll admit to checking hits data frequently as well, mostly to check what kinds of people visit the blog.

22 02 2007
Harry Smeltzer

Drew,

Sure, TBL can certainly whet one’s appetite for a caucasian. Unless you try to keep pace with The Dude. And pity the fool who follows his lead and uses Cremora. Yuck.

People either love or hate the movie. For many, it is a way of life. Just go ahead and Google “Lebowskifest”.

http://www.lebowskifest.com/

I’ve got some T-Shirt buying to do!!!

Frankly, I can’t figure out how to use WordPress’s stats to tell me much about my visitors at all.

22 02 2007
Brian

I’m with you Harry. I don’t know what the numbers mean, either. If they mean anything.

We’d all like to be read, or else why bother. But we also write what we feel is worthwhile, not, perhaps, what the masses will like. I believe the internets is big enough that no matter what you write about, if you’re sincere and stay true to your Muse, there’s an appreciative audience out there for you.

Ergo, ignore the stats.

I remember a radio DJ who used to sign off: “thank you both for listening”. That ought to be enough.

Haven’t seen the movie, but should, apparently.

26 02 2007
Tom

Harry – Try out http://www.statcounter.com
It allows you to put code on your blog that tracks the hits of the blog – both on a unique and page view count. It also allows you to see where the visitor’s are coming from and if the cookies are set up – how many times they have visited.

I use it more to see what people are reading and how they came to the site more than anything else. It’s nice to see the number of people coming in but I don’t worry if there are too many or too few coming in – I’ve got enough to worry about then to add that the list.

Tom

26 02 2007
Sam Elliott

Harry, speaking for those of us in Tennessee, more Peyton Manning commentary would be welcome.

26 02 2007
Don

Harry, I enjoyed the post, but wish you hadn’t posted it. I seem to be checking that little counter daily now instead of waiting for the weekly report….

1 04 2007
Correction « Bull Runnings

[...] It’s funny how memory works, or in this case doesn’t work.  Earlier, in the post Taking Hits, I mentioned the Kilgore Trout book Venus on the Half Shell, in which I thought appeared the [...]

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