Does blog traffic matter?

During the month of April in Beijing, when Sars was at its peak, I was getting as many as 3,000 unique visitors a day, which for me was pretty amazing. Now I feel lucky if I get 150 (though I still keep getting traffic to my old blogspot site, often more than I get here thanks to all the old links out there.)

I knew the minute I left China that I would have to give up most of that traffic; I would no longer be able to post around the clock and I would no longer be a mole in a mysterious country going through an unprecedented political, social and medical crisis. As I’ve said before, controversy is all but unknown here in Singapore, and there isn’t much to take a stand on. And I know that my style of writing plays to a limited audience, to say the least.

So why am I writing this? I guess I am just feeling philosophical, wondering whether this exercise is worth the time and effort. I’m not calling for a vote; I’m going to continue because I enjoy it and I keep making new cyberfriends, even now when my traffic is at a trickle. Still, I have to say, those days when I knew thousands of people were coming to my dinky site to read about what Beijing was going through — that was one of the most exciting times of my life. Not necessarily happy, but certainly exciting, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it.

Okay, pardon this little cathartic exercise. All part of my effort to come to terms with Singapore and my new life here….

The Discussion: 14 Comments

I for one, never read you blog during SARS, but have enjoyed discovering it in the last few weeks.

August 4, 2003 @ 1:29 pm | Comment

Keep on writing when you have the time ๐Ÿ™‚

August 4, 2003 @ 1:56 pm | Comment

Richard – you may have posted before, but why are you in Singapore??

August 4, 2003 @ 2:26 pm | Comment

It could be worse… you could be blogging from someplace where nothing EVER happens. Like Belgium.

August 4, 2003 @ 2:27 pm | Comment

*lol* Or a small town in the east of England, where you have to invent reasons to post! :o)

Keep it up, Richard. Your writing and reflections on life are interesting, regardless of where you post from. I read you from Hong Kong. I read you from China. Now I’m reading you from Singapore.

I don’t know much about hits, because I get miniscule hits on my blog, but I keep going because I like it.

It soothes my ego. :o)

August 4, 2003 @ 3:51 pm | Comment

Same here – I hit 19,000 on one day during SARS!!!

Now down to low four figures but only cos of search terms like “malaysian air attendant f*** video”

Amazing. SARS was good for my ego and bad for my credit card.

August 4, 2003 @ 5:48 pm | Comment

It’s true–you haven’t been getting as many hits. But you’re still an interesting blog to read: your political insights are common and beyond reproach, and your writing style is always exciting.

You could be posting from Fargo, North Dakota (there’s not much there–I’ve been) and I would still read you.

August 4, 2003 @ 9:33 pm | Comment

PS: And don’t talk about hits–I’m lucky if I get 10! But it’s true, I’m very new to the game at my current URL.

August 4, 2003 @ 9:34 pm | Comment

150 unique visitors in my book is a lot. I mean, think about it, there are about 100 people in the world that you are having a conversation with that you otherwise simply couldn’t. For me, if I had somewhere around 150-200 unique visitors a day and a healthy dose of comments for many posts, I consider it successful beyond my wildest dreams.

SARS wasn’t good for everyone. I had just gotten started with my blog then and only started really getting noticed until most of sars was already over and done with. I had half the visits then than I have now. I celebrated when Sars Watch listed me on his front page (and was officially a “part of the team”) but SARS was already over by then.

You know that when something else happens in the news all of our traffic will go up. Blog traffic for small fry like us depends almost entirely on news feeds.

August 5, 2003 @ 1:34 am | Comment

Only 150 visitors? But we’re such high quality visitors!

August 5, 2003 @ 6:00 am | Comment

Thanks to everyone for their input on this sensitive topic. When I first started this blog (back in HK, 1,000 years ago), I never thought I would have any site traffic, let alone a few thousand hits on a single day. I guess the thing is, once you’ve tasted it, it kind of hurts to see it fade away. A couple of times I got linked by Dave Winer’s Scripting News, and the numbers would go through the roof for a whole week, and then taper off to the usual trickle. (Even the almighty Instapundit once linked to me, and I never even knew it, as I didn’t have a tracking system at the time.) None of us can deny, it’s a lot more fun watching the numbers soar up as opposed to droppping down. But as one very astute reader wrote in an email today, if your sole objective is to win site traffic, your blog is going to be distorted — it won’t be the “real you” that’s speaking. He’s right; the only time I got linked by the superbloggers was when I wasn’t thinking about them and was just writing from the heart….

August 5, 2003 @ 8:02 am | Comment

Keep in mind when comparing traffic figures that when people discuss their traffic, despite using the same terms, they are often talking about very different things.

I’ve got 5 different traffic tracking programs available to my site and, for the same day, the high measurement “daily unique visitors” is generally about 3X that of the low. Which of those numbers is actually right? Beats me.

If you look at the statistics from Truth Laid Bear’s Traffic Rankings — which relies on Site Meter stats (which seem to have become the generally standard in blogging) — you’ll see that your traffic puts you in the top half to top third of all blogs (assuming Site Meter’s total for your blog would be comparable to that of the tracker you use now).

There are comparatively very few blogs averaging consistently in the low four figures and you can count on both hands the blogs that manage five figures.

So, given the short life of your blog. The number of times you’ve had to suspend blogging and your various relocations, I’d say you’re doing pretty well.

Consider this, how many bloggers can you think of in Asia who are drawing more traffic than you? My guess is a handful, though I have to guess, because alot of the sites I suspect get high traffic do not provide publicly available Site Meter stats (you wankers know who you are).

August 5, 2003 @ 10:34 am | Comment

Conrad, you are too kind. (Imagine, a kind Republican lawyer!) I really appreciate the research, and I didn’t realize I’d attained such giddy heights in the blogosphere. And you’re right –a lot of the traffic data is incomprehensible.

About other Asian bloggers with more traffic, well there’s Phil and BWG and Preston….oh, and I think even you get a wee bit more traffic than I do (damn you!).

August 5, 2003 @ 11:06 am | Comment

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