Not A Bot!

Two days ago, I posted about an unusual spike in the views of one post on here.
https://beetleypete.com/2020/04/23/a-very-popular-post/

I thought that the large number of views, currently up to 190, must have been caused by a ‘bot’. That was because there were no ‘Likes’ or additional comments on the post, so a natural assumption made by most bloggers, I suppose.

However, I have now received a comment containing the answer to this small mystery.

Skip
APRIL 25, 2020 AT 5:46 AM EDIT
Dereham memories Facebook page had posted a link to it… Thats how I just got here….

It was a Facebook link, not a bot!

I am not on Facebook, so had no idea it was linked to that group.

The good news is that it was actually people looking at the post!

A Very Popular Post

In 2016, I published a post containing photos of a nearby abandoned farm.
https://beetleypete.com/2016/08/17/the-abandoned-farm/

Since then, it has continued to be popular with readers, and it gets regular views every week, sometimes every day. For the benefit of the many new followers, I reblogged the post earlier this year, and it was well-received once again.

But rarely has it been so popular is it has today.

Noticing a spike in my stats, I looked to see what had caused an unusual afternoon increase in blog views. I was surprised to discover that the 2016 post has received no less than 120 views, since I logged on this morning.

Being realistic, I suspect this has been caused by one of the notorious ‘Spam Bots’ malfunctioning, and becoming stuck on that same post 130 times.

But wouldn’t it just be lovely, if one reader liked it so much that they had looked at it 130 times?

Serial Thoughts

**Spoiler Alert**
If you have not read Part 35 of my recent serial, or intend to read it as a complete story, then skip this for now.

With the final part of ‘Runs In The Family’ now published, and also posted as a complete story, I am reviewing the process of writing serialised fiction, as is my habit.

This as the longest serial in terms of parts that I have published so far, although shorter episodes meant that the word count was similar to some of my earlier ones. Taking on historical fiction in the form of a family saga was something I had long wanted to do, though I underestimated the amount of research that would be involved, and the difficulty of keeping up with such a large number of characters.

Spanning a perod of over three hundred years called for hisorical accuracy at many levels. World events that might have impacted the family, changes in industry and medical practice, and carefully choosing names that reflected those popular at any given period during three centuries.

You may not be surprised to hear that I ran to seven full pages of notes for this serial, as well as countless calculations about ages, and dates of birth. Even with those to hand, I made numerous mistakes that had to be corrected, including transposing the names of some of the characters. I was grateful when Fraggle added a hand-written family tree as a comment in Part 21, as that saved me making more errors for a while.

It began as an idea about writing a story around the events concerning Jack The Ripper, in 1888. I thought I would explore a fictional history of Jack, which might give some idea why he did what he did, and where he had originated from. That ended up with me covering a period from the late 1650s, until 1968.

Believe me when I tell you that was quite difficult. Working out how long people might live, what might happen to various members of a large family, and trying to pace time and events leading up logically to the final ‘reveal’. Then it was apparent that I needed an explanation of how all this would be known, in the 1960s. So I used the diaries and journals to facilitate this, and had to insert Part 35 as an epilogue, to explain how they would have been discovered.

Despite this being a long and at times tiring challenge to myself, I am going to miss the Dakin family.

The serial was quite well-received, with at least 90 views for each episode, sometimes more. So far, the recorded views for the whole serial are around 3,350. This does not include those for Part 35, which I have just published. Comments were much the same as for every serial, and I know that many readers do not feel the need to comment on fiction.

As always, I would like to give my sincere thanks to everyone who read every episode. To those who commented, left a ‘Like’, and shared on social media or reblogged parts or all of it. You are very much appreciated.

Best wishes to you all, Pete.

Blogging Memories

Starting out on a blog is a bit like putting a message in a bottle, casting it out into the ocean, and hoping someone finds it, then replies.

In fact, given the untold millions of blogs on the Internet, you may well have more chance with that bottle.

So I didn’t expect much from my first tentative blog post, in the summer of 2012. I told my friends and family about it of course. I even sent some of them links by text message. But seriously, who was going to read my nervous waffling? I wouldn’t have blamed anyone if they had never bothered.

The first ‘likes’ and comments were from those same friends and family. They used an email address, or set up a WP account just to encourage me, but they did that willingly. I still remember the first time I got 10 views in one day. I was ecstatic. It all seemed worthwhile. When I hit 30 views, I was sure that blogging was going to be ‘my thing’.

