I had a bizarre spike in my very humble site traffic today. I noticed all through the day I was getting almost twice my usual traffic, and when I looked at the referral sites, I saw a huge number of hits to an old and insignificant post I wrote titled “Spaceballs 2.” (It was about China’s space program.) Well, today it turns out that comedy director Mel Brooks announced he was putting out a sequel to his dreadful movie Spaceballs, and of course it’ll be called Spaceballs 2. And lots of Brooks fans were scouring the Net for information.
It’s nice to get a surge like this, and sometimes the visitors actually hang around a while. But most flee almost instantly when they see the post is unrelated to what they’re looking for, and that drives down the average number of minutes each user stays — a far more reliable indicator of your blog’s success than the mere number of unique visitors.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.