12 November 2012


The first post on this blog was on 30 October 2010, just over two years ago. Since then I’ve averaged about two posts a week - this will be number 211. According to Google’s statistics, there have been nearly 17,500 page views, which averages out at about 80 views per post. The most popular post so far has been one about David Hockney with over 500 pageviews and there are another five with over 150. So a lot of posts are getting well below the average (ie the mean). These are small numbers by comparison with a lot of other bloggers (eg Thin Pinstriped Line who has had over 135,000 pageviews on 86 posts since starting a year ago, about 20 times as many pageviews per post).

What Google doesn’t tell me (or doesn’t actually know) is whether the postviewer finds what they were looking for, if they’ve arrived from a search. Or whether in reality the views are coming from automated ‘bots’ gathering data for search engine indexes. I wouldn’t be surprised if 80% of pageviews are unsatisfactory or spurious. I suppose that when a postview follows from a @WestIndep Tweet which has drawn attention to a post and indicated its subject, there is a better chance of satisfaction, albeit slight.

I have wondered whether some posts are too long. An article in The Times recently by Esther Walker, How to be a blogger, proposed 400 words per post, because:
Reading a lot of text on a screen isn’t practical, and any piece of writing is more interesting when it is short. It is so easy, with the unlimited space of the internet, to ramble on — but that is a turn-off for readers.
Someone commenting didn’t agree:
1000 word articles are not too long to read on a screen (the above article [Walker’s] is 852 words and I consider it bite-sized). Frankly, a blog post should be as long as it needs to be. If you have nothing much to say, then a short post is fine. Rambling is bad, but you are no longer constrained by column inches in a newspaper, and if a blog post needs 2,000 words, and those are 2,000 brilliant words, then people will read them.
Since a recent book review here was over 4,800 words and what I considered a short post was over 1,200 (again including quotes), I’m inclined to agree with the comment. My problem is lack of brilliance! But I set out as a blogger to amuse myself and stimulate the grey cells – anything’s better than Sudoku, surely. Also I’d like to think blogging has led to a little more discipline in assessing what I read and see than otherwise would have been the case. And some of the small number of comments I’ve had suggest that occasionally the blog provides something of interest.
 [473 words above, by the way!]


  1. Just to let you know that I am not a bit and I enjoy reading your posts. Found the blog via on line reading about Hockney but have been following since. You wrote "I have wondered whether some posts are too long". On a TV programme about his return to the UK, Hockney said that people often asked him why he stayed as it was too rainy and wet, and he said: too wet for whom? The country is green and fish and the ducks are happy. Well, quite. Too long for whom? Posts should be along as they need to be to get said what needs saying. Breaking text up into lots ofparagraphsis helpful, though.

    1. Thank you for your encouraging comments - I will try to make the paragraphs shorter!

  2. Might I (David Martin) agree with KarenR's comment on Western Independent? My visits are not frequent - every 2-3 weeks - but most are rewarded by finding something of interest, and I admire how statistical and other data are handled in such a comprehensible way. Only seldom does a comment seem possible, as the 'cultural' blogs are about exhibitions, films etc I haven't seen, and I tend to agree with, or be neutral about, those on other topics. Which leaves room for just the occasional pedantic observation on blogs concerned with recent political history.

    1. Thank you for such kind and encouraging comments. Your pedantic observations are most welcome - see the next post!