Monday, June 11, 2012

How many page views is a lot? And why do I even care?

So, I got a lot of traffic over the weekend after I had the guest post go up on DadCentric as part of their "30 Days of 30 Dads" series. I got some nice feedback there, and I've been enjoying what others have written in the same series.

But what counts as a lot of traffic? I ended up with a little over 300 hits by the end of Friday, and here's what last week looked like in a graph supplied by Blogger:

It was an upward trend, right? Awesome (that trend has since reversed itself, naturally). But I honestly have no idea how many pageviews is a lot, or if they even matter. I only have like 40 or so subscribers including those using Google Reader (only?! That's like 36 more people than I talk to face to face during a whole month), which is probably the better gauge of how close I am to winning the internet. I can't help feeling like I'm playing a video game and just trying to get the highest score possible, and so it's hard not to get hooked by a sweet upward trend. Which probably means I should take a step back and distance myself from what could become a deep hole for my time. But I never take advice from myself, so I think I'm going to start posting at least twice a week now, to see how often I can best my own record. I already beat my wife's record for pageviews in a single day -- take that, sucker! -- although she's never cared about such a statistic. I had to look it up on her account.

See, it really is a video game for me. I started Mass Effect again a couple of weeks ago, and I barely touched it at all last week because I was working on posts and formatting and comics. And now I've got charts and graphs, I get to watch stats increase on my computer screen, I've got upward trends. Who's to say where the limit is! I'll PWN those noobs! Breathe . . . breathe . . .

The funny thing, though, is that I spent hours and hours crafting the post for DadCentric. Days, maybe. Multiple edits from myself and my wife. I had my sister read it, and she told me to slash two whole paragraphs, which I did.

And this is what my URL reference chart looked like at a certain point on Friday:

Hey, 21 hits from DadCentric! Nice, right? But what's that number right above it? 66 hits from a comment on Babble? Must have been some kind of crazy good comment, right? Well, you can find the comment here, which took me about 45 seconds to write, and which I promptly forgot about.

Why do you do this to me, internets!? This is not how video games are supposed to work! There are rules that are supposed to make sense, and rewards should be commensurate with the amount of time and energy that you put into them. Why the hell did this dumb comment get so much more traction than the piece I sweated and bled over, which I put about 800 times more effort into?

I don't know. The internet is a funny thing. I've made other comments on Babble articles and gotten like one or two hits. I don't make the comments expecting any traffic, really. I'm just trying to learn the ropes of this blogging thing. But take a look at this graph:

That big middle finger sticking up there is all from hundreds of hits I got from that one single comment. And it didn't stop. On Saturday, here's what the URL reference chart looked like at a certain point:

All because of a brief comment on a blog post entitled, "Holy Man Cheeks, Batman!" Go figure. The thing is, there's no way I can predict that something like that comment will gain me that kind of traction. I've never had another comment behave that way, not even the ones I think are really funny or insightful. So I'm going to have to stick to laboring over essays to get my traffic, which is the way I would want it anyway. But any hardcore video game player will appreciate my pain in not being able to figure out how you just increased your dexterity by 12, your charisma by 7, or your pageviews by a big, incomprehensible spike.