I have now been pumping out this North Downs and beyond drivel for over six years now - albeit with a brief break in 2010 when I deleted the entire show and then started up again in August of that year. Since then I have posted 670 times. That's an awful lot of waffle, rant and, at times, observation. I have considered giving it a break on a number of occasions, mainly when I've felt fed up or disillusioned with my 'natural history lot', but thankfully I haven't pressed the destruct button and things always seem better the next day.
Those of us that use Blogger as a platform can see who visits our blog, where they come from and what they look at - don't worry, it doesn't identify exactly who you are! These stats are just a bit of fun to me, although it is always pleasing when the visitor numbers are high, as we all like to think that we are doing something that others may wish to read. I'm going to talk numbers now, something that some bloggers guard with secrecy (I suppose it is a bit like comparing penis size), but hey, I'm easy going...
When I started (back in 2008) my daily visitor rate would be between 25-50 a day, more often at the lower end of those figures. When I relaunched two years later I would normally just edge over the 100 mark. Now, I can normally expect between 150 - 200, with maybe 200-300 every third or fourth day. My record is 600+, but these sort of figures are unusual. I do not attempt to bolster these numbers by joining blogging networks or advertising a post on Twitter. I don't know how these numbers compare to other blogs and it really doesn't matter to me. I would, however, guess that there are some birding blogs out there that must get four figure hits on a regular basis.
I cannot predict what type of a post will prove popular. I used to believe that the more contentious a post the more traffic would be garnered, but that clearly isn't the case. My most visited post is a review I wrote on Robert Macfarlane's excellent book The Old Ways. This is followed by a rant (yes, they do work sometimes) about self-promotion in birding. In third place is my appreciation of Ray Turley's legacy to birding, with my piss-take on the use of the word BOOM! in fourth. Following up behind, in order, are posts on 'Internet-based birding' and the Chinese Pond Heron - Bohemian Rhapsody lyrics. If you missed any of them or want to revisit them, you can just click on the links. Sometimes a post will be boosted by somebody, somewhere, publishing its link. This happened with my post about Ray (which Lee Evans highlighted) and the Pond Heron (via Bird Forum).
It used to be said that a newspaper could gauge its health by the size of its postbag and to me, if my blog is getting comments sent to it, then all is well. Comments do tend to come in waves (and, if I'm being honest, 75% of them come from the same dozen people), but I'm very grateful when I do receive them. There have been a few posts that have developed a life of their own in the comments section, the most memorable being a theological debate between Peter Alfrey and Mel Lloyd. It's well worth a read, but please spare half an hour and make sure that your brain is clear when you do so!
One way that a visitor can come across this blog is by referral from another blog (my own referrals can be found in that 'Worthy Blog' list found over to the right of this post). Who are my top referrers? They can now be revealed...
1st Surrey Bird Club
2nd Wanstead Birder (Jono Lethbridge)
3rd Not Quite Scilly (Gavin Haig)
4th Birding Notebook (Peter Alfrey)
5th Boulmer Birder (Stewart Sexton)