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My blog’s numbers

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Every once in a while I check my blog’s vital statistics, to see if I’m still alive. You can drill way down into the numbers, which reveal some surprising things.

Not surprisingly, most of the people who read my blog are from the U.S. In second place–which I wouldn’t have guessed–is China, and the numbers from there are staggeringly high. This past week, China surged to one-half my page views from the U.S., a number never before reached, and also accounted for nearly 40% of all visits. I don’t know what that means, except that interest in wine is exploding across China, and there must be a lot of English-speaking (or reading) wine lovers there. Either that, or they’re translating steveheimoff.com into Mandarin.

After China, my blog’s biggest readership comes from Sweden (!!), the Russian Federation (my ancestral homeland), Ukraine, the United Kingdom and Brazil.

The major cities where I’m read, in descending order, are San Francisco, Seattle, Sunnyvale, Sausalito, Stockholm (what’s with all the s’s?), New York, Moscow. The Chinese cities include Beijing, Shanghai, Hebei, Guangzhou and Nanning. Guangzhou is a “world” or “global” city, a center of world commerce. Nanning is a big, industrialized city in the south, while Hebei is adjacent to Beijing in the northeast and one of China’s most rapidly growing areas. I think these industrialized coastal cities are where China’s wine action is.

As for browsers, most people find their way here through Internet Explorer, followed by Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome, Safari and Netscape. Konquerer also shows up on the top ten list; I never heard of it, but Wikipedia says it’s “an international free software community producing an integrated set of cross-platform applications.”

I average 4,000-6,000 visitors a day, of which about 1/4 are uniques. People spend a little more than a minute or two reading my posts, which seems about right, given that they’re seldom more than 600 words, and it shouldn’t take much more than that to read through. I searched for the longest average daily visit length over the last year and it was 282 seconds, on 7/24/10. That was a Saturday, so it must have been for the previous day’s post, which was a Top 10 Wines of the Week. I don’t know why readers would linger over a Top 10 posting, but they do.

The biggest readership I’ve had all year was on Feb. 3 last, when 7,245 people visited, 3,901 of whom were uniques. The post that day was on Boz Scaggs and his winery on Mount Veeder. I guess it was a celebrity-type thing. It got 19 comments, not bad for steveheimoff.com, although nowhere near a record. The topics that drive comments are the controversial ones, like the 100 point system, blogging vs. print, blind vs. open tasting, and anything that is perceived as me going after Parker or Laube. (Well, we don’t have Parker to kick around anymore, do we? But we’ll soon have A. Galloni!) Incidentally, my readership has gone up every month since I started this thing, in May of 2008, and it looks like it will again this June. At some point, I would think it has to level off, but not yet.

By far the majority of my readers access the blog through a bookmark. After that, Yahoo and Google account for a sizable number, undoubtedly through searches, with Wine Business Online driving nearly as many eyeballs as Google. But you don’t have to just search for my name to find me. Bizarrely, the number one search term that comes up with my blog is “David and Goliath”! A year ago, I had a post called “When David Slew Goliath,” and apparently, anybody anywhere who searches for that term is going to have their search engine produce my blog. True, it might be the 106,645th hit on the list, but it will still pop up. (At least, that’s how I think it works.) However, the major key words that find my blog are, in order, wine, heimoff, goliath, david, steve, chihuly and california. (“Chihuly” is because I once mentioned the famous glass artist.)

Anyway, none of this means much, but it’s fun.

  1. They are fun facts, but then everything about wine should be fun in my opinion.

  2. Between 4,000 and 6,000 hits a day…..I just lost the giant erection I had over my recent bump in traffic from the Asimov interview. That is really amazing Steve, good for you, you sure as hell have earned it.

  3. Thanks Samantha.

  4. Vinogirl, most things about wine are fun, except for breaking down boxes, disposing of styrofoam and double-washing bottles to prevent fruit flies!

  5. I have been hearing about the exploding wine market via a friendship renewed after forty years…when I was in high school a student from Hong Kong stayed in my family’s house, and he found me again through a chance contact with a relative. He came for a visit with a friend of his from Shanghai, who had interesting stuff to say about how the Chinese are quickly moving towards a wine culture. While we often hear about the wealthy Chinese buying high end Bordeaux, what I found interesting is what this fellow had to say about the emerging middle class. Chinese love to gather in restaurants where there is lots of good, cheap food. It is getting more and more common to see tables of around 10 people with a 5L box of wine, usually red, as they are really focused on its touted health benefits, and the box will consumed, or close to it, in one sitting.

