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.