the on-line diary of
ralph robert moore


the official website for the writings of
ralph robert moore

Copyright © 2001 by Ralph Robert Moore.

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sentence statistics for 2001
january 5, 2002

SENTENCE is now entering its fifth year on-line.

When I visit different sites, I often wonder how popular they are, whether their audience is growing or shrinking, who comprises their visitors, what pages on their site are most popular, etc. Most sites don't publish their statistics, and they certainly have a right not to, but I think site statistics are kind of interesting, like those circulation statements you see once a year in magazines that tell how many paid subscriptions they have, how many newsstand copies they sell, how many free copies of each issue they give away, how many copies are spoiled, and so on.

Each January, I've been publishing statistics about SENTENCE, for those of you who might be interested. If you find this annual column boring I apologize, but I do it in the belief that regular SENTENCE visitors might like to know more about how the site is faring, and that other webmasters might find the information useful for purposes of comparison. The statistics quoted here are from Webalizer Version 1.30, the statistics software used by SENTENCE. Totals, unless indicated otherwise, refer to all SENTENCE webpages combined.

In 2001, SENTENCE received a total of 403,852 hits. That compares with 292,624 hits in 2000, 163,387 hits in 1999, and 7,000 hits in 1998.

In December of 2001, SENTENCE averaged 1,232 hits per day. The most active day that month was December 6, when the site received 1,825 hits.

In December, SENTENCE had 4,993 "unique sites", meaning that 4,993 different people visited SENTENCE that month, compared to 2,733 in December of 2000; and 530 "unique referrers" (specific locations on the Web that referred someone to this site, compared to 404 in December of 2000). 28.50% (10,894) of the total referrals to SENTENCE in December were by "direct request", meaning the visitor arrived here by typing in this URL, or by clicking on a Bookmark or Favorites link where he or she had previously saved this URL. In December of 2000, the percentage was 25.96%.

The most visited page on SENTENCE in December was The Sex Act page, followed closely by the Home page, followed by my essay on cooking baked ziti in the Friends Before Food section, followed by SENTENCE Photographs, Words Walking Nude, which includes a large selection of excerpts from my writings, the short story The Rape, the short story Beaten Up By Girls, and the Eight Legs, Three Cunts excerpt from my novel Father Figure.

The ten most popular short stories on this site in December were, in this order, starting with number one: The Rape, Beaten Up By Girls, Daddy's Glad Hands, Sex on Sheets, Zombie Betrayal, Red Boat, When You Surfaced, Big Inches, Despair at McDonalds, and This Moment of Brilliance.

During the month of December, people from 72 countries clicked to SENTENCE (compared to 65 countries in December, 2000). English-language countries stayed near the top, which makes sense, as well as European nations, with Oriental and Middle-Eastern countries gaining. Visits from universities and colleges continued increasing significantly, as did, towards the end of the year, hits from military domains, which I assume has something to do with America's military actions. Visits from Latin American countries also gained quite a bit, but hits from Africa, other than Egypt and South Africa, remained low, which has been consistent.

Among the new features I introduced in 2001, SENTENCE Photographs has been extremely popular, and my Dallas Restaurant Reviews page has been more popular than I thought it would. One new feature I thought would be helpful to a lot of people, SENTENCE Start, which includes over 800 links on one page to author sites, newspapers from around the world, government sites, webmaster tools, etc., hasn't really taken off the way I hoped it would, but I'm leaving it on the site anyway, because I think it is an excellent research tool.

When I started SENTENCE I wanted to include participatory features, so that people who don't have their own website, or who do but also want to contribute to other sites, have an opportunity to have their writings displayed on SENTENCE. By far, the most popular of these pages is the Every Man a King page, where visitors can rewrite the opening paragraphs of a Stephen King novella, and have their effort posted on this site. It's linked to from a number of pages on the Internet, and has been referred to in books and on-line magazines, such as Time Magazine. My Earliest Memory, where visitors write about the earliest moment in their lives they recall, is also quite popular. However, the other two features, Every Woman a Koontz, and Every Child a Barker, have not caught on the way I thought they would. Both are heavily visited, but for whatever reason, very few people have wanted to contribute entries (Every Child a Barker has not received a single entry).

