3 February 2013

Blog Hitrate Takes a Big Hit

Filed under: Reflections — ktismatics @ 12:06 pm

Here’s the WordPress summary stats for Ktismatics over the past 30 days. You’ll observe that, for the first 21 days displayed on this graph, the daily hitrate averaged around 450, varying between 385 and 515. Then over the last week the rate dropped dramatically. For the past 5 full days of data the average hitrate was 150 — a third the prior average.

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ktis stats3

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What happened?

You might speculate that, during the first 3 weeks of January, Ktismatics saw unusually high traffic levels, and that now the levels are sinking back to normal. Not so: for more than a year the daily hitrate has averaged over 400.

What happened is that, just about a week ago, Google changed its protocol for responding to image searches. Previously if you searched for an image and clicked on one, Google would take you to the webpage on which the selected image is displayed. Now in response to the click Google creates its own simulacrum of the webpage where the image appears. You can still navigate to the original source of the image, but it requires a second click.

Try this at home: Google “ouroboros” and click Images. The first image displayed on the search output is the one from Ktismatics. Click it. You’re taken to a Google page that copies the Ktismatics page where the image appears. On the right side of the screen you’ll see “Website for this image,” with a link to the original Ktismatics page that Google copied. Only by clicking that link are you actually taken to the original page on the Ktismatics blog where the ouroboros image appears.

As a result of this protocol change, a lot of hits that used to be credited to blogs and other websites have suddenly been rerouted, counting now as hits on Google pages. This change affects only image searches; for text searches Google still takes you to the original source.

It took years for the hitrate to climb to 450/day. Does this sudden drop mean that two-thirds of the hits were Google image searches? Probably so. I’ve mentioned previously that for months the Ouroboros post alone has averaged something like 80 views per day; now, over the past 5 days, Ouroboros is getting only 25 daily hits. Over the years I’ve posted a lot of movie screengrabs: these images too have historically attracted a goodly flow of traffic.

How much of the traffic on Ktismatics can be attributed to the regulars — those people who are already familiar with the blog and who click on to see what’s new? Probably the best statistical indicator is the hitrate for the Ktismatics homepage. How disappointing! For the past year the average hitrate for the homepage has averaged around 60 per day. It used to be higher: about 100 per day in 2010. But wait a minute: what about subscribers? A subscriber to a blog isn’t just notified that a new post is up: the content of that post is delivered to the subscriber via email. Ktismatics has 58 subscribers. Let’s say that these people would ordinarily click onto Ktismatics every other day or so: that would put the homepage hitrate back close to the historical high. No growth: stasis. But wait another minute: over the past 5 days the homepage hits have dropped from 60 to 25 per day. I infer that, of the 300 people per day who clicked onto images posted on Ktismatics, maybe 10% were sufficiently interested to see what else was going on the blog. Most probably took a quick look and moved on; for others the new posts provided momentary pleasure; a few became regulars. Now, with the change in Google image searches, those tire-kickers won’t be coming around much any more.

To summarize: maybe 50 people per day intentionally expose themselves to new Ktismatics content, half by clicking onto the homepage, half via subscriber updates. Bless you all! Another 100 per day intentionally click on archived posts. Another 300/day click on images embedded in the archives.

It might be true: 2009-2010 may well have been the high water mark for Ktismatics. Since then a lot of the blogs that I used to follow regularly have been discontinued. I was an early and active participant in the Object-Oriented Ontology debates that began gaining traction in late 2008. Now most of the early dissenters have by and large left the OOO playing fields to the acolytes; only occasionally do I post on the subject of objects any more. In 2009-2010 I was still posting movie screengrabs fairly regularly, and these would often stimulate extended discussions of the films. I don’t do screengrabs very often any more either. I post as often as ever, but it seems that the subjects I address are more idiosyncratic, less embedded in a broader matrix of interests shared by other bloggers in this little corner of the blogosphere. And I acknowledge that I don’t get around to as many other blogs as I used to. In publishing this post this I see that 10 of the 12 recent comments displayed on the right side of the screen are my own comments. Increasingly I seem to be talking to myself here…


