For some time now I’ve watched my blog’s statistics. I’ve used Webalizer and AW Stats. I’ve followed the visitor list closely (mostly to deal with defacer diaper kiddies). And a little over a week ago, giving serious consideration to adding custom banner ads, I decided to try StatCounter to get a better handle on my blog’s traffic. This is what I’ve learned:
Now what’s nice about StatCounter is that afaik it reads only real page views; search bots might visit, but they don’t count. What’s not nice about StatCounter is that (again) afaik, it doesn’t count feeds. Considering that I see lots of feeds in my stats – more than regular page visits – I’m guessing that AW Stats is probably a better gauge of how many people read the content I’m generating.
Add to this my recent findings regarding sites like Technorati. For no reason I can explain, my blog went unnoticed for the better part of a year. And I’m not the only one who has noticed this happening to their blogs. In addition, I stumbled upon something interesting regarding Technorati. If you are discussing a book for example, but don’t mention the title in the headline or in the first paragraph (or some set number of words perhaps), even if your entry has been registered/pinged, a search for that book may not yield the entry. Go back and update the post by moving the title to the first paragraph, and it will miraculously appear. Huh?
What a mess. Not just from the standpoint of someone attempting to gauge interest in the content they generate, but also from the standpoint of someone expecting to have good information supplied to them via a feed. Well, don’t count on it.
Why bring this up? Because I’ve just read something on Wired, “Island Wisdom, Coded in Java” (Link), that gets to the heart of why I don’t use a feed. It’s related to why I don’t think shopping centers and brick-and-mortar stores will vanish in the sea of e-commerce: there is both joy and learning in discovery. Sometimes I find an interesting article where I’d never think to look. Sometimes I happen to read something I’d considered unrelated to my interests and discover previously hidden relationships. Having information fed intravenously is no replacement for searching and discovery.
For this reason I’m considering cutting the feed from this blog. I write this mostly for my own enjoyment; certainly not because of the abundance of conversation here (which is admittedly stifled by the deluge of blogspam on any entry older than a few days) and obviously not from ad revenue. Plus, if I were to add banners pitching the niche products of microbrands, most of the target market – first adopters – would never see it.
So if you draw a feed from this blog, give me a compelling reason not to cut the chord.