Digits Define Our Lives In So Many Ways
In just about every way conceivable, our lives are governed by numbers. Birth dates, years, chronological references to every important point in our existence. We must remember several numerical sequences – phone numbers, ATM access codes, passwords to computers and everyday online applications.
So it’s no surprise that when I started this blog, I initially declared I had no interest in knowing how many people were visiting my site. A couple of my friends thought I was mad, but it really wasn’t important to me.
Then, nine months after I began blogging, I finally succumbed and installed a hit counter.
Yes, it is irresistible. Yes, I was daft not to load one onto my blog at the outset. Yes, it’s great to keep track of daily visits and weekly patterns. Yes, it’s interesting (not just because I am statistically minded) to notice that visits increase in winter, when people are indoors and start to plateau in summer, when everyone is out soaking up the sun.
There have been major landmarks along my blogging path. The first time I got 100 visits in a day was really memorable. Getting to 200 visits a day was a great feeling, but the real watershed for me was reaching (and maintaining) 240 visits a day. Why? Because 240 visits in a 24-hour day equates to an average of 10 an hour, or one every six minutes. That significant moment came a year ago.
My hit counter, when I installed it, was calibrated to register hits, not page views. I have never changed it. So while the figure in the top right-hand corner of this site shows that I have had more than 200,000 visits, I have had about 315,000 page views .
I often get asked what is the most difficult part of increasing readership – and my answer always is the same. The most difficult part is your first 2000-2500 visits.
If you can sustain a blog that long and weather some disappointments, you are well on your way to establishing a loyal readership. No newspaper, for example, ever achieved a circulation of 10,000 or more without doing the hard yards first. Be patient. Sometimes it is harder to be patient than to be creative.
On the night of February 12, I switched off my computer in the knowledge that when I logged on the next morning, my blog would have (in the middle of the Australian night) notched up a landmark. While I slept, someone would have become the quarter-millionth visitor to my site. But nothing could have prepared me for what was to happen the next morning.
While I sipped a cup of tea, my eyes popped. My site stats had blown out beyond my wildest dreams. It took me a couple of minutes to work out where the traffic was coming from, then I realised that I had been included in Google’s Blogs Of Note. That day I had almost 9000 page views.
If you build it, they will come.
But you have to build it first. And build it well.
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