Three Years of Blogging

Time flies when you are having fun! Today I start year four of my blogging adventure. This means that it is time for a metablogging entry again.

In blog time, I am now a great grandfather. I would bet that less than one percent of blogs have lasted three years. One of the few that I can point to is my friend Lisa’s blog, Snarkypants. Lisa is responsible for turning me onto blogging. So if you hate my site, it is all her fault! (Just kidding Lisa!)

One thing I monitor is whether my blog is growing, staying static or losing interest. Overall, it looks like this blog is still garnering more interest. Part of this is explained because I have an additional year of material online. Consequently there are more entries that are searchable. Popular entries a year ago remain popular today, simply because they come up easily in Google searches. (I think my entry on Sharon Mitchell has reached immortality status. It still averages at least half dozen page views a day. My entry on Infidelity also gets many reads.) However, looking at my web logs, newer entries routinely get hits from all sorts of places. Mostly they come from Google, but I am seeing more and more referrals from the blog indexer Technorati.

While no one else likely cares, I find it interesting to compare my SiteMeter statistics from one year ago with today. The current SiteMeter graphic below clearly documents a slow but steady growing interest in this blog. Last year my peak monthly page views was around 3600 (shortly before the election). This year my peak was in April at around 7000 page views. I did not start tracking with SiteMeter until early March 2004, but in 2004 I averaged about 1,760 visits and 2,300 page views a month. Over the last year, I have averaged 2,730 visits per month, or an increase of 55% compared to last year. When looking at page views, I now average 4047 page views a month, an increase of 76%. These are decent growth rates for a backwater blog, particularly since every year there is more indexed content out there competing against my content. It remains unlikely that my blog will ever show up on a recommended blogs list.

A chart showing the current year's visit and page view statistics for Occam's Razor

Of course, I have become a bit disenchanted with SiteMeter statistics. It only measures those arriving here by browser, and then seems to miss many of those too. I know I have a number of people who read my entries using newsreaders and they will never show up in SiteMeter. I see them in my raw web logs. It is almost impossible though to determine which of these are robot search engines and which are actual people reading content. Still, SiteMeter is a metric useful for generalizing trends. Overall, I would guess my actual visits and page views from real people are about twice what SiteMeter reports.

One trend I have noticed is that I am getting more comments. The number of comments is still anemic compared to most people’s blogs. Nevertheless, it is still a trend. A little SQL on the comments table returned the following data. I am getting more comments and longer, more thoughtful comments when I get them.

Year  # of Comments   # of Bytes of Comments
2005  	104  		70010
2004 	80 		47177
2003 	57 		31597
2002 	3 		1934

As for blogging itself, it remains a fun but time-consuming hobby. However, it is getting more difficult to think up good original content. I often have to poke myself to create entries. I often rattle my brain for something interesting to expound upon. I continue to find political entries less interesting to write. This is a shame because when I do write about topical politics I get a lot more page requests. It usually takes at least 90 minutes to create an entry, since each entry is edited about four times. In addition, I find no fewer demands on my time. My list of hobbies continues to grow. Alas, the time I have to devote to them does not. However, blogging remains a very high priority for me. I mean here I am in Atlanta on business. What am I doing for fun in the big city? I am writing another time-consuming blog entry.

For me it is worth the inordinate amount of time I spend. As I expounded elsewhere, I find blogging to be therapeutic. I have an escape for the many unusual ideas crossing my mind. From reading the comments, I realize I have compatriots out there. While I am sure there are many people who do not particularly like what I have to say, I get regular appreciative comments. Thank you to those of you who leave me these little pats on the back. Thank you for those who do not agree but still do not mind trading emails on various topics. They inspire me to keep blogging. I do not know how successful I am at prying open minds. I am headstrong enough to actually want to change people’s opinions. It is an impossible metric to measure except anecdotally.

I do hope that overall my entries are well reasoned and if nothing else good for debate or thoughtful discussion. I also hope you enjoy your time here. Next March with two years of SiteMeter statistics, I will metablog again.

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