I’ve been nudged to review my stats this month, something that I normally do as a matter of course but I’m reporting on it here.
Tony Karrer’s post, Alternative Views of Blog Content, reminded me that the last time I’d reported on the Index Page Project was in March this year.
The Index Page for Blogger in Middle-earth was a project I embarked on in January 2009. It was initiated by Tony’s First Time Visitor Guide, which provides a brief description of what his blog is about with selected posts listed under general topic headings. I admired his Guide, and as I was already thinking about building a blog index, it prompted me to start one.
Initial novelty value
The new Index Page certainly caused a lot of interest for a few months after it was published, during which time it was the most popular post on the blog. I suspect that this was more its novelty value. The time spent on the page suggested that it was being inspected rather than used directly for the purpose I’d intended.
In recent months activity has settled with a steady flow of visitors who obviously use it as an index – its favourable bounce rate of 27% indicates this, as does the 1:17 time on the page.
There is a significant correlation between activity on the Index Page and the dates of new posts. This tends to suggest that those hits are made by newcomers to the site, though this is not entirely conclusive.
I'm inclined to tinker when it comes to some aspects of blogging. Perhaps I put more time into tweaking and trimming than I should – who knows? That’s purely my own judgement of how I make peripheral adjustments to posts. Part of it is curiosity to find out what works best.
For instance, I’ve found that putting in links to related posts like the ones at the base of this post, though time consuming, actually provides some access to posts that might otherwise become time-capsules.
When this activity becomes a chore, I’ll probably give it a miss. The time spent updating the Index Page is nevertheless much less, perhaps only a minute or so each time I publish a new post – a small percentage of the total time I spend on the hobby of blogging.
Usefulness as an index?
I’m probably the most regular user of the index. With now well over 200 posts on the blog, I find it increasingly difficult to locate one of my own posts unless I use the index. GoogleAnalytics has indicated that the latest category, the monthly archives, is being used by visitors as are the post-label links.
This last period it ranked 8th in popularity, and attracted 3% of the total visits to the blog. Considering that it received more than twice the activity of hits in its first few months, the Index Page is undoubtedly the most popular post on the site this year. It does not have the long-tail profile of a typical post, which makes it quite unique.
Usefulness as a first-time-visitor guide?
The jury is still out on this one. Laurie Bartels gave me a lot of support in her comments in the first two months and I am grateful for those.
So far there have been no comments that indicate there’s any need for improvement! My suspicion is that the need is there nevertheless.
If you have a useful suggestion, why not nip over to the Index Page, check it out, and tell me what you’d like to see there? Go for it!
Nāu te rourou nāku te rourou he pai te iwi kātoa.
With your food basket and my food basket our tribe will prosper.