I don’t understand the way people come to this blog. WordPress are remarkably informative, but their information confuses me. Sometimes the process is obvious. Richard Nokes kindly links one of my posts, I get a shedload more readers, this I understand. I don’t know how many, because I guess most people are reading through feeds, and WordPress only counts actual direct hits, but I see the effect on that. (I guess that means, in fact, that I will see more effect from links than from anything else but that that doesn’t necessarily relate to regular readership.)
But sometimes the information I get makes no damn sense at all. The day that I drafted this, apparently, I got fourteen hits from the blogroll beside an old, worthy and sane but uncommented and ancient, post of Another Damned Medievalist. Surely this is someone’s browser going mad, and not real information? It goes on. The same day, more people read the well-hidden Sex and Medievalists post than any other. But this seems to be because hits on the actual front page (which linked to it at the time of drafting) aren’t separately recorded so the click-through shows up as most important even though it wasn’t really because more people read what’s up front. Certainly only one of the search engine strings WordPress tells me of would have led there, and mainly what those tell me, comfortingly but uselessly, is that my little First Crusade paper is something people want to find. This is useless because it wasn’t actually a blog post so although it’s nice to know it’s being useful, without reorienting my research by some way it’s not something I can develop further for the readership’s benefit.
So what this means is that actually, although WordPress is trying very hard, I don’t really know what people are reading and what they’re skimming, what brings you here and what sends you away, unless you comment. Now, this blog was originally set up as self-publicity after a suggestion at a party by someone who seemed to believe that the blogosphere was the new Stock Market. This is why for example I don’t mention rejections or lack of progress in it; I get them, as does everyone at my level I think, but I don’t necessarily want prospective employers or rivals to find this out easily. (No, I don’t really have any rivals, fair enough. Anyway.)
But even such readership as I do have makes me wonder whether I shouldn’t be bearing them in mind as well. Currently I just spout whatever I’m currently finding interesting into draft posts, and then stick them up when the action seems a bit quiet webwise. (This is also good for last-minute reconsideration of exactly where I’m hyperlinking to or whom I’m arguing with, I’m finding…) But is that floating your boats?
I therefore tentatively invite feedback, from anyone that might wish to give it. For example, I have categories set up, many of which I hardly use, for:
- Currently reading… (mini-reviews and outraged spluttering)
- General medieval (i. e., ‘this is not really my area…’)
- Anglo-Saxons (which only used to be my area)
- Crusades (I keep forgetting this is there)
- England (I do live there)
- Islamic Crescent
- Humour (for want of a better word)
- Next paper is due (advertisements and panic)
- Now working on… (doesn’t everyone use the web as a sounding board nowadays?)
And these, apart from the last, are sort of the areas that I know my way in, a bit. Some more than a bit. If you have no other feedback, let me ask you, would you like to see more use of any of these and if so which? Or some other? If there seems to be some definite movement I’ll try and come up with a Que sais-je? kind of post or two or some recent relevance. If not, I’ll assume things are probably OK as they’re going. But thankyou in advance if you do have feedback to add.
Also in a metablog kind of way, hey Carolingian, nice to meet you but dammit next time I buy the lunch, all right? :-)