  1. This is really interesting to me! Wow, you get lots of hits, I definitely don’t :) I don’t have that many clicks through images though, if ever, since my images are usually me just writing a key phrase of the blog title or a picture of a sunset. I hope that your readers continue to engage, and that you find more through text searches, which may be the people that stick around longer anyway, depending on why they look at the images.
    This was really cool to see, I didn’t realize that google had changed that aspect of searching, and it seems a little unfair to people who have their photos up on blogs. Good for you on getting such high numbers of hits though! Lately mine have been in the teens..which is a little sad..but what can ya do.. :)


    Comment by Jennifer Stuart — 3 February 2013 @ 3:17 pm

  2. Still not bad though. Never mind the width feel the quality. By 9 in the morning you have more than I would get all day. The image of Bergsons Cone of memory brings the hits even though the post is number 2 after Stanford Ency. of Phil on Bergson. Specific searchable terms, a title, names, bring more to view if not to comment. I’m still enjoying straightening bent ideas like used nails and perhaps occasionally being an incitement to read the texts I write about.


    Comment by ombhurbhuva — 3 February 2013 @ 4:06 pm

  3. Jennifer, your post about blog traffic brought a lot of discussion — clearly for better or worse it’s something that bloggers pay attention to. You get a lot of comments on most of your posts, and you respond to them all — that’s a big success. I get the sense that a lot of new blogs have a sort of Facebook style, with very short comments to the posts and not much response from the blog host. I’m sort of old school, prepared to engage in long multi-person discussions if they happen to unfold. In fact, I’d say that much of the interesting stuff here at Ktismatics happens not on the posts but in the discussion threads. But ongoing conversations seem to have migrated to Twitter, although the 140 character limit must mean that the chats are limited to the exchange of one-liners. The high traffic driven by images is doubtless what has driven the popularity of Tumblr. Hmm, let’s see… Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr — all of these bandwagons started after I began this blog, and I never jumped on any of them.


    Comment by ktismatics — 3 February 2013 @ 5:05 pm

  4. One thing that comes to mind for me is that on your blog, it’s impossible to get a notification when someone replies to one of your comments. That to me can get confusing, because unless I remember to specifically check for a reply, I may not see it. Yours is the only one with this layout that I follow, and I think that I would perhaps engage more with comments if I had the little orange bubble lighting up at the top :) That may just be me though. But usually, if I write on let’s say five blogs in one day, the next day I see the replies that people made to those comments, which brings me back for more and may also engage in a conversation, like the one we had about They Live awhile back. But on yours, it’s really hard to keep that conversation going without extra effort and memory. I wonder if there’s a way to change that in ‘settings’ if you wanted to allow people to reply to each other’s comments? It might help your readers actually engage more with the comments, which seems to be something that you encourage! I apologize if this is a little disorganized, my eyes are sleepy and it’s been a long day :)


    Comment by Jennifer Stuart — 3 February 2013 @ 5:36 pm

  5. I’m one of your regular visitors, Michael, and I’m always intrigued even if I don’t have strong reference points for some of your content. Your example has reinforced my tendency to disregard potential bandwidth in favor of personal interest when writing posts.


    Comment by ktismatics — 3 February 2013 @ 6:30 pm

  6. Jennifer, I see on your site that you’ve got 559 followers — holy cow. I have no idea about subscribing, following, notifying by email. I subscribe to no blogs myself, and I don’t know how people manage to subscribe to this one. I see why it would be valuable to receive notifications on new comments — this happens on Facebook too, I guess, though I have no idea really how Facebook works. I also have no idea how to set up the email notification can be enabled. But now that I look, I see that just below this comment box there’s a box to click to “notify me of follow-up comments via email.” So it’s there, right?


    Comment by ktismatics — 3 February 2013 @ 6:50 pm

  7. I clicked on that box- and it is there, I’ll see how that goes! The problem is that a lot of my blogs that I subscribe to do not actually ever make it to my inbox. It naturally filters a lot out unless I click on them regularly. I rely on the reader mostly for them. I think that on most WordPress “themes”, there is a natural “reply” box under each comment. What you might try, if you wanted to try it, is to do this:
    Go to your “dashboard”
    On the left, you’ll see “Settings”, hover on it and click “discussion”
    You’ll see a list of options (I’m not sure if they are the same for all themes) and one of them says: “Other Comment Settings: Enable threaded (nested) comments ____ levels deep” and mine is set for “6”, which means that me and someone else can write back and forth at least that many times. Maybe if you set it on a number, it would allow for people to reply to other people’s comments specifically? Might be worth a shot if that was something that you wanted to try! I for one would be much more likely to see all of your responses if you did that- especially because it shows what someone says in response to my comment, versus what everyone might say on the post in general, which is the type of thing that I might sometimes ignore and therefore, the type of thing my email will ignore.
    Let me know if it works if you do try it!


