At the end of the year, WordPress handily sends out an e-mail analyzing the most popular entries and referring sites for blogs and websites, which is always an interesting and humbling exercise. Oddly, the pieces one slaves and sweats over get hardly a look, while the dopey or more casually tossed off ones get tons of traffic. With that in mind, here are the top three most-read entries for this site for the last year:
(1) “Rolling Stone Picks The 500 Greatest Rock Songs”: I think part of the reason for the popularity of this piece from May is that it showed up as a “related link” in one of the earliest web stories (I think it was the CBS page, but I’m not certain). It still gets hit quite a bit even today. Oddly, it’s really not even that great of an entry; more than anything, it was an excuse to post the link to the goofy VentriloChoir singing “Yesterday.” But at least it springboards readers to the site with the full list, so . . . you’re welcome, America.
(2) “Life Writing Done to Death (And All Because of Amanda Foreman!)” I put this entry up in 2008 mainly because I thought the debates in the UK press on biographer Amanda Foreman (she of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire fame) were so amusing — and lamenting the fact that we never seem to have high-profile spats over biographies over here in the States. For some odd reason, this entry ended up attached at the end of Ms. Foreman’s Wikipedia entry, which continues to drive traffic here in droves. I’m sure they go away disappointed, since there’s really nothing titillating there — though I’m flattered that Ms. Foreman herself checked in and commented on the whole controversy.
(3) “The Real ‘Legend of Sleepy Hollow'”: This long piece from 2008 tends to get hit a lot around Halloween, though I’ll also point out that the search words “cliff notes for sleepy hollow” also bring quite a few people this way. Whether its actually helped anyone write a paper or pass a test, though, I couldn’t say.
Rounding out the top five are two informational pages, Books and Author. The author page, more often than not, seems to be used to verify whether I’m the dead Rolling Stone(I’m not) or the balloonist (still not), since those are two terms that bring people here as well. Once again, readers get to leave empty handed or unfulfilled. Sorry about that.
I use Statcounter to track other data on this site — and it annoys me that WordPress inhibits its functionality, making it impossible to generate truly useful data. I can see where visitors come from, how long they were on the site, or whether they’re a repeat visitor, for instance, but I can’t see referring pages or search words, which would be really helpful. You can do this when you use Statcounter in association with Blogger, but WordPress is huffy about it.
Anyway, among other interesting data, this site was viewed by over 14,000 unique users (not bad), and by readers from cool places all around the world, like Russia, Greece, India, Australia, Germany, and Ireland, not to mention Schenectady, NY. Thanks for dropping by, everyone, I appreciate it. I’ll try to get better about getting new material up here in the coming year — though the older stuff seems to be doing just fine by itself.
Can you capture emails with WordPress?
Sometimes I’m slightly offended by the search terms that bring people to my blog. You probably don’t even want to know what I searched for to find yours.
Charles: I’m not sure. I’m installing a new version of Statcounter that allegedly contains some of the fixes that give it more functionality — we’ll see if it works any better. I’ll keep hitting it with a hammer until it works.
Rob: Search terms, I can see on WordPress, though not with their affiliated searchers. And I do, indeed, get some odd hits. As long as you weren’t the “Poe pantless” guy, I think you’re safe . . . .
Charles, if I understand your question correctly, the email of a visitor will only be captured if the user volunteers it. Pretty well the only time that will happen is when they post a comment.