It should be obvious that I write this blog in hopes of other people reading it. I have no advertising on my site and certainly no one is paying me to write it. I do get some satisfaction out of the creative effort and working on this blog has certainly improved my ability to express my thoughts but in all reality I write this blog in hopes that people will read it. You’re right, it’s an ego thing.

I get hundreds of visits daily. If all of those were people reading my blog, I’d be a very happy man. Alas, it’s not hard to guess that the visits from Yahoo, Google and Microsoft aren’t humans reading my posts. It’s not hard to guess that the visitors from China reading the same post five times every day aren’t really that enamored with my writing. It’s a little  harder when a visitor reads two or three posts and leaves. Human or not?

Starting with the basics, how do I know my blog is being looked at? When you look at page on my blog, your browser requests the server assigned to me at GoDaddy to send the text and pictures that make up the page on my blog. In order to make sure you get the right information, your browser tells my server your IP address, your domain name and the browser type. All this information in this request is logged in temporary files called logs.

Being slightly on the paranoid side, I use Wordfence to read my visitor logs. Wordfence shows me what page was requested, if that page actually existed and makes a guess on whether or not the visitor is human. Wordfence is very useful for seeing suspicious activity on my site, such as my visitors from China who were requesting the same page five times in a row every day. I still don’t know what that was all about.

Human or not?

Log from Wordfence. Humans or not?

What I have learned is that many of my visitors, while human, have no interest in reading what I write. Some of these people are only interested in leaving comments telling you where you can buy cheap drugs or enhancements. Between WordPress and Wordfence, I don’t have too much trouble with these spammers but they still try. Having to leave an email address when you leave a comment is one of the ways WordPress distinguishes you from a spammer.

Then there’s the SEO analysts. I guess it’s a measure of success that people(?) visit my site to see what keywords I’m using and how their clients can improve their SEO ranking, at the expense of my own ranking obviously. These are the people that go directly to a page and only visit one or two specific pages on my blog.

Jetpack log for Sunday 9/21/2014

Jetpack log for Sunday 9/21/2014

Wordfence is a great program for security but really poor for gathering statistics about my visitors. I can’t fault it for that, it’s not intended to keep track of my visitors. To do that I use two other programs to keep track of my visitors, three actually, if you count the weekly report I get from Google. These programs categorize my visitors by the post(s) they read, their location and by the method they found me. All three give me fancy charts on my human visitors, graphs on my most popular posts, graphs on the keywords they used to find me and graphs on how many posts they read. I even get graphs on which search engine they were using.

StatCounter

Stats from Statcounter for Sunday 9/21/2014

It should give you an idea how difficult it is to tell who’s human from bots, spammers, hackers and analysts, when I tell you the programs seldom agree on which visitors are human. All three of my logs are taken from the same time on Sunday 9/21/2014.  They’re usually close but seldom identical. Notice all the different countries in the Statcounter log.

Worse, how do I know that my visitors are actually reading my blog once they get there? At the best of times Google will mislead people into thinking my blog contains something they’re interested in. For example, when somebody asked Google what materials a cobbler uses, Google gave them my post on The Royal Cobbler. I wonder how much he read before he realized my post had nothing to do with his interest.

So, with all that, why do I continue writing this blog? The international aspect certainly has its appeal. I often get visitors from the US, Canada, Australia and UK but I get them from other countries too. Some of my post have been read in Washington DC. I don’t know if it was on an official basis but I have seen a few congressional offices visit my site. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll manage to influence a few of them.

Then there’s you. You actually read this entire post. I put a lot of work into my writing and illustrations in hopes that you will read it. Truly, having visitors from all over the world reading what I’ve written is very satisfying but I can think of one thing that would be more satisfying, inspiring other people to write their own blogs.

When starting a website one of the suggestions is to have guest bloggers. This way you get different viewpoints, you get visits from their friends and family, some of whom might become regular readers to your own blog and in my case I would also get a little breathing time to catch up on other writing.

I’m late to the party on making this offer but I’m offering you an opportunity to become a guest blogger. You don’t have to use your real name (I would suggest against that anyway). Any topic you want, all I ask is that you keep it family shareable and yes, I reserve the right to veto it depending on tone. If you ask nicely, I may help you out on the artwork. We will probably have to make some minor changes to improve your SEO score but you’ll have final approval. Send your blogs to Admin@Opinionbypen.com.

Here’s your chance. You might find you enjoy blogging. What about it, are you up to the challenge?

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© Copyright 2014 Byron Seastrunk, All rights Reserved. Written For: Opinion by pen