I was looking around the various functions that this Blogger site provides for us bloggers and came across a tab I had not used before: Stats. I took a look at it and it revealed interesting data about you, yes, the people who read my blog. It was a little depressing but the information is not going to get me to change what I post here. However, it is interesting to look at what I have found out.The first thing I looked at was where the 99,000+ hits on my blog had come from. Over a third were from the USA and 16,000 were from the UK. I guess that I should not be surprised that half of those visiting the site were from English-speaking countries and these two in particular given that I write a lot about the UK and often feature US movies. The third highest source was Germany with 6,000 visitors followed reasonably closely behind by Canada and France, almost equal with each other; Australia in sixth place has provided 3,000 visitors, the Netherlands next with 2,000; Italy and interestingly, the Philippines both with 700+ and finally Sweden with just over 500. I guess this spread may come from the topics I have covered.
The tools with which people reach my blog are varied though 84% have come from a machine using Windows and only 10% from a Macintosh. Of new devices just over 900 used an iPhone, 713 used an iPad (one of those might have been myself), 223 an iPod and interestingly, 65 used a Playstation 3. The search engine people who did not come direct used is unsurprising, with 45% coming through Internet Explorer (recently it was reported the average IQ of users of this search tool was only 80; I assume because it includes numerous school children); 29% used Firefox, 13% used Chrome, 9% used Safari (the default search tool on the iPad) and only 2% used Opera and <1% Iceweasel, the search tools that are supposed to be the ones favoured by the most intellectual web searchers.
The main ways in which people have reached my blog through other links is in terms of the maps of imaginary places, especially Narnia, because my inclusion of six maps of that world is referenced on Wikipedia in the footnotes. Other imaginary maps are also high in those pages on my blog which are visited with large continents and then tube maps in second and third place of this sub-set. Getting featured on the 'Today in Alternate History' website has channelled more traffic to me and interestingly so has mlwodementia.blogspot, one which I was not familiar with but is proving to be the third highest channel through which direct traffic as opposed to searchers, is coming. It turned out to be a blog which has been running since 2007 with over 50 postings per year and is focused on making and playing with fantasy lead figures.
When I turn to the topics of interest, however, I begin to be rather disheartened. My most popular topic has been discussing James Bond villains, my first posting on this in April 2009 has attracted over 3,600 visits, the second posting over 11,000 and the third over 16,000. This pattern in itself is shaped by the search terms that have brought people to my blog, the term 'Sophie Marceau' is by far and away the most popular term followed by 'Le Chiffre' though only warranting a tenth of the interest that Sophie has done. He is followed by 'Robert Davi' and 'Toby Stevens' interesting pair of actors who have been Bond villains and the fifth most popular term is 'Tamriel'. Interesting my two postings on steampunk pirates have received 7,500 hits for the first one and 8,500 hits for the second, partly through people looking for 'steampunk pirates' specifically as a search term and partly people coming across it looking for images of Japanese flags. In terms of the counter-factual postings the top one with over 1,100 visits is 'What if the Bolshevik Revolution Failed?' followed far behind by 'What if Hitler Had Been Assassinated?' and 'What if Lenin Had Lived 10 Years Longer?'. I would have expected more coming to the Second World War and other better known 'what ifs?' but I guess there are a lot of sites covering those that draw them off before they reach me as a result. Whilst I know that some people have read my political postings and my fiction they must be so few in number so as not to turn up in the statistical returns.
I suppose we have perceptions of how people view our blog. It seems apparent that mine mainly attracts Americans looking for pictures of Sophie Marceau, perhaps reading about James Bond villains and on occasion looking for maps of Narnia or something on steampunk pirates. I guess I am filling a role that might not be filled by others, though I find it weird that people cannot source the hundreds of images of actors who have appeared in the James Bond movies from other places, there are hundreds of websites with this stuff on. As I said when I launched this blog, it was primarily for my own peace of mind and I would always rather be right than read. As time has passed I guess I did hope that people would at least read my views, but I need to be clear than unless I am commenting on James Bond or steampunk pirates then they are not, well, even then they are probably only here for the pictures rather than the text. It is also frustrating that the bulk of visitors come to look at pages from 2008 and 2009. I could easily have packed up after having posting something like 300 pages. I guess this information is useful for people looking to attract visitors to their blog. 'The Guardian' has been running a column about how to create and 'monetise' your blog. Clearly a good starting place is to whack on images of popular actresses and maps of fantasy places.