Courtesy Google AnalyticsSome weeks ago I was moved by a series of posts by Tony Karrer, pertinent to keeping track of posts, indexes and other ancient, twentieth century artifacts. I’d admired his Blogging Guide for First Time Visitors, which included an index. I had been thinking about starting a blog index of my own when I read about his decision to revise his current guide page.
A blog with an index:
I’d never seen a blog with an index before I saw Karrer’s, so I thought I’d perpetuate the idea. After all, nothing ventured, nothing annihilated, as Bill Bryson puts it. My blog had got to that critical size when, if I had not started an index, the initial task of setting it up would soon have been in the too hard pile. I’m glad I built it when I did.
There was some minor initial discussion about the index post when it was first launched, and that was okay. I’d already decided to keep track of how things went. As expected there was some initial interest when I announced the index. The major bump shown on the graph above is almost entirely due to the announcement post.
Here’s my stats so far according to Google Analytics - from Jan 12th 2009 when it was launched, to the present (Fri 6th Feb).
I had backdated the index page to 1 May 2008, a date before I’d even started blogging. The reason I did this was because I wanted to be able to find the post easily in Dashboard, as I would be updating it regularly. The other was that I didn’t want it picked up by the RSS Feed, and it wasn’t. Instead, my announcement page was RSSed and this meant I could track the real stats on visits to the index page from Blogger in Middle-earth.
Activity on the Index Page was interesting to analyse in Google Analytics. It showed me that people actually used it, for a significant number of views of the page looped to the page itself. This would correspond to visitors using the links on the Index Page, to the two main index lists before making a selection. A Time on Page of nearly 3 minutes is a telling indication of the usefulness of the index post.
Further to this, I was also able to see what people were looking for. There was some noticeable interest in listing posts according to label, and this has continued – Change, Complexity and Peace were popular list selections.
I was also heartened that people used the index on a regular basis. Apart from the initial expected flurry of activity, the page settled down to what amounted to a day-to-day visitor service, which was what was intended.
I keep the index up to date – not a difficult task to do. Eventually, I will cull some of the less popular listings, using PostRank (PR) ratings to help me select those. They won't be lost, for they will be picked up in the label listings.
Hopefully it will be easy for me to keep this index in trim, while at the same time providing some assistance to those visitors who want to peruse it.
PostRank rating favourable:
The PR rating of the Index page is currently coming in at an honourable high number, which is surprising. This shows that it's being linked to, rather than just visited, which is favourable. It’s actually showing a PR rating of 10 on my page widget (see screen-shot below).
I’m aware that there is a difference between the displayed rating numbers on the right side-bar widget and what I can view at the base of my screen from the PostRank Firefox Extension as shown here. If anyone can throw some light on why there should be a difference in these numerical reports from PR, I’d be keen to learn.