Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What gardeners do in the winter Part II: Study their blog statistics

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.


  1. Dear Barbara, All of this is completely new to me. I am amazed that one can track down all this information and as soon as I have finished this comment I shall be investigating further. The Blogosphere is such a maze of interwoven activity that it is quite mind-blowing trying to work it all out.
    I wonder why you are attracting so many Latvians........?

  2. Dear Edith, I'll bet your blog stats are fascinating, so do take a look. It's a perk of using blogger software, although I don't know whether, for example, Wordpress also offers the service. As far as the Latvians are concerned: maybe they have a lot of bean weevils there??

  3. Blog statistics are fun. It's also fun to see who is searching for what at certain times of year. In summer I see searches for native lizards, in winter it's various mushroom species, in spring it's seeds! As for the Tattoo site, I've seen a few bloggers referencing that in recent weeks. Fairly certain it's just a automated spam-bot site. Do be careful, some of those servers would be happy to dish out malicious code when you visit.

  4. Good evening Barbara, I find blog stats so darned interesting! I use Sitemeter and also the Google analytics. The analictics mostly for the number of subscribers to my blog since Sitemeter can't track that. The Google searches folks do are fantastic! It helps a blogger to know trends in gardening and whatever. I find it helpful for how I think to find out what other folks are thinking of and Googling. For my blog the searches are seasonal. For instance. There seems to be a huge problem with Encore azalea cold hardiness as I posted about. The number of folks looking for info on that this time of the year is amazing. Sometimes two in one day! To know someone comes to my blog for that and can get some info I've shared is most gratifying. So glad you brought the searches to light as some bloggers might not track them!

    Also, on the tattoo site another blog recently remarked about them. They also have links to my blog. Not sure why as I'm not so attuned to the linky thing.

  5. Hi Tina, I also plan to periodically check back to see how the search terms change in different seasons. Your blog is so chock-full of great information I'm not surprised that people get there while doing topical searches. You are right to be gratified!

  6. Hi Barbara,
    thanks for the photo of the hyacinth, I am missing my spring bulbs, even tho there is so much in flower here. Sorry I have not been commenting lately, the internet in Barbados is very slow, feels like dialup, but I am reading all your posts and thinking of you.

  7. Hmm I had 50 visits in one day from that Tattoo design vault. If I go to the site, I cannot get any further to see what why??? I imagine that they are stealing photos to make into tattoo designs? Emailed them but no reply. For Cape Town at least, there was a huge tattoo convention this weekend. Maybe all the delegates have been trawling the internet??


    What tantalises me, is that you cannot email, and answer their questions? Also enlightening to click on the links, and see why they came to my blog looking for ... I didn't write about that! But then I see I did, have written so many posts I no longer remember them all ;~)

  8. Hi Diana, I'm starting to wonder whether that tattoo site is trawling Blotanical. Very bizarre. After Curbstone Valley's comment I've decided not to click on the link anymore.

  9. Dear Deborah, I know you're in Barbados, and understand, and am jealous!

  10. Hi Barbara! Love that hyacinth! I have only paperwhites and amaryllis this year. I hear what you are saying about statistics. It's interesting to see where people came from and what key words they used. As for tattoo and other websites which have nothing to do with gardening, I think they use us to improve their rating (we click on their link and they get a point!). This is what they want - our clicks! More clicks lead to a higher rating. And search engines show first those sites wich have higher ratings. They use us to attract visitors, potential customers! That is why I stopped checking websites in my Stats which don't look like personal blogs. ... Thank you for commenting on my blog, I appreciate it!

