Status Report 9

Okay, so back in July I said to myself, “Self, how about creating a website on a blog platform to establish an online presence just in case a literary agent ever takes a close look at me again?”

Self: “How on earth is that going to help?”

Me: “If my query and writing sample avoid a form rejection and the agent is interested enough to consider requesting more, one glance at the contact information shows I have a website.”

Self: “So what? You’re never supposed to send an agent to your website for anything.”

Me: “You’re not listening . . . again. It’s like when we go fishing. You know, with lures. We can’t tell the fish to strike, but maybe we can get them interested.”

Self: “That’s a ridiculous comparison and the website is a waste of time. Forget about it.”

Me: “You’re probably right. But at this point, I’ll try anything.”

So I did, and previous entries in this Blogbook have reported on the status of this effort. The last two reports noted installation of a spam filter and a Count-per-day plug-in, both of which appear to be on duty and steadfast in meeting their assigned responsibilities.

As of this writing, 176 spams have been blocked, and the Count-per-day stats show 665 visitors and 957 reads. The post titled, “Blog Backstory (CAUTION! Info Dump)” remains in first place in terms of attracting the most visitors (40). For the life of me, I cannot figure out why.

In “Status Report 7,” I mentioned my original (and erroneous) assumption that visitor comments would provide a measure of traffic through the site. When the reality became apparent, I revised both my goals and expectations. Leaving for another time the question of whether the website can have any beneficial effect on getting an agent, how do I evaluate the success of trying to establish an online presence?

First, define success, and for me that’s relatively simple: write a post that interests first-time visitors enough to read another and/or visit again. Better yet, the visitor bookmarks the site, and even better, signs up for an RSS feed. The problem, of course, is that I have no way to divine these levels of success from the raw count-per-day stats. Nor can I answer the far more important question of how visitors end up at the site to begin with.

The only thing I’m sure of is that few if any visitors started by searching for me or my site by name. And since I’ve performed no key-word analysis, I have no reason to believe that visitors end up here in any significant numbers by searching for specific topics. At this point, only one factor stands out as even remotely germane: the effect of site activity as indicated by fresh content.

Since July 29, 2010, 10 front-page displays and 87 posts in 9 categories indicate to the online world out there that this isn’t a static website. Based on my limited knowledge and in the absence of other indicators, I can only conclude that activity attracts attention. I hate to be so tacky as to borrow a well known acronym, but it’s kind of catchy: AAA and traffic go together.

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