Meta: #4 (The Brownstoner Effect)

As of this morning, Flatbush Gardener is, however briefly, #4 in Top 100's list of gardening sites. As Willy Wonka would say, "That's just unexpected, and ... weird."

[When I started out writing this post, I was #5. It went up to #4 while I was writing it.]

There are a couple of things going on that contribute to an anomaly like this. Part of the explanation is that I've been home sick most of the week. I've had time to do research and write for the blog, and I know that fresh content is the biggest draw for visitors to the site. However, the larger factor in this anomaly is what I call the "Brownstoner Effect."

I use a couple of different tools to measure visits to the site. Here are charts from two of them, Sitemeter and Statcounter, showing page views and visits to the site over the past 30 days.

SiteMeter 30-day Chart for Flatbush Gardener, November 10, 2007
SiteMeter 30-day Chart for Flatbush Gardener, November 10, 2007

StatCounter 30-day Chart for Flatbush Gardener, November 10, 2007
StatCounter 30-day Chart for Flatbush Gardener, November 10, 2007

A couple of things are visible in these two charts:
  • Although their actual counts are different, the shapes of the two charts are roughly the same.
  • There was a spike in visitors and page views from October 23-25.
  • There's been a sustained higher than usual number of visitors over the past four days, since November 6.
I need to dig just a little deeper to figure out why there's increased traffic on those dates. It doesn't take long to determine that those are days that Brownstoner had a link to one of my posts.

My free Sitemeter account only provides details for the last 100 page views. It's okay for seeing the most recent activity, but nothing beyond that. Also, it doesn't provide any quick analytical views of the data. But I can't see the 100 most recent "Referrals", links from other sites. Right now, for example, 8 of the 20 most recent came from Brownstoner. So the sustained traffic of the past few days seems to be continuing.

My upgraded StatCounter account records the last 2,000 page views. More important, it provides some basic analysis of the data.

Referring Link
drill down376www.google.com
drill down252No referring link
drill down192images.google.com
drill down191www.brownstoner.com
drill down68www.blogger.com
drill down65brownstoner.com
drill down46www.livinginvictorianflatbush.com
drill down43ditmaspark.blogspot.com
drill down25kensingtonbrooklyn.blogspot.com
drill down24search.yahoo.com
drill down15images.google.co.uk
drill down15www.flickr.com
drill down13brooklynjunction.blogspot.com
drill down11aolsearch.aol.com
drill down8www.kensingtonbrooklyn.blogspot.com
drill down7del.icio.us
drill down7images.google.ca
drill down7search.aol.com
drill down7www.google.ca
drill down6images.google.com.au

As usual, Google tops the list with 376 of the last 2,000 views. Most of the visits to my blog come from Google searches. I periodically look at what people are looking for when they find my blog. That helps me categorize my content better, and sometimes leads me to improve specific posts. But that's a topic for another post.

In second place, with 256 views when you combine the results for "www.brownstoner.com" and "brownstoner.com", is Brownstoner. You can also see several other familiar (to Brooklyn readers) blogs: Living in Victorian Flatbush, Ditmas Park Blog, Kensington (Brooklyn) (with 2 URLs), and Brooklyn Junction. They're all neighbors who write about local topics.

Next is "No referring link." In theory, this should reflect all views where folks visited my blog directly, without getting referred by a link from another page. In practice, this also includes anyone who is blocking referrer information, or who has cookies disabled, perhaps specifically for StatCounter.

There are always some sources of error in numbers. Identifying and removing them is important to me. For that I prefer the power tool of "hit counters" Google Analytics.

Update: By the evening, Flatbush Gardener was #3.
#3 Top 100 Gardening Sites

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