Since I began this blog, I have become absolutely fascinated by page views. I am a baseball fan and all baseball fans love statistics. Anyone who has read the book Moneyball (or, I guess, kind of, seen the movie) knows that there is a search for the one be-all end-all of statistics. You’re looking for that one stat that tells the whole story. For me, that’s page views. I have 4,580 at this writing. Bully for me!
But here’s the thing: baseball scholars have found, year after year, that the stat that they think tells all, really doesn’t. I know the same about page views. For decades, baseball watchers believed that batting average was the single best indicator of a hitter’s abilities. In the simplest terms, batting average is the average number of times that a hitter gets on base via a base hit. Despite being called an average, it is actually presented as an actual number. For instance, last year the shortstop for the New York Mets, Jose Reyes led the National League in batting average by hitting .337. What this mean is that he got a hit 33.7% of the time he came to the plate.
For a long time, no one thought beyond that stat. But here’s the thing: people slowly realized that batting average didn’t tell the whole story. For instance, if a batter stands there long enough and the pitcher doesn’t give him good enough pitches to hit, he can draw a walk. He ends up on first base same as the guy who swung at the ball and hit it but he doesn’t get any credit for it by those who only look at batting average.
At some point, people started to appreciate this fact and shifted their focus from batting average to on-base percentage. Again in the simplest terms, this statistic gave a hitter credit for their hits AND their walks. Jose Reyes may have gotten a hit 33.7% of the time last year, which was better than anyone else in the NL, but he only got on base 38.4% of the time. That was still good, but there were seven guys who did it better. Joey Votto, first baseman for the Cincinnati Reds hit .309 but his on-base was .416. Over 41% of the time he either got a hit or walk and that, to many, was a better indicator of his value as a hitter.
Thing is, it doesn’t stop there (though, it will for us now, don’t worry.) Baseball people continue to find new statistics to define what is a good hitter: slugging, OPS, VORP, the list goes on. There is always another way to parse the information.
For me, right now, I have just this one statistic: page views. Anytime anyone clicks over to any page of the Four Father, I get a view. If it were a monetized site this would be great. It wouldn’t matter how someone landed on one of my pages, I would still get credit for the click. Pick any popular website and type in its name a little bit wrong and you’ll likely land on a very cheap looking website with some very cheap looking links. This website is likely getting paid by the clicks. For instance, go to twwiter.com and you can find links for internet phone service, dating sites, or chat sites. Whoever owns twwiter.com is counting on getting people who typed a bit fast to land on their site and they’ll get an incremental cent for each time that happens. Given that Twitter has somewhere in the area of 175 million users, those typos could add up.
If you were really going to examine users on your site, you would want to look at unique visitors and return visitors and visitors that you could divine came to your site purposefully. Such as it is, I don’t have access to that information right now – I have page views. I’ll take it, though, and I’ll pretend almost 5000 pairs of eyes have wanted to read what I’ve written. There is one thing standing in the way of my delusions, though, and that is the fact that my friends at WordPress do provide me one more level of information. What they tell me is what terms people typed into their search engines that led them to me.
The best thing I ever did to increase my clicks came when I was writing about what toys Maggie liked to play with. I mentioned her love of Lego Ninjago and even included a picture of some.
There has not been a single day since I started published this blog that I haven’t gotten at least seven page views. My average per day to date is 43, but I always get at least seven. And of those seven, at least one of them comes from someone searching some term that includes the word “ninjago.”
Kids (at least I assume it’s kids) love to search ninjago. They search it all its forms (lego ninjago green ninja; lego ninjago pink ninja; lego ninjago every guy), they search it in different languages (fotos de lego ninjago), and they search for the extraneous stuff (ninjago coloring pages; animated lego ninjago; ninjago writing.)
I didn’t take the time to add them all up but they’re easily over 100 different search terms that include the word “ninjago” that have driven people to my site. The actual post that they’re probably most often driven to includes that word just once in the body, once in a picture caption, and once as part of the file name of a picture.
It occurs to me that, since I really don’t pay much attention to what file names I give the photos I include in the posts, I should just name them all ninjago-something. Imagine the clicks I’d get in that case.
This post alone should do some huge numbers. I have written the word “ninjago” to this point at least thirteen times. I’m pretty sure I’ll include a photo too. I’m going to get countless poor kids who are looking for something else and they’ll get a long boring essay about baseball statistics and blog posts. Sorry guys.
While ninjago (14!) is the king term, there are a few others that I really enjoy:
- “diaper boy Kevin” I have no idea what this means, but it somehow landed them on a picture I used of a kid with a diaper on his head. I have no idea if his name is Kevin.
- “modern family police” other than one passing reference to the show, I have posted nothing. As it is one of the most popular shows on television I can imagine that there has been no shortage of digital “ink” spilled on the program. Not sure how people ended up with me. Also, as a viewer of the program, I don’t recall how the police figured in.
- “dana schenzfeier” two different people have searched my mother, with her name spelled equally incorrectly, and found me. Somebody also searched my brother Ted.
- “עברים” That’s not actually the word they searched but I can’t cut-and-paste from the list so I have no idea what the term was. I know I’ve never written in Hebrew and am accordingly baffled. It’s up there ^^ so feel free to enlighten me.
- “differences between boy and girl flamingos” so close, yet so far.
- “marhsall hook dylan dreyer” someone has linked me (almost anyway) with my favorite meteorologist. Sorry Pete.
- “chicken bus new jersey” I lived in New Jersey for half my life and have no idea where the chicken bus is. I also had a search for “the chicken who took the wrong bus.”
- “john navin jr.” It could have been the actor himself. I can’t imagine many others are looking around for him.
- “happy 41birthday jesus” I’m no religious scholar but I think he’s older than that, isn’t he?
- “Dizygotic ultrasound pics in 25th week” I barely know what “dizygotic” means but am happy smart people are finding their way to me as well.
- “corey from teen mom is he rail trying to get has wife leia back” There is so much for me to like in this one search string but what I enjoy most is the spelling. Rail instead of really, has instead of his, and, I have just discovered, leia instead of Leah (must be a Star Wars fan.) I have no earthly idea what in that string brought them to me, but boy, he or she must have been disappointed once they got here.
Finally there are my two favorites. The first is also the longest ever: “he is going through a mid life crisis and won’t even come stay with me at the hotel we booked for my birthday.” I’ve searched the term myself, in the case that it was a line from a movie or something. It doesn’t appear to be. I feel sorry for the poor woman who typed this in, whether she is the wife or mistress, for, as the subtitle makes clear, I have no crisis. I hope she found happiness somewhere or at least someone to share her hotel room with.
The last one is simple: “thefourfather blog”. That’s someone, I am going assume (and don’t you stop me), who was specifically looking for my blog but didn’t know the address. They may not be the brightest ever, but I welcome that person with open arms. That they had to search me out probably means they weren’t one of my Facebook friends who make up the bulk of my readership. I don’t know how they heard about me, but let me just say, I am happy they did.
While it definitely knocks some of the wind out of my sails that my page views numbers are inflated by all these “false” clicks, there are a few, like the aforementioned, that show that someone tried to hunt me down and found exactly what they were looking for. That says to me I am, at least, headed in the right direction with this little project of mine.