Thursday, March 19, 2009

My 100th Post - A Blogger's Journey

I started this blog back on November 26th 2008, during all the commotion about a potential coalition government forming. I'd always been pretty active on message boards and with this just seemed a logical extension for an opinionated "cyber big mouth". I must admit to having been somewhat jealous of newspaper columnists, with their ability to both express and potentially influence opinion on a variety of subjects. Blogging has cured me of that jealousy, in fact I think it is journalists who are now envious of bloggers...if not outright fearful given the sad financial state of print journalism.

I'm still very much a newbie, and I am still jealous...but now of fellow bloggers, specifically those who are adept at things like javascript and html. I consider the lay-out of this blog to be pretty pedestrian, and I'm thinking about making some changes in that regard. The hard part is that no matter how pretty a blog site looks, it won't mean anything if the content doesn't attract readers. As with many things its a question of time. Do I take the time to continue writing, or let the writing slide for a while and learn some code to dress this blog up a bit?

Considering the short time frame, (less than 4 months) I do think things are going pretty well. Google has a number of reporting services available to bloggers, and most seem to be free...being of Scottish descent I'm not paying for ANYTHING.

Since I enabled the reporting features on December 20, 2009...6,373 pageviews coming from 4,521 visits as of yesterday with 2,878 being unique visitors. Average number of page views is 1.41 with the average time spent being 2 minutes and 33 seconds. A little over 80% of visitors leave without going anywhere else on my blog, with about 20% looking at other pages.

I enjoy seeing where visitors to this blog come from, and google provides those stats. The vast majority come from Canada, 3,617 visits from 206 different locations. All the biggies are there: Toronto, Ottawa and Edmonton are the top 3 followed by Calgary, Kitchener, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Victoria and Don Mills (which is still Toronto in my books). Of course there are a slew of places I've never heard of, like Gravelbourg, Cordova Bay and Sparwood. It looks like I've covered all 10 provinces and 2 out of 3 territories, still waiting for my first reader from Nunavut.

I've also had readers from 53 other countries around the world, with most being Americans. I've had hits from 47 out of the 50 states, still waiting on my first visitors from Wyoming and Montana. Border states not reading a Canadian Blog??? Google doesn't tell you which states haven't visited, they just show a map...and I don't know what state is due west of Texas, but that's the 3rd one I'm still waiting on. New Mexico maybe? I'll check later, apologies to Mr. Hughes and Ms. Brydges my geography teachers in school, at least I knew Montana and Wyoming...but then I've driven through those two.

I can also see which content pages have generated the most hits, and its bad news for those who wish I'd shut the #### up on the subject of abortion. Number one is Penny Stocks -Playing With Fire with 822 pageviews, the next 5 though are all on abortion, and I've only written 9 posts out of 99 on that topic:
Actually most of my traffic is to the homepage, which isn't content specific...1562 pageviews.

Another interesting bit of reporting is finding out how the traffic is being generated. Most of mine comes from referring sites at 73.94 per cent. Canadian Cynic, a blog that doesn't want me writing about abortion has generated 751 visits to my blog, followed by Progressive Bloggers at 616. A total of 129 different sites have referred visitors in fact, including message boards and other blogs where I've posted comments.

Search engines have been responsible for almost 17% of the traffic, with google blowing everyone else away at 724 visits followed next by Yahoo at 10. Most are searching for "Canadian Soapbox" (68 visits) which means some people are remembering the name of the blog, but not the url.

That's enough of a state of the union for now, longer than I thought it would be when I started...but still shorter than Obama's Congressional address.

Hopefully readership will continue to grow, and with it some advertising revenue. I'm using google's AdSense and I hope the ads aren't too intrusive. The ads are supposed to be reflective of the content on these pages...which seems to be the case most of the time. Still any thoughts I had about quitting my job have gone out the window. In my new year's post I predicted ad revenue would be sufficient enough to allow me to pay for an expensive dinner out, with everything super sized. That's about where I'm at now, dinner for 2 at the Golden Arches...If this was my only source of revenue I'd be eating about once every 3 months.

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