Julie & Julie & Julia Part III

Ten days ago my blog scored a record number of hits – 451 in one day. Trying to figure out why, I discovered that 319 of these visits were racked up by a single post –  “Julie & Julie & Julia Part II” from September 2nd. My family and friends would find this ironic in the extreme. I’m a good cook when I set my mind to it, but I avoid the kitchen whenever possible. This post and the one that preceded it were about writing and blogging, and cooking got barely a mention.

So why is the J&J&J post so popular? Note to self: duh – it’s the search engines, dummy. Over the past few months, I’ve been watching my stats climb steadily, and as of today, I’ve logged 24,022 hits on a blog I just started in May. All along I’ve been under the delusion that I’m building a devoted readership, and the comments and stats tell me I’m not entirely wrong, but the majority of visitors are lured in by certain key words and especially by well known names.

Here are my most visited blog posts for the past week, according to WordPress:

  • Julie & Julie & Julia Part II (September 2)
  • Julie & Julie & Julia (August 31)
  • Michael Jackson and the archetype of the tortured artist (July 8th)
  • My blogging story arc – a field of dreams (June 22)
  • Woodstock 1969 Part III: Requiem for the spirit of 1969 (August 12)
  • Woodstock 1969 Part II: Stuck in the muck for 16 straight hours of music (August 9)
  • Woodstock 1969 Part I: I was there with my paintings – now if only I could prove it! (August 6)
  • Did Poe get fan letters too? (October 30)
  • Affordable funerals Part II: Down by the riverside (September 12)
  • TGIF Blog Party – You’re all invited (August 21)

Julie Powell

It’s interesting that these are all older posts – the most recent is from October 30th. Does this mean no one is reading my more recent ramblings? No, those get visits too – just not as many. WordPress tells me where most or all of my readers come from, and a fair number come from other authors’ blogs as well as from online discussion groups like CrimeSpace and Murder Must Advertise. WP also tells me all the posts that have attracted visitors on any given day, so I know many folks visit my static pages with my bio information and sample chapters. Here’s hoping some of those folks are actually buying my books!

Most common searches that drew people to my blog recently: Julia Child, Julia Childs (I purposely inserted the misspelled name as a tag, a trick I picked up somewhere in the past few months), Edgar Allan Poe, Jimi Hendrix, Woodstock, Michael Jackson, Miles Davis, baseball diamond (I can’t figure out that last one!)

I tend to shy away from statistics. In fact, sheer panic drove me to drop out of a statistics class at Dutchess Community College – me with my hotshot degrees from Barnard, Columbia and NYU. (I eventually enrolled for statistics again and got an A – a necessary evil, since it was a prerequisite for the PhD psychology program I briefly enrolled in. But that’s another story.)

I’m hereby making a New Year’s Resolution to put more time into understanding the wealth of blogging statistics available to me on WordPress, thereby maximizing the  effectiveness of the many hours I spend online. Meanwhile, for my Christmas blog post, I’ll create a short story incorporating all the popular names, subjects and tags that show up in my stats. Be sure to check back then! For anyone who’s read this far: sorry I never got around to the subject of cooking. But I’m sticking in some photos of Julia Child and Julie Powell as a consolation prize.

Fellow bloggers, do you have any wisdom to share about statistics and blog hits? I know many of you are far more sophisticated than I am on this subject, and I’d love to hear from you. 

©2009 Julie Lomoe

13 thoughts on “Julie & Julie & Julia Part III

  1. Julie, the only observation I have about blog statistics is that you have received way more hits than I have (I’m closing in on 14,000) and we’ve been blogging about the same length of time. You definitely are making great choices for topics, tags, and titles.

    Based on my personal blog-hopping procedures, I scan through my own blogrolls and look first for interesting post titles. I especially go for those that appear to be humorous. As you can see, the Julie and Julie and Julia title caught my eye (again) and here I am.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Patricia. As I recall, you have one of those blogrolls that lists the links according to who’s posted most recently, along with the titles of their newest posts. That’s a neat Blogspot feature – I’m not sure if WordPress has it, but I’ll check it out one of these days.

      I also use my own blogroll to see who I haven’t visited lately, and I’m afraid that’s a lot of people!

  2. Well I guess there is much to be said for getting mileage out of what is in the news (or well known). My most hilarious experience with blog stats is on a blog that is semi-automated. The blog is about lionhead rabbits which my daughter raises. As I was checking stats recently I discovered that I had one post that had hundreds of visits to it so I went to check and see why. The post happened to mention a bunny rabbit that had eaten marijuana! Yikes! I am quick to say that it wasn’t one of ours. Sure got a lot of mileage out of it although I’m not sure whether that was good or bad.

    • Hi Sharon, and welcome! This is a hilarious example of how search engines work! Did any of your respondents mention Jefferson Airplane’s song “White Rabbit?” That might be the missing link between subjects.

      I don’t believe you’ve visited before. Where did you come from?

  3. I’m one of the less sophisticated bloggers who doesn’t really have a clue about what I’m doing right or doing wrong, so I have no advice to give. I simply appreciate the readers I have who keep coming back and that keeps me trying to write posts that make it worth their time.

    • Hi Jane. And here I thought you were more sophisticated than me. You get a lot more comments; that’s for sure. And your blog has turned up in my stats as one I get readers from, so you must be doing something right!

  4. I have no advice to offer. I haven’t checked my stats and am clueless about statistics. But I enjoyed your post today about stats. It makes me think perhpas I should look at my posts and consider if I could twist the titles to relate to current events or movies, but most times, I probably couldn’t.

    Straight From Hel

    • Hi Helen. You’re another one I never would have pegged as clueless! I appreciate the self-disclosure – but then that seems to be what my blog is all about.

  5. Wifey and I saw Julie and Julie. Great movie. I can relate to a person trying to get a blog and a book off the ground. Loved the lobster scene with the Talking Heads song Psychokiller.

    Stephen Tremp

    • Hi Stephen. I hated the lobster scene – felt sorry for the poor lobster. It reminded me of the first and only time I tried cooking live lobsters – with my first husband, who was the one ultimately responsible for getting them into the pot. I remember them crawling all over the counter. That wasn’t why we split up, though.

  6. I find the statistics an amusing distraction, for the most part. No two counters show me the same numbers or traffic sources, by the way, so I take them all with a grain of salt. I do enjoy seeing where my visitors are coming from and what they’re searching for (or linking from) to get there. I don’t know that I’ve consciously or effectively put any of this data to good use, mind you. Probably best just to do what we do best – to write. To reach out and link to others now and then, and to engage with those who take the time to comment.

    Have you ever considered using the CommentLuv plug-in? That lets your visitors comment and choose one of their last 10 posts to link at the bottom of each comment. It’s a nice, easy way to exchange links.

  7. Sorry I came in late on this discussion! I could never cook a lobster, but I sure can eat them. I have no problem with t hat at all. There’s alot of stuff our ancestors (and theirs before them) ate that we Americans don’t eat now — at least it’s not on the menu in most places. Rabbit, for instance, which I did eat in a French restaurant at least once. Now rabbits are so fertile they should be considered as a regular source of meat, especially in tough economic times, but we’re so far from our food sources today we turn our noses up at them. And squirrel — the darn things eat ALL the bird seed I put out so I gave up feeding the birds. I might be persuaded to eat a squirrel stew. I’ve had venison in a spicy stew, and that was o.k. but a venison roast was too gamey for me. When I travel I eat what is put in front of me – when in Rome, etc. Only I had an unpleasant experience with squid in Spain. Marilyn aka: M. E. Kemp, author of American colonial mysteries

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