Friday, January 21, 2011


I've disabled this blog's Google Analytics feed. The feed assures me that there were 4,046 visits here over the past year, most of which occurred after a swell of visits in August '10 when I started posting about various coding experiments I was working on. From that time forward, there were over 100 visits per week to the site, most of which turned out not to be loyal fans, but rather one time visits referred here by search engines.

It turns out that Google was ranking me fairly high on some search terms, and when I noticed the increased traffic, I tried to leverage that a couple different ways. First, I succumbed briefly to temptation and put Adwords advertisements on the site for a couple weeks. Now, 4,046 is a nice number for a lone blogger who started out just writing about his kid, but it's not enough to pay the bills on click-throughs. So I took them down when my Adwords balance slowly crawled to the 7 cent mark.

Next, I put up a couple different attempts to solicit feedback from visitors, which was about as popular with visitors as the ads. I got a total of 4 responses, one of which was just a smartass comment from a friend I work with, another was not honest feedback, but a solicitation to help grow a content farm.

So I've taken down the "feedback" link, and turned off analytics, as it never really bought me anything other than some nebulous insight into what people search for, and how hard it is to get the attention of people looking for homework help, job interview answers, or instructions on gaming Facebook's PuzzleMaster coding puzzles... not that I look down on any of that. If you see how I solved a problem, maybe something will click and you'll be better off. If your goal is to cheat an assignment or test, well, good luck with that, but I doubt I'm improving anyone's chances of passing a class they weren't meant to. For now, "The Sky" is back to being just a plain old blog, where I write about whatever suits me, and visitors are welcome, but not the focus.

Before turning off analytics, my most popular pages were:

"Quest for Interesting" is a whimsical post that became popular only because it contains an image I created in MS Paint in about 10 minutes, which shows how to cross-multiply to compare fractions. For whatever reason, that image was for a few months the number one hit on Google Images for "cross multiplication". It currently fluctuates between 2nd and 3rd place, and still drives traffic here.

"Solving the Facebook Gattaca Puzzle" is one of my solutions to a Facebook puzzle on their "careers" page. They use interesting puzzles involving optimization and datasets as a filtering tool for potential coders, which I think is a good idea. The number of people attempting to use search engines to game the system is phenomenal. To illustrate, here are the top 5 search terms used to find any page on my site:

"Oldschool Mainframe/COBOL geek-out" is me going on at length about mainframe topics like RPF scripts in ROSCOE, compiling and linking from JCL, why EBCDIC is even a thing, and how no one "plays" on mainframes.

The last, "Creating an Archimedean Spiral generator in Java using the NetBeans IDE" is one of several quick hacks of mine, this one attempting to be a basic introduction to using NetBeans, the basics of painting and the Java2D library, and polar math vs. Euclidean. Because it's fun. And I'm a geek who despairs not taking Calculus in high school, and not paying more attention in the math classes I did take.

So, I have dismissed my Joab from his census-taking duties, before being punished by the almighty for my pride. Now it's back to just writing about stuff, without the marketing angle.

No comments:

Post a Comment