I have Site Meter at the bottom of my blog, and if you're ever curious, you can click on the button to see how many people visit my blog and how long they tend to stay. The averages are given for the last 7 days.
There was a controversy not too long ago, when somebody got upset that the number of visits didn't mean what they thought it meant. But if that person had read the information Site Meter sent him when he signed up, he would have known that a "visit" is for a half-hour time period.
So, if you come to my blog, spend a minute reading it, then go look at someone else's blog, and come back to mine ten minutes later, that only counts as one visit. If you come to my blog, start reading, and the phone rings, so you leave my blog up on your computer while you talk to your best friend for an hour, Site Meter counts that as one visit, not two half-hour visits.
It's close enough for my purposes, because Site Meter is free and I understand how it works. I could pay them for fancier information, but what they provide already is plenty to suit my taste.
Because, what they let me see that they don't let you see on my blog is where my visitors come from. People come here from all over the world, and some of the places have surprised me. They've visited from France and Germany, Romania and Poland, Russia and Ukraine, Singapore and Taiwan, Georgia and Uzbekistan, and of course, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. A few times I've had visitors from Tehran, and it's made me wonder if the Ayatollah is keeping tabs on all the Iranians.
And I think twice I've seen people from Beijing. Doing Google searches. When Google has cut a deal with the People's Republic of Red China to block the oppressed masses from accessing anti-communist websites. I don't know whether to be happy the People's Chinese people can get to my blog, or whether to be disappointed that I'm not controversial enough or big enough to warrant being blocked.
Most of the foreign visitors come by mistake. I can tell because it says they visited for 0 seconds. Somebody in, say, Latvia, did a Google search on "violent puppy" and got directed to one of my posts with the word, "violent," in the title. They take one look and say, "That's not what I was looking for," and they go on to the next search result.
When I poke around in Site Meter, I like to look at all the foreign visitors, whether they stayed to read my blog or not, and I usually ignore the US-based folks. Most of my mistaken visitors are doing Google Image searches.
The most common images people are looking at are the ocean currents, the sky maps, the twins, the dog and cat, and Auschwitz.
The Auschwitz image search puzzles me, not because people want to see it, but because I didn't put the picture in my post. I just linked to it. But Google still send people to my blog for it, and when they don't see the picture, they go away.
Lately, though, something strange has been happening. People in Europe have been looking for images of the Mobley Hotel (it was in this post). I don't get that. It's not a very good-looking photo. And unless you know--and care--that it was Conrad Hilton's first hotel, why would you be looking for it? Maybe there's a better, fancier hotel somewhere named the Mobley and people are hoping to find that one.
Yesterday, I have to say, took the cake on what brought people to my blog. It was that unshown picture of Auschwitz. I had over 80 people visit yesterday, and 29 of them came for the Auschwitz picture. Unheard of! They came from all over Canada (from Kamloops, BC, to Toronto) and from Europe and (I even stopped ignoring the US) from across America.
It was so strange. I looked in Wikipedia to see if it was the anniversary of the liberation, but that's not until January 27th, so I don't know why they came.
At least when Private Lamin's World War I blog hit all the news wires and people--mostly from the UK and Australia--started coming for that, I could understand.
But I don't know what the significance is of everyone wanting to see a picture of Auschwitz yesterday. Some mysteries even Site Meter can't explain.