The Webalizer statistics software also includes a list each month of the top "search strings" people use to find SENTENCE. A "search string" is the word or phrase that's typed into a search engine to locate a site. Most of the search strings used to locate SENTENCE are fairly obvious ones: 'fiction', 'on-line stories', 'poems', etc. This year saw a significant increase in search strings obviously meant to locate SENTENCE specifically, or specific pages within SENTENCE: 'Ralph Robert Moore', 'Sentence+Moore', 'essay about clocks in movies', 'father figure+alaska', etc. Listed below are some of the more unusual search strings people used in 2001 which brought up SENTENCE as one of the results:

Medicaid in Massachusetts
She put her panties back on after her swim
Background music bad effects
Weathered by the world I have
Nude in the jungle
Gingerly in a sentence
All the women kicked his balls
Chain letters for lonely people
Girls standing on men's stomachs
Is God in the hole in the universe
Naked girls with blue hair
Recurring dream walk in a grey city

With this column I'm also initiating a new Lately feature, the Link of the Week. The sites featured will be those I've stumbled across while wandering around the Web, that I find interesting.

The first Link of the Week is The Dictionary of American Regional English. The site's purpose is "to document the varieties of English that are not found everywhere in the United States-- those words, pronunciations, and phrases that vary from one region to another, that we learn at home rather than at school, or that are part of our oral rather than our written culture."

For example, in New England, it's sometimes said that the moon 'scoffs off' bad weather, meaning that it prevents bad weather from happening. In Maine, to 'skag' means to split or chop. In northern Illinois, 'scramble' refers to a potluck dinner. In Wisconsin, a 'Sammy bar' refers to an ice cream bar (apparently, according to the DARE editors, because 'Sammy' was World War I slang for a soldier, and ice cream bars back then were frequently sold by veterans).

You get the idea. Language is alive, and that life is often most sinewy in slang and regionalisms. It's often in our invention of new words, or corruption of existing ones, that we most clearly show our affection for the wonderful variety of sounds we can make with our mouths. The most interesting section of the DARE site, to me, occurs about halfway down the Index page, in the Want To Help Us? column, in which the editors include links to lists of regional terms they've come across for which they're not certain of the geographic extent of the term, and/or if the term is still extant. Browsing through the lists is a lot of fun, rediscovering the inventiveness of people, and feeling history in a different way, with diphthongs and umlauts. And who knows? Maybe there's a term in the lists you're familiar with, to where you'll be able to help the editors.

I started SENTENCE to showcase my writings. To make them available to readers around the world. Because before the Internet, although I was getting published in different periodicals and anthologies, the bulk of what I wrote was unpublished, unseen, unread. And much of that bulk included the best stuff I had done. This is going to sound incredibly arrogant, I'm sure, but it always stuns me when a story of mine is rejected by a magazine, because to me, what I've written is far superior to most of what I see in that magazine. I say this, at the risk of being thought arrogant, because I'm certain it's also true of a lot of other writers I admire, who are also having difficulty getting widely-published.

In many ways, the opportunity to self-publish on the Internet mitigates the frustration I think we all, as writers, feel towards the publishing establishment. At least with this bypass, we're able to get our stories out directly, to let readers themselves decide on the worth of our words. But I have to admit, being published in print, in a saddle-stitched magazine with a circulation of 300, is still a greater thrill to me, a vindication of my worth, than knowing, through my statistics software, that since its placement on SENTENCE, that same story, on-line, has been read by over 10,000 people. I still want something I can hold in my hands, its arms and legs flailing, its mouth wet.

This annual column also gives me the opportunity to sincerely thank all of you who visit SENTENCE on a regular basis. I've come to know some of you through e-mails, and even with those of you who visit silently, I've sensed your presence, and am so appreciative that you've found something of worth here to which you keep returning. As I've said elsewhere, the real achievement of writing is not the writing. The real achievement of writing is someone else reading the writing.

Thanks to all of you, everywhere, for reading me. It means a lot.