On February 10, 2017, the site statistics program for ghost32writer.com reported more than one million views per year. That milestone probably occurred a few days or even weeks earlier, as I long ago got out of the habit of checking the numbers daily. Whenever it first happened, though…not bad for a one person website. With only one exception, the handful of Throat Chakra posts by Gordon Malchek, every word on the site was written by yours truly. And even those pages were edited and posted by Ghost after Gordon submitted them, so hey. Go me.
Additionally, the “number of visits” works out to three and one half times the number of “visitors,” indicating that a lot of people who check out the site come back for more. After all, if they only looked once, went “Meh!” and never came back, the numbers would be exactly equal. The stats line graph shows this as well, naturally. And being a WordPress plugin with great creator support, updated fairly frequently, the program doing the counting engenders a fair amount of confidence in the numbers reported.
When that plugin was first added to the site, total visits per day were running in the hundreds, not the thousands.
For whatever reason, I’d never noticed that indicator before, or at least never put two and two together to realize that a remarkably stable “visitor” line on the graph indicated many thousands of visitors who stop by the site on a regular basis. Go y’all!
Another helpful stats indicator is the one that shows just how many search engine referrals arrived onsite for each of the past twenty days. It looks like around 250 per day on average, a far cry from the 3,000 total visits. In other words, more than 90 percent of the site’s traffic did not get here via Googling a topic. Additionally, the 250 (or so) who did arrive by that route are equally important, providing a steady stream of new visitors, some of whom become regulars.
I mention “Googling” specifically because Google accounts for the vast majority of all search engine traffic. Bing comes in second, but it’s a distant second indeed. Go Google!
With all of these indicators in mind, ghost32writer.com also gives me a hedge, or an ace in the hole. The only advertising on the site so far is a single plug for my book, Tam the Tall Tale Teller. Hardly anybody pays any attention to that ad, probably because folks looking to buy a book go to Amazon or Google Books or some other known bookseller site. But that doesn’t meant ghost32writer.com couldn’t be monetized in a hurry if the need arose. Although we might lose readers, were this site to suddenly become cluttered with irritating advertisements like “all those others,” eh?
Relax; there are no plans to add any more ads, now or in the foreseeable future. It could happen, sure, but then so could an invasion of Earth by aliens from Pluto. In the meantime, no ads are being added to new posts, and the only reason Tam the Tall Tale Teller is still there on a lot of pages is because I’m lazy. It’s one thing to laboriously post the necessary code manually on each page when excitement about the possibilities for a new book is the order of the day…but another thing entirely to go back through and delete said code. I’ll get around to it…eventually.
So, what is it about this site that keeps people coming back? Fortunately, we do have a few clues provided by various readers who’ve commented over the years, plus there are features I’ve included that were important to me. Listing a few as they come to mind, with the hope that a reader or two might add to the list, we have:
1. My writing style. Readers have told me, both in public comments and in private emails, that my “heart” comes through and that the content is (at least most of the time) engaging and easy to follow, regardless of the topic under discussion.
2. This site is really eclectic. In the heavy black header bar (beneath the header photo at the top of each page), there are currently thirty-five (35!) separate Indexes for different types of topics. There would be more, but sometimes a new post gets stuffed into an existing Index category, partly from laziness on my part and partly to keep the Index count from spiraling completely out of control. The reader can find posts here ranging from How To (Do It Yourself) to Fiction (and Western Fiction and also Science Fiction) to discussions on scams, medical issues, wildlife photography, and a whole lot more.
3. Using the Indexes, a reader can find most posts easily by referring to the appropriate Index. This feature was essential to me, a “must do” item when the site first became viable in 2013. At HubPages.com, where I wrote for five years, it was pretty much impossible to follow a given writer effectively unless you had the time to check for new Hubs daily. (It’s my deep rooted belief that this is by design, built that way by HubPages management so they could keep authors as helpless peons while building their own online mini-empire, but I admit to being biased on that score.)
There’s more, but I’m starting to ramble, and this post is supposed to be about statistics, not conjecture.
For a number of years, I made an extreme effort to write and publish a new post every day. It proved impossible to do that literally, but I came close for a lo-ong time. These days, it’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish; I write when I can but no longer obsess about it. The combination has, counting this post, resulted in a website consisting of 875 separate posts, ranging in length from very short (500 word range, usually a brief report on a product or scam) to really long (over 6,000 words in a single fiction chapter). A wild but somewhat educated guess would put the average post length at around 3,000 words. If that’s close, we’re looking at a bit more than two and a half million words.
And we’re just getting started. I’d like all of you to know, every reader who ever landed on this site (even if by accident, and even if you bounced right back out) that I appreciate every one of you–even the spammers who inspired me to add the highly effective spam-catching Akismet plugin, back in 2013. Whether you leave a comment or simply lurk a bit, y’all come back now!