Friday, January 4, 2013

Ten Thousand and Counting

When I reached a thousand pageviews on this blog, I shared the news.  I may have also mentioned two thousand.  But it seemed too self-congratulatory to mention each thousand as they rolled by.  However, shortly after this post is published, the pageview count will reach ten thousand.  And that landmark seems worthy of a look back and a recheck of my bearings.

To be clear, ten thousand pageviews doesn’t mean that ten thousand people read each blog post that I publish.  I wish it meant that, although sixty-thousand eyes per week would trigger even more frequent writer’s blocks.

No, ten thousand pageviews means that there ten thousand times when someone looked at one of my posts.  Over the 174 posts to date, that’s about sixty per posts.  Actually, I use a weighted rolling average to judge my sustained readership.  The number was in the mid-40s when I first began calculating it eight months.  It gradually grew, finally reaching 100 in mid-November.  The holidays pushed it back below 100, although I anticipate a post-holiday rebound.  (Come on everyone, the holidays are over.  Get back to your reading lists!)

Sure, I wish my sustained readership was well above 100, but even 100 is pretty cool.  It means that there are 100 people who find what I say worth returning to again and again.  And any writer would be gratified by loyalty.  Now, the challenge is to push the number to 200 and beyond.  Urbanism needs more adherents.  And our communities need urbanism.

I should note that I’m only able to track pageviews on my own website.  Most of my posts are co-published on Petaluma Patch, for which I’m very appreciative.  A fair number of my posts also migrate to other North Bay Patches.  Patch doesn’t maintain pageview tallies for bloggers, so I can only guess what my total readership might be.  But it seems likely that as many or more people find me on Patch as on my own website, so my total readership might be 200 per post and 20,000 all-time.  But I’m an engineer, so I’ll limit myself to the data I can actually count.

Digging into the pageview data yields some interesting insights.  My most viewed post to-date was from all the way back on March 14.  It dealt with how retailers end up, or don’t end up, in particular buildings.  It included a link to an Atlantic Cities article on how a Washington, D.C. building owner was soliciting ideas from the neighborhood around his building.  Many readers of that post were referred to my blog by a Washington, D.C. blog.  So people were using a local blog to link to a California blog to link to a national blog to learn about a situation in their own neighborhood.  The internet can be puzzling at times

Not surprisingly, about two-thirds of all pageviews are from the U.S.  But the other nations in the top ten, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Sweden, Ukraine, Poland, and the Philippines, aren't exactly what I would have expected.  Although an interest in urbanism from any quarter of the globe is welcome.

Also, Internet Explorer is the top browser among the pageviews, with about 44 percent.  The other top browsers are Firefox, Safari, and Chrome.  I’ll guess that the use of Internet Explorer among the general internet population is greater than 44 percent, which means that I’m attracting a greater than average audience from the creative class.  Which makes me happy.  Even if I’m one of the none-creative ones still using Internet Explorer.

Lastly, the most common Google search by which my blog was found was “tom wolfe modern architecture”.  Huh?  Of all the topics I’ve touched, that is how more people find me?  Once again, the internet can be puzzling at times.

So, where do I go from here?  Mostly, it’ll be matter of keeping on keeping on.  I’m happy with the audience I’ve found, although growth will always be a good thing.  I’ve previously suggested that I’d be willing to share some of my thrice-weekly posts if someone had a willingness to become a partner.  I’m not sure that’s true any longer.  I find myself with more than enough topics to fill three posts per week.  But if someone is willing to take over Tuesdays and/or Thursdays on a sustained basis, we can talk.  You know where to find me.

Also, I need to parley a year of credibility into more action.  Petaluma Urban Chat is one good forum.  I also have opportunities to cross-pollinate with other blogs, which is a direction I will follow.

I receive a few complaints about the difficulty of commenting on Google Blogspot.  I need either to find a solution or to look at a different platform.

Lastly, my key is to remember that this blog and its pageviews aren’t the end products.  Changing how we physically structure our communities is the ultimate goal.  This blog is just one of many means to that end.

Thanks for joining me for the first ten thousand pageviews.  But it’s only the beginning.

As always, your questions or comments will be appreciated.  Please comment below or email me.  And thanks for reading. - Dave Alden (


  1. Way back in '98, I remember checking my server logs and discovering that 40 people a day were reading my blog. 40 people! A day! I was blown away. At some point that grew to on the order of 1,500, before the blogging revolution hit and suddenly there were more than 10 or 15 of us providing random daily musings on whatever was interesting.

    And when a friend of mine gamed Google to make one of my posts the second hit for "French Military Victories" back as the Iraq war was ramping up, and I dealt with the influx of stupid comments, I realized that what mattered wasn't the number of readers, commenters and participants in my little community, it was the quality of them.

    I haven't checked my logs in years, but I suspect that I'm back down in the tens of regular readers. And that's fine.

    So congrats on 10k reads, may you continue to inform and intelligently provoke, and I hope that as time goes on you develop a community that amplifies the thoughtful contemplations you've got going here.

    1. Dan, thanks for the comments. I love the story about "French Military Victories".

      I have an inconsistent relationship with the pageview total. For one, I don't completely trust the data. Oh, I believe the pageview total is accurately reported, but I'm not sure what they're counting. If someone reads one of my posts and clicks on links to a couple of earlier posts, is that one pageview or three? And that's before I think about the number of folks who read on Patch.

      For another, I really just care that my total readership stays above twenty-five or so. Lower than that, I'd continue the blog, but would cease being so rigorous about my publication schedule.

      Lastly, I like seeing the numbers grow, but I won't simplify or contort my beliefs in order to foster quicker growth. My primary goal is to honestly write what I believe. But if I tweak my presentation in a way that will attract a few more readers, then I owe it to urbanism to do that.

      And that's a lot of different burdens to put on a single-dimensional cummulative pageview total.