The focus of this blarg has never been to rack up huge numbers of readers or views. Those things are nice — it’s nifty to watch the spinning wheels of the virtual odometer on the wall click over and reach new heights — but, even almost two years after I laid down the first lexile brick here on my corner of the net, the purpose is the same as it was: to think and write about the process of my “real” writing, and to serve as a release valve to vent my spleen from time to time.
Still, it’s neat to see those numbers grow. And while it would be hard to call my readership a horde, there’s an uptick that’s measurable. 1000 more views from my first year to my second. I’ve already had as many unique visitors this year as in last year, with three months to go. Which means that my little imprint here is growing, that more people are reading what I’m shouting into what I so often think of as the void.
And that inevitably causes me to wonder how people end up at my site, and for those that end up clicking around a little bit, what makes them stay. Usually I have no idea. WordPress reveals my “trends” and my most popular posts to me, but there’s little rhyme or reason there. This year, the top of the pops has been my “Do You Wanna Go To Target” bit of fluff, composed after listening to the Frozen soundtrack for roughly the three-thousandth time when my wife and I were making a day run to Target. Then there’s a little muser of a piece I popped off about the symbolism and the ubiquity of light and dark in literature, which gets a handful of hits every week. And then, it’s been a constant head-scratcher ever since I penned it, but the story I didn’t write about giving my son an enema never seems to leave the top five.
Still, trends seem to balance out and I have a more-or-less regular crew of readers, I think. Unless I go crazy and write four or five posts a week, I usually get about ten reads a day. And while that’s not shattering any internet records or anything — I mean, if I wanted views and clicks, I’d go spout profanity about Donald Trump while wearing a fire helmet and slathering myself in chocolate sauce on youtube or something — it’s an extra little kick in the pants to keep me writing, knowing that there are people out in the cyberverse picking up what I’m putting down.
But then there are the outlier days, like this wekend, that strike like lightning and with about as much explanation. Saturday, my website was accessed from eleven countries. Eleven! Imagine, the drivel I penned while sitting on my couch with my lazy golden retriever sitting next to me and my kids strewing Legos across the living room floor (setting traps for my tender feet), somehow made it, literally, to the far corners of the globe. Wild. And then, Sunday, my website had over 100 views. A hundred! That’s never happened, and I have no idea why it happened. I can hope that some doppelganger, some kindred spirit, read some old post of mine and spent hours plumbing the depths of my site, nodding his (or her!) head in silent, shocked agreement and wonder. Equally possible, I guess, is that it was a gaggle of readers whose cats fell asleep on their keyboards and kept hitting the refresh key.
Who can figure these things out? Determining what will resonate with readers is about as easy as reading your future in the entrails of the hobo you killed and buried in the crawl space. Which is to say, tricky at the very least.
As usual, the only thing to do is keep writing.
Thanks for reading.
Or, maybe, thanks to your cat for falling asleep on the keys.