  6. Hěnduō Zhōngguó rén ài jiǔ!

  7. Steve,
    Thanks for the hints. From now on, I am going to mention an artist or historic figure or mythical beast in the title of every one of my blogs.

    No one ever searches for “food wines” or “super ripeness?”. Oh, and I think I will think about changing my name to Charlie Heimoff. A lot more people search for Heimoff than search for Olken.

    And remember, in your quiet moments, what I told you about the quality of your blog back when it was still a baby. Good on ya. As Sam says, you have earned your place through your writing.

  8. Paul Heimoff has a nice ring to it! I think my first PH post will be all about Anthony Weiner, Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, and the Battle of Hastings. We’ll keep trolling history till we see what sticks. Thanks for all the great advice. Feel free to use Steve Gregutt any time!

  9. Those are great numbers, Steve. Some of us would be happy with that kind of traffic for a month :)Speaking of your David and Goliath post, reminds me that shortly after the recent (apparently rescheduled) Rapture I looked at my site stats and found several “popular content” hits on the reviews I did for Jonathan Maltus’ Worlds End project in Napa Valley. It turned out a Google search for ‘end of the world’ had my Maltus notes listed first.

    You work hard at your blog and have an interesting authoritative viewpoint on a lot of subjects. That, and posting regularly is the secret to creating consistent traffic. Speaking of traffic, I’m loving mine today!

  10. Thanks Charlie. See you around the campus!

  11. Steve
    Congrats. The wonderful nature of blogs is- ITS ALL ABOUT YOU….NOT! Back to business, buddy. Write about how F’d up wine competitions are, or the latest celebrity vineyard, or, wait, how about sulfite-free wines? Before you force me to write about ME. Don’t become someone who BELIEVES the drivel on their own back label. Hugs, Bunt

  12. Jacques Beetge says:

    Agree with the above comments, wine is enjoyable and should be kept that way. We subscribe to a certain point of view and that is Heimoff, consistency and quality content and most importantly being yourself will double your figures, just watch.

    Oh South Africa must be in your stats some where?

  13. This Bunt is everywhere, and insulting everyone but himself–because he apparently has all the answers.

    If he did not hide behind a cloak of anonymity, we could judge him by his wines. As it is, all we have is his self-serving rhetoric. It would be fascinating to know whether he can actually make wine–or even if he does at all. The Internet is filled with people who say they are one thing and turn out to be something totally different.

    Come on, Bunt. Out of the closet.

  14. Count me as your one Oakhurst, Ca reader… Well I was born in Hong Kong if that boosts your China numbers (except it was a British crown colony at the time)…

  15. Nice numbers Steve. Now you need to monetize ;)

    In terms of what I get out of reading your blog, well it’s a number of things, in no particular order:

    Expertise/authority: matters more than ever IMHO in a sea of noise
    Passion: you clearly love what you do and it shows
    Personality: I’m getting a good picture of who you are
    Perspective: great to see the focus and perspective, particularly on Californian wine, which we don’t drink or think enough about over this side of the pond.

    Keep it up,

    Lar

  16. Do you have any other faithfull readers in Spain, apart from myself?

  17. Dear Fabio, I don’t know! Perhaps you can find out and tell me.

  18. Thank you Lar.

  19. And thank you Anna Marie!

  20. wow, those are impressive numbers! Add one more from Guelph, ON, Canada! We love our wine here too, maybe a bit too much!

    congrats and great work!

  21. Lisa Khajavi says:

    You can add another “s” to your list-Salt Lake City! Nice work.

  22. Careful with those stats, Eugene! :)

    The relevance of those numbers depends largely on the stat. program being used to track and analyze them.

    Google Analytics and Quantcast will give you relatively *low* numbers, because they can only measure activity that permits their code to be run. While very likely lower than the “real” numbers, they are more relevant in terms of ascertaining where real people are coming from to get to your blog, what they are searching for and generally the reach from the perspective of advertisers, etc.

    AWstats and similar programs that run on many web servers analyze log file activity. They will almost certainly *overstate* your real *relevant* traffic numbers, because they aren’t good at eliminating the numbers generated by visits from bots and search programs. That kind of traffic has some importance (if it’s really low than it could mean that your content is difficult to find on the web, for example) but isn’t due to real people and so isn’t usually considered very relevant for blogs.

    The truth lies somewhere in between. When I need to provide numbers, I usually go with Google but have been leaning towards trying to average between Google (hundreds of visitors per day) and AWstats (thousands per day with bot traffic numbers removed) to get a better sense of the actual traffic.

    The point is, if you use Google then your reach is probably a bit more than you think; if using web server stats, the reach is FAR lower than you think. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to get a perfect view (not for free, anyway!).

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