Then I got a comment and a follow from someone I didn’t actually know. That was worth its weight in gold, and encouraged me to expand my content, and try new categories. I started to write about my time as an EMT in London, tried my hand at film reviews, and published some very long posts about my childhood memories as a boy in London.

Then one day, I could hardly believe my eyes when I logged on. I had 30 followers, and had hit the magic number of 100 views. Even now, I can remember how good that felt.

As the saying goes, there has been a lot of water under the bridge since then.

I discovered how to add photos, video clips, and images, all to make some posts more relevant, and interesting. I tried my hand at writing fiction too. Short stories at first, then multi-part serials later. I continued to feature my dog Ollie, and stuck to a formula that seemed to be popular with the community of followers and readers that was steadily growing.

As of today, I have a listed 5,470 followers on WordPress. Add to that 41 who follow by email, and 336 followers on social media sites like Twitter, and that totals 5,847. On a good day, I get around 600 views of the site, and think I must be doing something wrong when it drops below 300 on any given day.

But I never forget that 18 of those original 30 followers are still following this blog. And they still comment too.

Sometimes, 2012 doesn’t seem that long ago after all.

My Top Ten Posts

For the last few years, there has been little change in the most-read posts on this blog.

No matter how much fiction I write, or how much I love to post about films and cinema, none of that gets close.

As Julie is watching ‘Dancing On Ice’, and I would sooner sit out in the rain than watch that, I just checked my stats again.

Here are those top posts, with number ten first.

10) My Blog: Privacy And Cookies Notice. It has had 677 views.
This was published on the 31st of May, 2018.
It was a very short post, complaining about issues with WordPress, and the notice in question.

09) Beetley Village. It has had 840 views.
It was published on the 16th of August, 2012.
This is a detailed post about what you might expect to see if you ever visit Beetley.

08) Birds Don’t Like Cornflakes. It has had 857 views.
This was published on the 31st of August, 2013.
It was about feeding birds in the garden, and how they had refused to eat the cornflakes I had scattered on the lawn.

07) Ollie: A dog’s like and dislikes. It has had 864 views.
This was published on the 12th of September, 2016.
It was about things that my dog likes, and other things he doesn’t.
It is the only post featuring Ollie in this top ten.

06) Beachlands: Pevensey Bay. It has had 924 views.
This was published on the 24th of March, 2016.
It is a photo post, featuring photos of Modernist and Art Deco bungalows on a 1930s housing estate in Sussex.

05) The driest county in England. It has had 1,623 views.
This was published on the 29th of August, 2012.
It is about how I was told that Norfolk was the driest county in this country, and it hadn’t stopped raining since I moved here.

04) Dereham: A Norfolk Town. It has had 1,820 views.
This was published on the 17th of April, 2014.
It is about the nearest town to Beetley, the market town of Dereham.

03) Whatever happened to? : Jimmy Somerville. It has had 2,071 views.
This was published on the 10th of August, 2016.
It is about the singer and front man of Bronski Beat, and The Communards.
It features pop video clips, and asks why we never hear of him now.

02) About. It has had 2,925 views.
This was published in 2012, and is regularly updated.
It is about me and my life, and features a photo of me with Ollie.
The popularity of this post shows the importance of having a good ‘About’ page.

The number one post will come as no surprise to regular followers.
It has been at number one since shortly after publication, and is read at least once every day.

……Drum Roll……

01) Whatever Happened to?: Jamiroquai. It has had 4,298 views.
This was published on the 4th of September, 2016.
Since then, it has been the subject of many more posts remarking on its popularity.
It is about the British Acid-Jazz band of that name, and asks why they had disappeared.
It features pop video clips, and discusses why they dropped out of the music scene.
After I published this, they released a new album in 2017. It wasn’t very good.

So, there you have it. Do you know what your own top posts are? If you fancy it, why not do do something similar?
Then link it to this post, and we can all find out what are readers out there are enjoying the most.

Issues and Views

Yesterday, I had some frustrating issues with WordPress over logins, comments, and verification codes.

That generated five posts on this blog, as I expressed my frustrations, warned other bloggers, and finally told everyone it was resolved.

Late last night as I logged off my PC, I checked the stats on my blog for that day. Despite not having posted the episode of my fiction serial, and only posting about my blogging woes, I was amazed to see that it was my biggest day EVER for views on this blog, after more than seven years.

Well over 600 views in twelve hours, beating the previous busiest day by almost seventy views.

I cannot help but conclude that if you want to really boost your readership, then have a good moan about WordPress!