This website has been online in its current shape for over a year already, however, I’ve only begun to take statistics in June last year. This pronouncedly doesn’t have the purpose of spying out individual visitors, but simply to see more generally, for example, which pages are looked at most and whether people find their way around. IPs are hashed by the plugin that analyzes my site traffic, so individual visitors stay anonymous for this purpose.1
Here are some statistics (percentages refer to the total number of hits on June 1, 2012 at 0:00 AM GMT):
- There were 9,158 hits and 7,504 pageviews by 2,986 unique visitors in the last 12 months, not counting downloads of or direct accesses to PDFs, MP3s etc. in “Media.”2
- Very roughly every other visitor is – surprise, surprise! – American (well, 41.2% are), with Germany (11.3%) and the UK (6.8%) following after a huge gap. The bottom three countries in the top 10 at the moment are Australia (1.8%), Italy (1.8%), and Brazil (1.7%).
- The most popular page so far has been the front page (“About;” 23.4%), followed by “Grammar” (12%) and “Alphabet” (11.3%) in close succession.
- The most popular blog articles so far were “Digital Typography for Fictional Writing Systems – A Rant” (6.4%), “Simple Interlinear Glosses Shortcode Plugin for WordPress” (4.8%) and “‘The Problem with Conlanging’ – A Response” (2.6%). That is, not the day-to-day discussion of aspects of my conlang.
- The month that saw most hits was May 2012 (11.9%), followed by August 2011 (11.6%). Most people visited between 7 PM and midnight (GMT), which is no surprise given the origin of most visitors. The beginnings and ends of months interestingly have very few visitors on average – about half as many per day as in the middle of the month.
- Most often, people were referred to my site by a Google search (12.5%), with Google returning my site surprisingly consistently – although with a low rank and little click-through – in image searches for Psalm 23 (generally), kinship terms and English tenses (especially in South- and South-East Asia), and the “Elvish alphabet” (especially in the German-speaking countries).3
- Since I set up this version of the website in March 2011, there were 455 automatically blocked spam comments—as opposed to just 37 valid comments by real people, i.e. a signal-to-noise ratio of 8.1%. Spammers are especially attracted by “Tense and Aspect in Ayeri IV” (and in this case mostly advertising pills, porn, and false passports) and “Digital Typography for Fictional Writing Systems – A Rant” (mostly advertising luxury brands of clothing and clothing accessories) even though the comment field for those articles has rather long been closed now.
Now, what’s a little unfortunate from my perspective is that, correlated with the number of most-looked-at pages, 2½ average page views per unique visitor means that people will typically hit the front page first, then proceed to “Grammar,” and maybe even to “Alphabet.” However, surprisingly few people seem to be interested in “Media,” actually (5.2%).
As I said, that’s a little disappointing to me because “Media,” in my own opinion, is where the cool stuff is. And it’s usually the first thing I’m looking for when browsing the sites of other conlangers, just to get a taste of what their work looks and feels like. In my experience, people enjoy looking at and listening to things rather than reading lengthy treatises. Thus, it’s not really a surprise only few people seem to be interested in the blog part of my site, or even proceed to click on individual articles4 – with the important exception of more essayistic pieces, which are probably more entertaining reading material than my average blog article that discusses some aspect of grammar I was thinking about at the time.
However, the blog is where most discussion of grammar actually happens these days, since I never get myself to edit that humongous PDF file, although I’ve been meaning to for so long. It scares me, somehow. Most people interested in the bare, hard facts don’t seem to notice that, though, and persistently go to the big grammar PDF only, as though this was the be-all and end-all comprehensive illustration of my work. But it evidently isn’t. Especially since developing a conlang is a dynamic process, which is why I decided to more prominently advertize the more lively parts of my website right on the “Grammar” page some weeks ago, trying to cater to both the die-hard grammatologist and the person who simply wants to enjoy the more artistic fruits of theoretical work by referring either of them to more up-to-date information than provided in the big PDF in both structural and artistic respects. However, these pointers seem to be mostly ignored.
Now, I don’t want to prescribe how people should be using this website, but I am nonetheless interested in providing an overview as encompassing as possible and I hope that people are aware of the different facets of my work. In so far, I am going to continue the way I’ve managed this site before. I hope that this article could raise awareness to maybe also look at the other side of things respectively in order to get a more well-rounded impression of what I am doing as an on-and-off hobby here.
- The server currently keeps monthly access logs, however, for security purposes. ↩
- These aren’t handled by WordPress, so the plugin I’m using doesn’t count them. ↩
- And now it’ll possibly find my site even more relevant for these topics … SEO-advertizing spambots will do so likewise. Also, as far as German speakers searching for images or descriptions of Tengwar goes, it’s interestingly the same for my German translation of the Language Construction Kit, where actual conlanging-related searches rank surprisingly low, and Tengwar is only mentioned in a single place. ↩
- The articles are also mirrored at the Conlangers Blog Aggregator, though. ↩