Thursday, May 13, 2010

Some feedback, s'il vous plaît

I've been keeping an online journal for about 10 years now, in one form or another. I kept the site as my domain running on a headless, older Debian box running in a closet until about 5 years ago, when I converted to Blogger. I signed up a gmail account shortly before losing the awesome "" email address when I let my domain expire, and opted to combat spam by not listing my email address on the new blog. (The old domain was quickly snatched up by a squatter, and he is happily spending his $10 per year, or whatever domains cost these days, on static lists of search keywords for some nefarious purpose or other.)

Before the conversion, I would occasionally get emails from people I knew but lost contact with, who would tell me they stumbled on the page, liked my writing, and wished me well. Other than that, I had no contact with the site's readers.

I've been on Facebook for a couple years now, which has taught me that a lack of response to a thing does not imply a lack of an audience. When FBers threw events that I would attend, occasionally someone would mention something to me about something I'd posted but no one commented on. "Oh, " I would say, "I had no idea anyone even saw that."

The same is true on the blog. When I turned this blog's comments on, I got a few hits from people I know, but mainly just chirping crickets. When I turned on analytics 5 months ago, I quickly found out that my site gets somewhere around 5 - 10 hits every day, accumulating close to 1000 unique visits since December.

Some of my posts get hit from people searching Google for techy things, as shown here (click to expand):

These are the most landed on pages of my blog. The most popular is just the root page, "/". Five out of the remaining nine are tech posts, the most popular of which by an order of magnitude is a lengthy post on mainframe COBOL. (I don't attribute that to COBOL being a wildly popular search topic, just that there aren't as many good resources on mainframe topics as there are on Windows and Linux concerns... and my page rank is probably pretty good after years of "honest" blogging without trying to sell anything.)

Continuing on the list of popular landing pages, we have a chatty page on my past addiction to Farmtown, my visit to Vermont where I stopped at the Bread and Puppet Theater, and a page talking about my volunteering at local elementary schools. So... that's interesting. The techy pages are popular, but some of longer ramblings about my personal pursuits are pretty popular as well.

This leads me to wonder how I could best tweak my site to make readers happy. So tell me, if you please, what you're here for. Do I know you? Are you answering a math or coding question? Are you a teacher looking for stories of kick-ass parents to contrast with the turds who raise your students? Are you an underground art fan or activist? Hippy? Budding chef?

Here are a few quick multiple-choice questions I'd like you to answer. After waiting for a decent size of results to come in, I'll tweak my postings accordingly. Thanks for your time, and your visit!

1 comment:

  1. You're right. It happens so often that readers enjoy intelligent, creative blogs like yours, but forget that they can write English, and leave a comment. Readers need to throw off their shackles of shyness and speak up!By the way, thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a thoughtful comment.