Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Housekeeping; Meta Post

When this blog started I had no imagination for what it would become and as a result, it was not very organized. Until just recently it has lacked even the simple blog element of tags (or categories). I have now gone back and tagged every blog post. Now if you want to just see posts that include tactics problems, simply click on the "Tactics" category on the sidebar.

I think this is a major upgrade to the useability of the blog. For example, I've made a number of posts where I criticize or point out flaws in CT-Art. These are now all easily found by clicking on the "CT-Art errors" category. So if you want a rather disorganized snapshot of a user's experience with CT-Art, there you go. If you'd rather see what I've done with CTS, there's a link for that too. If you're interested in seeing what kind of chess is being played by a USCF Class B player, check out the tactics/diagrams posts or the Full games posts (note: full games posts contain links to games posted at chesslog).

The increase in useability is good for me personally (yes, I do read my own blog -- I was thinking what?!), but a secondary reason for it is the recent revelation that there are in fact people who visit this blog. Which is the subject of the next part of the post.

The remainder of this post is mildly embarrassing as I didn't realize until somewhat recently how many people come to visit this blog. Don't get me wrong, the numbers aren't huge, but I always figured it was only a couple people who ever saw it. A few months ago Blue Devil Knight made a post about blog cred and a couple weeks later I had installed Google Analytics to see if anyone comes here. The results have been enlightening.

First, not many people visit this blog as a result of search engines. About 10% of all visits were as a result of a search engine. The largest sources of traffic are links from other blogs. This blog is linked on the sidebars of a couple very popular blogs and this results in a large fraction of visits. An even larger driver of traffic is being linked to in a post rather than on the sidebar. There was a big spike in referrals from Likesforests blog when he linked to one of my king and pawn endgame posts. The bottom line is that people visit by following links from other blogs.

The second interesting thing that I notice is that most visitors are first time visitors and only 1 in 5 come back for a second visit. There also seems to be a core of visitors that come frequently enough to see nearly every post (but I probably know these people from the comments already). The large majority of people who are new to the site is one of the reasons for the increased useability. If the site is potentially interesting to them, I might as well make it as easy as possible to navigate to the interesting content.

Next is something I saw someone else write about on their blog -- the geography of visitors. Chess blogs attract visitors from all over the world. Over 59% of my visits are from the US and 30% from Europe (90% of those from Western and Northern Europe), but there are also visits from the rest of the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Australia. I am the only visitor from my current city of residence. But I was very happy to see a few visits from Mexico City during the World Championship there. A side effect, based on a conjecture, is that I now believe there are search engine spiders operating out of Los Altos, California and Rock Island, Illinois.

Being from academia, the following excerpt from the list of network locations intrigues me: Duke University, universitaet trier trier, technical university of crete, university of chicago, williams college campus, bucknell university, dartmouth college, indiana univerity-purdue university at indianapolis, massachusettes institute of technology, rutgers university, southern illinois university, university of kansas, university of lausanne, and western iowa tech cc.


At 12:42 PM, Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Some very interesting data, especially about the post versus sidebar links. I always kinda figured sidebars are more for a bloggers' personal use and that other people use their own sidebars, not others, to navigate content. That's a Master's Thesis topic in Information Science right there :)

At 12:44 PM, Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

P.S. Man the Cobras really need to get on the ball with their blogging (I don't care if they lose every round, as long as they blog effectively about it :) )

At 4:08 PM, Blogger Loomis said...

One reason that I'm usually not up to date with my sidebar is that I just use other people's! Recently I've been doing better keeping mine in good shape, but it's just so much easier to use yours or BCC's.

I would also guess that there are a number of people who read blogs, but don't have a blog of their own. It seems the easiest way to navigate the 'sphere would be using the sidebar links.


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