Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Monday, August 29, 2011

How I Missed My Own Blogaversary

The impetus to write this post is the fact that I missed my own blogaversary this year. How could I have done that?  It was easy....I was preoccupied with other things. I hate to admit it, but it happened.  First, we were on a vacation in early July and drove over twenty-five hundred miles.  Yes, we did have a fun time visiting with friends in another state and visiting relatives on the return home. But after we got unpacked, a wave of family birthdays in July (five, including my own) was heading our way, and a variety of other plans were in the making.  By the time July 23rd rolled around, I just plain forgot.  

At the first of the year, I like to write a post that includes statistics about the past year's activity on this blog. Since I also forgot to do that last January, I thought this "missed blogaversary" post would be the perfect place to include a few blog statistics.  Call me crazy, but I absolutely l-o-v-e analyzing statistics, especially when they are for this blog. My first experience with blog statistics began in mid-2008, when I was still learning how to spell "genea-blogger."  FirstI installed Site Meter (the free version) primarily out of curiosity to track sources of traffic to Mississippi Memories.  Perhaps it was the fact that I was new to blogging, and I was still uncertain that anyone would really want to read what I wrote about my family's history. But this handy little gadget would enable me to see that real people were actually finding my site. Site Meter turned out to be a fantastic tool, and it not only allowed me to determine the number and geographic locations of visitors to my blog, it provided data that contained "search words" that had directed visitors to Mississippi Memories

Later, I installed Google Analytics.  With only a few keystrokes, this tool provided a wide variety of statistics.  Like magic, Google Analytics produced a plethora of neat colored lines and graphs that tabulated information about visitors to my blog.  I could view statistics by the day, week, month and year.  I could see numbers of visitors for specific times of the day, and I could tell what percentage of visitors came from where.  

How had I lived without Google's latest creation, my new blog toy?  

Although Google Analytics may be most useful for gathering data on e-commerce sites, the tool has served me and my blog well.  I can determine what topics were of the most interest to my readers, the peak times that visitors read my blog, and the locations where most of my readers live. Now that Blogger has evolved and has a new and improved format, all sorts of stats about posts, visitors and times are available there on demand.

Maybe like me, you may be wondering just who has been reading this blog, when do they read it, and just exactly what they are reading. Using statistics from the past two calendar years, I know the majority of visitors to my site hail from "East of the Mississippi."  Yes, I do have blog visitors who reside throughout the U.S. (and in several countries) but most of them seem to live primarily along the East Coast and in the South. Another finding is that most readers of Mississippi Memories likely work for a living. And since the statistics show that peak traffic times are 6-9 a.m., around noon, and after 6 p.m., it appears these readers are not using company time to read this blog.  

Topics that have attracted my readers still continue to fascinate me and to prove that posts I sometimes deem blog-worthy often are not that at all.  Sometimes a simple post about a certain surname brings an unexpected surge of visitors to the site.  Good examples of this phenomenon are some of the posts that I have written during the past two years about the Burel/Burrel/Burrell, Netherland, and Conner families.

Although Blog Year #4 is already more than thirty days underway, it seems like only yesterday when this genea-journey began.  I want to take this opportunity to "Thank You, Dear Readers" for visiting Mississippi Memories....I hope you visit again soon.  And I sincerely hope you find a little something here that will help you piece together that family history puzzle.