  11. Witzig, Du schreibst über die Statistikfunktion hier, die ich gerade erst gestern für mich entdeckt habe. Gab es die hier schon immer? Ebenfalls zu meiner Überraschung ist es der Beitrag über die Schädlinge ( bei mir der über Pfefferminzblattkäfer), der mit am häufigsten angeklickt wurde.
    Meine Kamera ist ein Canon EOS 350 D , veröffentlicht habe ich nichts darüber, bei Nachfragen gebe ich gerne Antwort;-) Die Vogelaufnahmen entstanden mit dem Canon EF 75-300 mm III Ultrasonic USM-Objektiv, wie übrigens auch die Winteralleefotos.
    Bücher lesen, Statistiken durchforsten, habe ich als 'stillgelegte Gärtnerin' schon durch, gerade habe ich meine letzte Saatbestellung aufgegeben, ich nehme an Du auch, oder? Ich plane gerade meine Gemüsehochbeetbestellung....ich werde mal Deine Ideenfaden aufnehmen und weiterspinnen...(What gardeners do in winter!)
    Liebe Grüße

  12. I often browse my stats Barbara - I also use statcounter on my sites that track where people come from and what posts they visit etc and amazingly often it picks up things that the blog stats doesn't. Like you I always visit the referring sites just to see who is sending people my way.

    I also use something called clustrmaps that pop dots on a map of the world to show where all your visitors come from.

    Like you I am baffled by the posts that are the most popular!

  13. Tatyana, that's an interesting point and I have now resolved not to click on any obviously unrelated referring sites. Glad you like my hyacinth and thanks for your input.

    Sisah, since our readers seem to be particularly interested in garden pests, I'm surprised there haven't been more visits to my posts on slugs, which I think are among my most interesting - but then I'm obsessed with them.

    Green Lane, I also have one of those cluster maps at the bottom of my blog, from maploco. And I've installed statcounter but haven't used it much yet, will have to explore it more.

  14. If you are exploring statcounter, they have a new beta version out. And a wonderful help desk if you have queries or suggestions!

  15. Thanks for the tip, Diana. I've now heard from so many about the tattoo website, I think it's pretty clearly a scam.

  16. Good information, Barbara. I actually use three different Stat counters. Surprisingly they each show different views of my stats. It seems that I have a lot of interest from China lately, although they are all blog stalkers, never a comment.

  17. Hi Carolyn and Diana, in the meantime I've been browsing the beta version of statcounter, and indeed their results are a little different from those of blogger. But the overall tendency is the same: people are interested in bean weevils.

  18. how nice of you to visit my blog, :) Thank you

    I like to have hyacints in jan and feb too, and i always plant them in de garden after blossoming.
    Because need some spring feeling in this months of the year, i have a whole field of them now * blushes * and lots of grape hyacints *blush* and tete a tete nacisses *blushes even more*

    Lol when i want to plant a plant in summer, i always accidentally dig up some bulbs because they are everywhere, i know i am weird, but i am just ADDICTED to spring :)

    Haha i checked my statistics, funny to see which of my blogs are best viewed. Thanx for the tip.

  19. Liebe Barbara!
    Ja, die Statistikfunktion habe ich auch schon gefunden. Ich finde es manchmal sehr interessant nachzuschauen, wer meinen Blog besucht bzw welche Seiten auf meinen Blog verweisen. Allerdings bin ich mir über die Impressionen und Reihungen der einzelnen Beiträge noch nicht ganz im Klaren. Vielleicht kennst Du Dich da aus?

    lg kathrin

  20. Barbara, I love the pink hyacinth; I can almost smell it! I have forced forsythia in bloom on my dining room table. The snow is melting here in southern PA, the birds are singing, and spring is stirring. -Jean

  21. That is the most luscious looking pink hyacinth I've ever seen. I can practically smell it from here! Delightful.

    I, too, check my stats this long cold winter and my blog, too, has this bizarre "tattoo designs vault" showing up on my stats. I'm not happy about it -- it's obviously widespread and seems kinda suspicious.

    I'm sooo looking forward to spring when my hyacinths perfume warm days! ~ Kris

    P.S. I found your blog when I googled "tattoo designs vault". I just had to come see who else was experiencing these hits.

  22. Ha! I just came to this post by way of my stats;-) I don't look at them often enough! But like Tatyana said, we must be 'aware' of links that we might NOT want to click on for various reasons. Happy spring to you, Barbara!