I thought it would be interesting to look at my blog’s analytics, to see what kind of readers y’all are. That’s right, I’m goin’ to take that there toothpick and poke aroun’ in the recesses of your braiiins. (And promptly rid myself of this here fake and likely offensive Southern drawl.)
I think that every novelist has a single ideal reader; that at various points during the composition of a story, the writer is thinking, ‘I wonder what he/she will think when he/she reads this part?
– Stephen King, On Writing
Of course this is a blog, not a story, but the concept is the same.
(The following is based on data from May 2020, otherwise I’d be forever chasing my tail.)
You prefer to read about Doom and monkey wrenches over anally-retentive observations about language
I started this blog in 2018. Since then, the most-read post is What happens when an adventure gamer plays a first-person shooter? and the least-read is Are you using these words correctly?
These stats are from WordPress’ native analytics data, because I’m too cheap to invest in a premium account with Google Analytics tracking (though I do use Google Search Console). So take it with a pinch of curry powder.
In the beginning, the blog was about language and my passion for words, gradually spiralling into more gaming-related posts. It seems the latter is much more popular – but I had fewer followers back then, so it’s no surprise the lowest ranking post is one from those early days when I was indulging my nitpicking side.
What’s more, it doesn’t shock me that a post about Doom accounts for the most traffic, given its popularity on Twitter. It turns out Doom is an extremely widely appreciated game holding a timeless place in gaming culture, with one of the biggest online communities keeping it thriving. Who’d have thunk it?
Coming in third place is Can we talk about the monkey wrench puzzle? Again, not a huge surprise – a lot of traffic comes from web searches for ‘monkey wrench puzzle’ and similar terms. The puzzle is a pretty contentious and commonly debated topic, and crops up again and again on gaming forums and the like.
It’s also quite telling that people are searching for information about Kid’s gender in 198X. I told you it was ambiguous!
You’re a lovely bunch of twits
WordPress referrals, May 2020
Unsurprising that the top referrer is Twitter, since that’s where I promote my posts. I’m ‘silently present’ on a few sites and forums, and as such get some traffic from those too – plus the occasional pingback or tag from other bloggers.
Flipboard is something I only learned about recently. It’s a content-aggregating site that pulls together blog posts, articles and news stories from all different sites and categorises them in a magazine format. There’s some debate over the integrity of these kinds of sites because they reproduce content without permission, but I’m happy for my stuff to be on there for now – they link out to the original post and it’s pretty clear who the author is.
You’re all insomniacs, from the States, and not very productive on a Thursday
Interesting. I guess there are a lot of night owls visiting my blog, or… you’re all from the US.
That may be largely due to the fact that the USA makes up most of Twitter’s users. Or, perhaps adventure games are more popular in the States. Or you’re all using dodgy offshore VPNs. Or, you’re actually just one American dude obsessed with my blog. Or an American bot gone rogue, generating fake likes, comments and utterly misleading stats.
So, who’s my ideal reader?
My IR (Ideal Reader) is a Twitter user who enjoys playing and debating about old games, doesn’t enjoy nitpicking the finer points of English language, is up bleary-eyed at an ungodly hour, and is a Yank who skives off on a Thursday.
So that’s what I’m aiming for. Thank goodness for stats.