Friday, September 28, 2007

~ search me and know my heart ~

Some of you may have noticed a little sitemeter at the bottom of my page. I just added this feature after hearing people talk about how many “hits” their site gets daily. I’m not sure this is the best meter, as it seems to count each person each time they visit, rather than only counting unique visitors. It is also yet another way to distract myself during the day, clicking over at random intervals to see what kinds of visitors are stopping by, so I will probably be removing it soon.

One of the most fascinating features of the sitemeter for me is that it displays how people found your site. Some visitors click the address in directly. Some click over from friends’ sites on which I commented or who have set up links to my site. The most intriguing visitors for me, however, are those who end up on my site using search engines. Seriously, I thought the game where you google yourself and see what comes up was fun – but this is exceeds that form of entertainment.

Unfortunately, most of the people who end up on my site from the search engines have a visit length of “0 second” (sitemeter tracks that). Only one search engine visitor had an extended stay (20 seconds), but that could have been that he was distracted by his boss walking past or spilling his morning coffee on himself.

There are the obvious people who end up on my site because they are searching musical references. Someone from an “unknown” location who speaks English performed a yahoo search for “lyrics Benjamin del shreve pretend that brilliant charming” and ended up here. A vampire slayer from Sunnyvale, California googled “townes van zandt for the sake of the song” and was rewarded with this post. And some depressed emo kid searched for “falling in love with morrissey” and got stuck reading some old chick’s memoirs of discovering new wave music.

Some searches were a bit strange, and had me puzzled as to what they were actually looking for. The internet is a weird little world where the most bizarre information is only a few clicks away. Apparently, there is something known as a “bohemian birth chart”. Or, at least, someone in Omaha, Nebraska thinks there is. The best answer my blog could offer her was a post on the writing life. A French visitor from a town with the lovely little name of “Villers-Is-Nancy” (Lorraine, France) did a translated google search for “my space steve barefooter” and received the translated reasoning of why I should move to Canada. That nice Frenchman should stay far away from this fellow countryman (Castres, Midi-Pyrenees, France), who performed a search for “bound and barefoot” and was luckily only directed to my front page (no related posts, only the “barefoot” connection).

A few disappointed souls were obviously misled by placing their trust in google. Someone from the United States looking for “barefoot shane” was directed to my homepage. Shane doesn’t live here. I don’t know how to get in touch with Shane. I don’t know Shane. I am truly sorry for the misdirection. Another US searcher was looking for “bohemian style pillows” and, like our friend from “Villers-Is-Nancy”, was directed to my post on moving to Canada (the English version). In all fairness, she was directed to the 3/07 archive… so maybe google was trying to direct her further down to the “waiting for a house” post, but she gave up after 0 seconds. Still another disappointed visitor searched in vain for a “history of bohemian fashion” and was subjected to my ramblings on my personal fashion history.

The final visitors should have stuck around. We probably could have developed deep and lasting on-line friendships. Perhaps the visitor from Eugene, Oregon was turned off by the fact that their search for “dating advice bohemian” led to a post titled “how not to get married”. If they had only given me a chance, they would have seen that I am neither anti-marriage nor anti-bohemian dating (whatever that may be). A visitor from out in Provo, Utah searched for “circle of quiet book club discussion” and landed on my apparently less-than-enticing book review. Oh, what kindred spirits we might have made.

The visitor I most regret not getting a chance to interact with was from Lambeth, London, UK and searched for “bohemian christian communities” and was directed to my homepage. I repeat, the person googled “bohemian christian communities”. Come back! Stick around! Read more posts! Don’t go! I’ll bake you some cookies and brew some coffee and we can hang out and share stories and make plans. I’ll tell you all about how Goldberry’s quotes will frame my doorways. You can tell me about what prompted your search.

Obviously the sitemeter and I cannot coexist for long. I am too curious to just let it be. But it is nonetheless pleasant to know that I get visitors from hither and yon, even if they are simply passersby. How do I lay out the welcome mat in such a way that people feel invited in, free to wander around, comfortable enough to sit a spell? How do you extend hospitality on the web? Y’all come back now, you hear?


Kimberly said...

as soon as I posted this, I had two new "search" posts (I sooo need to get rid of this sitemeter):

someone from the University of Nebraska Medical Center googled "bohemian birth chart" again. a venti pumpkin latte to whoever can tell me what a "bohemian birth chart" is and why Nebraskans find it so intriguing...

a visitor from Constanta, Romania stayed a whole 13 seconds after googling "i'm intrigued" and ending up on this post.

Angela said...

i just put up a sitemetre on my blogs a few days ago, and i'm getting rid of it, too. sheesh, those things are addictive.
(hey, and thanks for the links!)

Angelika said...

I love my sitemeter ... I'm not going to get rid of it any time soon ... it's so much fun to see who acutally ends up on my blog.

My favorite "search posts" are for: "Krampler"- and they happen quite often - where people end up on my "Krampus" posts.
There's also somebody at the University of Minnesota who once in a while searches for "Yetty Shobo Nzombola".

Kimberly said...

today someone searched for "new monasticism vs community development". they didn't stay. that's it - i'm removing the sitemeter... it makes me sad that these people are out there & don't want to be my friend. :)

Ines said...

i'll just tell you myself without the help of your sitemeter- yours is the ONLY blog that I know how to spell by heart- and if i want to go to anyone else's, I just go to your list of my friends. Hope that makes you feel special. :-)but what an intriguing little thing! how do i put it on my blog? talk to me like I'm a BABY- i'm naive with the computer.

Ines said...

and why don't I have a cute little picture along with my comment? *sigh* i've GOT to GET with the program....

Kimberly said...

Ines ~
We can have a tutorial session when I get back from the CCDA conference. : )

Though, since y'all have a "special" template, we may have to call in reinforcements (i.e. Rob and Josh).