Saturday, February 7, 2009

On Blogging – Report on Index Page

Tēnā koutou katoa – Greetings to you allIndex Stats Graph
Some 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).

Index Page Stats Table
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.

Used Regularly:

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.

Link to Index Page, Showing PostRank rating in Footer
( 6 ) ( 5 ) ( 4 ) ( 3 ) << - related posts - >> ( 1 )

Ka kite anō – Catch ya later


Paul C said...

The message seems clear: you want your readers to be engaged with your site on several levels. Better a visit with a cup of tea than a drive by.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Paul!

How brilliantly you put it.
Milk and two sugars?

Catchya later

Paul C said...

Green tee - straight please!

Your bounce rate percentage reveals a high level of engagement. It's all that quality content.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ken -- Yeah, the difference between PostRank scores and those on the widget is certainly confusing at first glance. We're working on ways to present that info better (and seeing if a simple 1-10 type visual might make more sense).

In the mean time, you can read more about how it all works here:

And, of course, if you have additional questions, please feel free to give me a holler. :)

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Haere mai Melanie!

Thanks for dropping in and explaining the Rankings.

And thanks for the link to PostRank. I have been pleased with the widget and what it offers. The extension at the right screen base is also useful especially when I visit other sites - I take it these reports are universal and not viewer specific.

Hey! Welcome to Middle-earth.blogspot! It's a pleasure having you drop by.

Catchya later

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Melanie

Not so much an afterthought, more an observation. I notice that the PostRank widget is not displayed in the latest version(s) of Internet Explorer. Any thoughts on why this should be - were you aware of this?

I've been vigilant recently, as have other bloggers, of the need to check a variety of browsers when publishing posts. Not all browsers display everything the same way. IE sets itself aside from other browsers as it shows some things differently.

Catchya later

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the report of the widget issue with IE. I haven't had any reports of it not working. Are you referring to IE 7 or 8?

We've certainly tested with 7, but not 8 yet. One thing to note is that if folks have Javascript disabled, that would certainly prevent the widget from showing up correctly.

If you could point me to specific sites/people you know of where the problem has manifested, that would be helpful.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Melanie

I do believe that this is IE7 that we're talking about, on WindowsXP. I will check it out on Monday for you - it's at work. As far as I know, Java scripting is enabled, of that I am pretty sure.

Catchya later

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Melanie!

I've checked out the matter of the browsers not displaying the widget. Both Mozilla and IE on my work computer do not display the PR widget. I suspect it is the fire-wall that is stopping the display.

The tools option for amending the widget is the only thing I can see when I log in to Google and view the blog.

Catchya later

Mongolia Insider said...

Hi, i am new at blogging.
If possible could you give a guide on putting google analytics information on my blog as a widget.
Thank you!

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Haere mai Энх-Орших Хүрлээ!

The Google Analytics information that's displayed on the right panel of my blog is not done by a widget. I have looked for a widget to do this but as yet I've been unable to find one.

What I have done is to use a Link List in Blogger by adding a 'Gadget' in Layout (as a page element). I simply update the titles and link addresses as they move or change. This is easier to do than it first seems as the gadget permits this to be done swiftly.

I update the Link List from the report in Google Analytics. I chose the first 5 posts as it is simple to update that number. It is also similar to the PageRank listing which is often different from GA and with good reason.

Nice to have you visit Middle-earth! Drop in again some time and check out my Index Page if you have not already done so.

Catchya later

Mongolia Insider said...

Blogger in Middle-earth, I am flattered by your interest in my posts but right now even if I install Google Translator you could not read it because Google Translator has no Mongolian database. But i am thinking about writing posts in English. I will let you know when it's done!
Anyway thank you very much for the tip. I decided to wait until easy-to-use 'most popular post' widget appears.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Энх-Орших Хүрлээ!

Mongolian. I wonder if Google is aware of the deficiency. Perhaps we should let them know.

I look forward to reading your post. Do let me know when it's published.

Catchya later