More Than One Million Views Per Year: Ghost32writer.com reaches milestone

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.

Screen shot of part of the stats page for ghost32writer.com on February 10, 2017, showing more than one million views in the last 365 days.

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.

The line graph providing at-a-glance understanding of the average visits per day (upper line), about three thousand. The variation in number of visitors (lower line) is much less volatile, more stable, indicating a remarkable level of reader loyalty.

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!

Line graph showing total number of search engine referrals for the last 20 days (top line) and the extreme dominance of Google (second to top line) in providing those referrals. 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.

874 posts showing to date (prior to publishing this post, #875). Post number is at the far right of the screen.

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!

13 thoughts on “More Than One Million Views Per Year: Ghost32writer.com reaches milestone

  1. I’ve been lurking for years, and I do not see the need to stop now. I have long been amazed at your ability to write something interesting about nothing. I believe you wrote a story about that once, and someone instigated that.

  2. Becky: And I appreciate that, too! (Your lurking.) I don’t remember writing specifically about nothing, but I may have; it does sound like something I’d tackle. It still amazes me, a little anyway, that one of the top view-getting posts is about pounding the Dickens out of a hand cart to bend it into shape for toting portable propane tanks. Talk about a throwaway piece, and yet it succeeded magnificently. Go figure.
    ——————————-
    Manny: Thanks. I kind of wish I could make it grow faster, and I could IF I could find the time to write enough. For every post I write, there are always many more begging for expression that never get touched. For example, I have no more time to write tonight, yet there is a Border Fort Manual post partially written, a Wizard and Weaver chapter fairly well outlined in my head, photos of a lizard found at our neighbor’s place that turned out to be a species I’ve not seen before (Clark’s Spiny Lizard), and a Stupid Newspaper Headline that could use some commentary–just for starters.

    The headline is looking like it won’t get its own post, so I’ll share it here. This one was spotted in the Sierra Vista Herald two days ago and should be a contender for the Captain Obvious award:

    TEACHERS ARE FUNDAMENTAL TO GOOD EDUCATION

    They are? Who knew?

  3. Ghost, just in case, it used to be that when I went to the website, I could see a list of the 5 last posts and 5 lasts comments at the bottom of the page. This was very convenient and assured me I didn’t miss anything of yours, and gave me exposure to articles and posts I never would have seen when someone commented on them.
    Now, all I get is a “x replies” on the bottom of the page… and the older posts link only takes me to the previous one…
    I really liked the old way better, though this one looks cleaner. Did you make the change or was it the Lords of WordPress? LOL

    Well, this has been going on for two, maybe 3 weeks, and I can’t find the post on your spam (which my spam filter caught), withough going back into my emails… Bummer… making me work! 😉

    Manny

  4. Manny, I’m suspecting the problem with my website is…not at my website’s end. My pages all still show the 5 last posts and 5 last comments every time, the only difference being that mine are listed at the side of the page instead of at the bottom. There’s been no change whatsoever, and no glitch either. Maybe your browser got cranky with my site setup for some arcane reason? If there’s any way you could take a looksee via someone else’s computer, just as a diagnostic tool?

    About my “spam post” which you can’t find: If you mean the recent phone call scam, that post has a link listed in the Law Enforcement Index, simply because I didn’t want to create a whole ‘nother Index just for scammy stuff when I don’t write about such things all that often. But if you meant my three year old “spam comment humor” post, that link is listed in the Humor Index.

  5. Thanks for the info, Becky. Maybe it’ll help Manny figure out what’s going on with his browser. He hasn’t said what he’s using; it could be that certain browsers switch the positions of the list regardless of the way the site is designed to look.

    If I remember correctly (which is no sure thing), seems to me that when I was first building the site, there was an option for placing the list in either position, and that I liked it best where it is now. I do know for a fact, though, that it’s never been changed from the day the site went live.

  6. I just did some experimenting and discovered that if you magnify the page to see the writing and photos better, it moves the lists to the bottom. That may be why it shows his at the bottom. I had to magnify to 175% to get it to go there.

  7. Becky, it looks to me like you’ve solved the placement mystery. Manny’s eyesight is not good, as he’s mentioned before, so it’s highly likely he does have the print magnified. Which doesn’t explain why he’s not getting the proper listing now, but at least the placement is understood. Thanks.

  8. Keep on writing, Ghost, whenever you feel the itch. I don’t read everything (I’ve yet to start on any of your fiction because I think I might forget about it mid-story (through no fault of your own, mind; I’ve just not been a good bookworm in years)), but I like the wide range of topics and your thoughts on them. And it’s great how you interact with your readers. But there are only a few regular commenters. Imagine if you got a million views per day and hundreds of inane and hostile comments. It could happen!

  9. I will most certainly keeping on writing, Leonid. And I do understand about your “forgetting about it mid-story” concern. I took a 9 month break from The Wizard and the Weaver series and had to browse through several earlier chapters just to find out who the characters were that I intended to use. If that happens to the author, pity the poor reader, eh? (Although some readers seem to remember the stories better than I do.)

    A million views per day and hundreds of inane and hostile comments …yes indeed, it COULD happen. I’m betting DreamHost would have to move the site to a much more robust designated server than it’s currently using to handle the traffic (with corresponding increase in cost to me, of course), but it’s possible.

    The ugly comments could be doable, though, thanks to the magic Delete button. I’ve long believed it’s a truly silly attacker who leaves a “hit comment” on any site owned and controlled by a single author who happens to also be the webmaster. And if they tried attacking again and again, just to overwhelm, no problem at all: Then they get marked as spam and WordPresses most excellent, fast-learning Akismet anti-spam program would swiftly figure out comments from those sources were absolutely taboo. Love that Akismet!

    May or may not figure out a good way to write about it in a post so that lots of people will actually see it, but I got a real Valentine’s Day blessing today. Ate supper at the Country House Restaurant in Sierra Vista, went to check out, and found out I owed…NOTHING. A couple with a young baby, seated clear across the room from me, had told their waitress, “We want to pay for that gentleman’s meal, but don’t tell him until after we’re gone.” Guess they felt like showing some love to the “poor fellow” eating alone on Valentine’s Day, just reading his Kindle.

    What loving hearts those two must possess. Their child is most fortunate to have them as parents, seems to me.

  10. Congratulations on the stats, Ghost! Very impressive, indeed.

    I, for one, follow you because of your writing style and the genuine person that you are. As you know, we met on HP years ago and became friends. You welcomed me into your fold where I fell in love with you and Pam.Once you left and created this wonderful site, I happily followed along wagging my tail.

    You’ve got a friend (and fan) for life. Pam, too! 🙂

  11. Thanks, Sha. That image really made my day, you happily following along wagging your tail! 😀

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