ralph robert moore
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Copyright © 2003 by Ralph Robert Moore.
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sentence statistics for 2002
january 25, 2003
SENTENCE is now entering its sixth year on-line.
When I visit different sites, I often wonder how popular they are, whether their audience is growing or shrinking, 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 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, and Urchin Enterprise Version 3.4, the statistics software used by SENTENCE (I switched statistics software last year when I switched web hosts). Totals, unless indicated otherwise, refer to all SENTENCE pages combined.
In 2002, SENTENCE received a total of 445,105 hits.
SENTENCE currently has 11,362 visitors a month, or 379 visitors per day.
The site is visited each month by people from 74 nations. The top ten nations, in descending order, are The United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, France, Australia, The Netherlands, Germany, Singapore, and Italy.
The most visited page on SENTENCE currently is the Index page, followed by the introductory page for The Sex Act collection of stories, my essay on cooking baked ziti in the Friends Before Food section, the Words Walking Nude page, which includes a large selection of excerpts from my writings, the Dallas Restaurant Reviews page, and my short story The Rape. My essays Fear and Dreams are also consistently high in number of hits.
A few words should be said here about the essay on cooking baked ziti. I wrote it, as I did all the other essays in Friends Before Food, because I like writing about food, and because I thought the recipe, created by my wife Mary, was a particularly good one. I posted the essay and didn't think about it very much afterwards, but started noticing how many hits it was getting. I just did a search on Google using the string "ziti recipe", and my page is listed in fourth place out of 11,700 entries. Using the same string on All The Web, the essay is ranked fifth out of 29,736 entries. (The search term "sentence" on All The Web brings up this site in the number one spot, out of 6,915,267 entries).
The ten most popular short stories on this site in December were, in this order, starting with number one: The Rape, Daddy's Glad Hands, Beaten Up By Girls, Sex on Sheets, When You Surfaced, Red Boat, Zombie Betrayal, Big Inches, Despair at McDonalds, and When The Big One Thaws.
Among the new features I introduced in 2002, Antarctica, a multi-page subsection of SENTENCE which reimagines the continent as a prosperous nation that has been populated for 40,000 years, is by far the most popular. It gets a lot of hits, and most visitors tend to go from page to page through the subsection. The Maddox Family Home Page, the website of a nonexistent family, gets its share of hits, but not quite as many. Our World Is A Word, a series of technical articles on writing fiction, receives only a modest number of visitors, as I suspected it would.
The search engine that most frequently directs searchers to SENTENCE is Google (18.8% of the traffic SENTENCE receives is from Google), followed by Yahoo (11.5%), MSN (2.4%), and AOL (2.2%). 53.5% of the people who visit SENTENCE do so through no referral (in other words, they get to SENTENCE either by typing in the URL for this site, or, more likely, because they bookmarked SENTENCE and use that bookmark to revisit the site. "No referrals" are up almost 100% over last year).
The statistics software I use 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. Listed below are some of the more unusual search strings people used in 2002 which brought visitors to SENTENCE:
I'm not sure what to say. "Daffy Duck crutches" sound like crutches for kids. Has the commercialization of our lives gone that far? Is there a status-type thing about crutches now, crippled kids proudly displaying Brittany Spears crutches, Michael Jordan crutches? "Furs on the floor" seems like something from a David Lynch movie. "Doctor injecting on buttock of shy lady". Don't you love the 'lady'? And what's up with 'injecting on'? Shouldn't it be 'injecting into'? Or is that a new sex fetish, doctors not injecting medicine into the buttock of a shy lady, but instead pushing down the plunger just above the buttocks of a shy lady, so the serum splashes down onto her buttock? "How do I know I have a full erection". Well, let's see. That "Insubordinate or baring or banisters or nightgown or snouts" thing, there's a great short story there. "Restaurants in Dallas specializing in carrots". No offense, but is that the criteria you use to decide where you're going to eat, whether or not they have carrots? What are you, Bugs Bunny?
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.