Those of you who use Google's blogging tools are probably aware of the great statistics they provide on every blog. In case you're not, you can find them by going to your dashboard (most easily by clicking on the "B" in the upper left-hand corner of your blog), and then clicking on "Stats" in the "Manage Blogs" menu. Then just start clicking around and exploring how many views you've had, your traffic sources, your audience, referring sites, etc.
I was astonished to find out that the single search term which has brought the most visitors to date to my blog was "bean weevil". In turn it's not surprising that my post on bean weevils is the number two most-viewed post I've written, although I don't regard it as one of my most amazing posts. Since "bean weevil pictures" was also a frequent keyword, maybe people were just looking for images of weevils. Are these all people who keep lizards as pets and are looking for bean weevils to feed to them? As I discovered while researching for my weevil post, there are places where you can order live weevils online to this purpose. Somebody even got to my blog by searching for "butterfly farms with reptiles in Germany". I'm not sure which post they landed in, but it must have been either the bean weevil post or the post on Buddleia (see below).
Here are my top five most viewed posts:
Designing a traditional herb garden
What could be worse than slugs? Bean weevils!
A visit to the Schwetzingen palace gardens
Pruning the espalier fruit trees
Lantana and butterfly bush (Buddleia): Invasive species everywhere?
While looking through the sites that refer to my blog, I found some interesting blogs whose owners I thanked for the referral, and then reciprocated by linking to theirs. Intriguingly, there's a tattoo website ("tattoo designs vault") that apparently refers to my blog, although I couldn't find the link on their site and think it might be a scam.
Today, for example, I have had more views so far from Latvia than from anywhere else. Thank you any Latvians who may be reading this! Altogether I've had the most all-time views from the U.S., closely followed by Germany. Most viewers use Internet Explorer, followed by Firefox. But there are a significant number who use Chrome, Safari, and Opera. One percent of my viewers got there from an iPad, but the vast majority was using Windows as operating system.
So if you haven't done so yet, be sure to take a look at your blog stats - it's great fun.
Something else I'm sure many gardeners do in the winter is to nurture blossoming bulbs on their window sills. Here's my current favorite, and it smells even better than it looks.