    Comment by Jennifer Stuart — 3 February 2013 @ 7:29 pm

  8. I used to go 3 levels deep for probably the first 5 years of this blog, but it got so complicated and tangled on long threads that I gave it up. Often as not people just added comments to the bottom of the thread even when they were referring to a comment earlier in the discussion. Either that, or people would have a hard time wading back up the thread to a comment awaiting a response, and so that subthread would die. Again, maybe those was the good old days, when a thread might get a couple hundred comments involving 4 or 5 people talking to each other on various subthreads. Okay, I’ll do it again, just to change things up a bit.


    Comment by ktismatics — 3 February 2013 @ 9:02 pm

    • Yay :) I, for one, will be more likely to engage more and more often when I can tell when someone replies to my comments :)


      Comment by Jennifer Stuart — 4 February 2013 @ 8:22 am

  9. The most popular blogs focus on a single theme, usually a theme shared by other bloggers: politics, movies, theology, etc. My blogging interests tend to wander. Also, popular blogs typically feature substantive posts with which commenters either agree or disagree and on which they can elaborate, whereas I tend to write minimalist posts that might trigger discussion. Oftentimes my posts trigger my own discussion, which wind up in the comments rather than in the post itself. I.e., the post serves as a trigger to my thinking rather than as a summary of what I’ve already thought.

    190 hits on Ktismatics yesterday, which is the highest in this new week-long era of no Google image clickthroughs. Evidently a post about blog hitrates is more stimulating than the preceding posts about school violence and Nabokov. I have strong empirical leanings, so there’s some satisfaction that a statistical post strikes a chord. But then again the school violence post was statistics-driven as well but apparently it attracted little interest and no comments. Surely all bloggers have some affective response to their own stats, so the topic strikes close to home.


    Comment by ktismatics — 4 February 2013 @ 6:17 am

  10. Debes contar también a quienes te leemos y, careciendo de la competencia léxica necesaria para dialogar contigo en inglés, nos limitamos a reflexionar tus textos y a admirar la mayoría de ellos. Queremos seguir haciéndolo durante mucho tiempo más. Gracias por Ktismatics.


    Comment by Francisco Ferrer Guardia — 4 February 2013 @ 10:43 am

    • Gracias por tus saludos, Francisco — creo que los entiendo en esencia, pero yo hablo y entiendo español como una vaca francesa.


      Comment by ktismatics — 5 February 2013 @ 7:28 am

  11. My, my your blog has changed, ktis.


    Comment by seyfried — 5 February 2013 @ 9:29 am

    • Hey Seyfried, how’ve you been? I just searched the archives: you last commented here almost exactly 3 years ago. Changed in what way, would you say? For the better or for the worse? On a 1 to 5 scale… I’m like the frog who gets put in the pot of cool water and doesn’t notice the water temperature gradually rising.


      Comment by ktismatics — 5 February 2013 @ 11:19 am

      • Just different! I like it. A lot cleaner look, too. Your writing has also changed…more figurative, perhaps? Again, all good things. I only stop in for 3 year increments, like Pennywise visiting the town of Derry for every three decades or so.


        Comment by seyfried — 6 February 2013 @ 11:35 am

  12. Though the daily traffic remains much slower than before Google began gobbling up all the image views, the hitrate here at Ktismatics has been going up again. Yesterday, 5 Feb, there were twice as many hits as 2 Feb, the day before I wrote this particular post. Maybe more Google image searchers get what’s happened and are making the second click through to the original blogs again. Good.


    Comment by ktismatics — 6 February 2013 @ 10:43 am

    • That would be good! :) Sometimes also when things change, sites get de-indexed in a certain way and then indexed again. At least that happens when you switch from a .wordpress.com address to a .com address, not sure if the google switch made the indexing different, but perhaps!


      Comment by Jennifer Stuart — 6 February 2013 @ 10:49 am

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