Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mapping My Readers

For the first long while after I started blogging, I thought I was writing into a black hole. My friend Sherrie and my son Ben and his wife Ruth were reading it. They said they were and seemed to know what was happening in our lives when they called, so I believed them. I figured I had three readers. Even my husband didn't read it. I thought about giving up, but then I thought, "What will my grandchildren say someday when they find out that I didn't save all the funny stories about their parents and uncles and grandparents (and greats-) and so forth, for posterity?

Still, it's hard writing for an audience of three and me. I saw a map on somebody else's blog. I'm really fond of reading other people's blogs. (Today on my son and daughter in law's blog I found out, for instance, that my three year old granddaughter has learned what a wedgie is, and she doesn't like them AT ALL!) She's so funny. I love that Ruth shares this stuff...

I added the map. It was free. Anyway, the map was good for awhile. It showed about a day's worth of dots, and they covered about a fifth of a state. If you were somewhere in California, I could tell roughly where you were. Twelve hours later you were gone. At least I knew I had some people, so it gave me hope. Then one day, and I don't remember why, I was checking Google to look into bigger maps. Better maps. Maps that would tell me more. I wanted to know how long they stayed, and how many pages they looked at. I wanted to know how they found me.

I found Counter Central. I got it free for a month. Now it costs $7, but I love it. You see my map? It's big. It's the whole world. It has as many dots as I want, from the last 50 to the last 1000. I think I have it set at 500. You're the red dot, unless you're me. I don't show up. That's my choice. If you're reading this as a subscriber through Google Reader, you don't show up either. That's your choice. But if you actually come to the blog (which you don't on the reader or RSS feeder services) you'll show up as a dot on my map.

I can open a little window that tells me a bit of other information. It's everything I dreamed of, but not enough to worry you. It doesn't tell me who you are or how to find you. It does tell me if you've been there before (unless you clear your cookies after each visit), and how you found me. If you searched Google or Bing or, it'll tell me what words you used.

Did you find me looking for bison chili? Or maybe The Ringling 5? I've had a lot of people find me looking for If Jesus Was a Norwegian. That's incredibly popular. My pecan pie crust and lemon custard pie recipes are still getting requests, too. Lately I've had more than 100 hits on my blog about the Jeopardy contestant, Rebecca Dixon. That surprised me. They came from all over the world, including Canada, Singapore, Cambridge, four Canadian provinces, and nearly every State in the union, including the District of Columbia. No Alaska, though.

I've had more people than I ever would have believed looking for information on broken ribs and accidents in the bathroom. Go figure. I love this kind of thing. So, obviously, I can see the City, State, and Country your server is in. That's not necessarily where you live, as one of my sons is so careful to point out. In fact, my friend Sherrie looks like she moves every week or so. I know her IP number, so I can see when she's on my site, which is nice, since we're not in the same time zone and I might want to call her at a weird time. If she's on my site, she must be awake. Right now she's listed in Whittier. Last month she was shown in Bellflower. A couple of weeks before that it was Pico Rivera. (Gee, Sherrie, slow down!)

What else do I see? I see how many pages you visited and whether you were on a Macintosh or a PC. That's about it. It's fairly useless fun. Nevertheless, it's addictive. I find myself yelling down the stairs, "Hey, John! I got 2 visitors today from Moscow, one from Naples, two from Norway and one from Singapore!" And he'll answer, "That's nice, dear."


sherrie said...

I've been impressed at the number and wide range of your readers, too! But no wonder I'm always exhausted -- I move two or three times a month! It would be much more fun if I could get out of LA County, though. Wait, I thought I did that more than a decade ago. Oh well, my memory isn't all that great. Thanks for keeping track of me. ~LOL~

Patricia Stoltey said...

I have a map with statcounter (although I don't think I can display it on my site), but I don't have near as many countries represented as you do. With that awesome range of visitors, how do you get more of them to leave comments?

Kathleen said...

I wish I could figure that out, Patricia!

Kathy said...

Nifty that you can see who has been here for you. Internet is an awesome tool. Thanks for all the audio books you have sent to me thru Paperback Swap,