To Wallow in Obscurity
Posted on October 12, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 24 Comments
Someone noted in comments that one of the consequences of moving the site to a new host — and of changing its url — is that I might be wrecking my Technorati ranking for a fair amount of time, since all the old links point to the old site, and the new ones will point here, and Technorati might not count them as coming to the same place.
That’s entirely possible if Technorati doesn’t automatically make the switch, and the image above shows the disparity in ranking between the old Whatever and the new. But that’s not all of it, either. I also lose the ability to accurately count how many people are visiting the site, since now the numbers are split between the new site for daily visitors, and the old site for pre-10/07 archives. This is not insignificant since my archives are in fact very active, thanks to some stuff in there that’s perennially popular, like “Being Poor” and Bacon Cat and my advice to teenage writers, all of which get thousands of visits monthly. Those visits get recorded by 1&1.com (where the Scalzi.com domain remains housed), but none of the visits to the current Whatever get noted, because they’re redirected to the new host. WordPress.com and 1&1.com use different stat suites, so it’s hard to make one-to-one comparisons regarding traffic.
Now, as it happens, we’ll be porting the archives into the new install — it’s happening already, in fact — and then we’ll set up redirects so the most popular pieces in the archive come here instead of the old site. But all of this takes time and in the meantime my ability to count the number of people who pop by the site on the daily basis is compromised. My assumption is that traffic is not going to change hugely one way or another (my ability to count people as they come through the turnstiles is not a factor in whether people choose to walk through the turnstiles at all), but until everyone’s reliably coming the new site instead of the old, it’ll be difficult to say one way or the other.
Does any of this matter? In the short run, outside of the ego of a high Technorati ranking and the fun of looking at my stats, no, not really. It’s just interesting to me in a technical sense, and points out that estimating eyeballs online is something of an inexact science.
It also lets me know that I need to learn to get used to WordPress’s stats counters. I had them for the old site but didn’t use them too much because, well, they didn’t cover the whole site like the 1&1 stats package did. But now they’ll have more direct application and that’s work paying attention to. One of the features that I like is that now in addition to seeing how many visits there are to the site, I can also see how many people are reading a particular entry through syndication. This is something I didn’t have before, even using the WP stats on my own site, and it’s very cool; something new for me to geek out about, in any event. And, clearly, I do love geeking out on this stuff.
Typo: “Being Boor” -> “Being Poor”
Why does Giacomo ass-u-me it is a typo? “Being Boor” is a fave of mine. I fondly recall John’s essay on loutish cocktail party behavior, tedious conversational styles, off-color jokes and lecherous advances. And can’t we look forward to this as a chapbook from Sub-Press soon?
Wait, I was confused – apologies. “Being Boor” was John’s alt-history masterpiece about a young man defending his family in the Transvaal Republic against the dastardly British Empire. (Also well worthy of independent publication by the wonderful folks at Sub-Press.)
That low ranking will only enhance your Everyman cred.
I would highly recommend Google Analytics (http://www.google.com/analytics/) as a stat counter. It’s free, works great, and you plug it into any site you want as long as you can access the code. It gives some of the best statistics on website traffic I have seen. I use it for work as well as personal websites.
Just a little buggish note, titles of pages are appearing as things like:
“WhateverTo Wallow In Obscurity <<”
in the Firefox title bar.
I think you’re all confused … John Scalvi wrote “Being Boor.” It was a critical treatise on Othello. And before you ask, he’s not the best typist, either.
Justme – was that before or after Scalvi’s manifesto about our doomed ecology and his invention of the internet?
You mean “An Inconvenient Boor”?
“Inconvenient Boor” was good but I prefer his earlier works “Boor and Me” and “Booring for Columbine”
Man, what a lame site. Hardly anyone links to it…
Now, as it happens, we’ll be porting the archives into the new install — it’s happening already, in fact
I’ve just noticed that the March 2002-July 2005 archives are now available. Speaking of archives, what are you going to do of the contents of “By The Way”?
While you have all this spare time, you should whip out your photoshop and “carve” jack-o-lantern faces on all those pumpkins. It would make a great picture.
Should “work paying attention to” be “worth paying attention to”?
Like most any of these things, WP stats are relative.
I recently remodeled my own web site (finally got up to the latest WP release) and at the same time flipped on caching. According to WP stats, I’ve lost a third of my traffic… while my hosts logs say I’ve kept the same amount of visitors and upped my page views per each (and Google Analytics agrees.)
Meanwhile, over at Feedburner, it appears that my subscribers have dropped by *two thirds*. That one has me scratching my head; I don’t know that caching can account for that.
My Feedburner Subscribers come and go on practically on hourly basis. Fickle bunch if you ask me.
As to web counters etc., it is my experience that if you have five stat engines on your site you’ll get five different daily figures.
Let’s see, for Oct 11th it was
Blog Stats: 17
Google Analytics: 10
Huge disparity, aint there?
atleast its never booring to come and see whats new or Whatever.
also: I think Zoe’s tale is my favorite out of the 4 OMW books i’ve read. wish there was more of her four eyed friends though
Boor John. It’s the bumbkins header that is scaring away the readers.
I’ve officially done my part to boost your new URL’s Technorati ranking, John. The link on my personal blog has been updated.
What’s wrong with wallowing in obscurity?
I wallow in obscurity.
Am I supposed to be seeing something besides just text and hyperlinks? B’c for me, the site is a white background with black text and blue hyperlinks… and that’s all I see. Just wondering if this is how Whatever is supposed to look right now or if I’m missing out on some formatting.
You’re missing out on something. I don’t know why it’s not rendering for you.
Odd. Everything was rendering fine before the shift. Ah well, it may be a function of my environment… I have netnazis watching over me and making sure I’m secure, they may be blocking stuff from this provider that they weren’t from your last. At least I can read, that’s the important thing!