Friday, June 12, 2009

Who visits PhotoReflect?

click photo to enlarge
At the very bottom of this page is a hit counter icon/link from Site Meter. By using a piece of their code in the Blogger template I can gather a few useful statistics about the hits I get. As well as the number of visitors, how many pages they view, how long they spend here, which country they're from and so on, it also tells me some basic information about their computer - screen resolution, OS, browser, colour depth and other bits and pieces. Lest anyone should see this as Big Brotherish, let me emphasise that NONE of this is personal information, just generic stuff that's useful in terms of deciding how to present web pages to potential viewers and readers.

About half of the people I get each day are returning visitors who usually click a browser bookmark of the blog address or come through, for example, Google Reader, or the Atom feed, though now and again I get a flurry from an email link. The other half arrive here through either a text or an image search. One of the other useful pieces of information that the hit counter offers is details of the search that a person makes - the search engine and search terms are listed. If that's news to anyone, or if some people find it a bit scary, get used to it: all this information has always been available from internet users. However, only your ISP, or perhaps some shadowy government agency with your ISP's connivance, can track that information back to you.

But, that's not the main point of today's "reflection" which is to comment on how surprising it can be to discover which blog images and articles attract the most search engine hits. In recent weeks, topping the text searches has been Why black and white photography? and The corrugated chair, whilst Beautiful feathers and A Victorian Garden have been the most popular image searches. Why those? Well it's my guess that they perhaps deal with subjects that are less widely covered on the web, so come nearer the top of a search. But, I can't acount for my all-time winner in terms of searches, both text and image - Blue glass, with clouds. What is it about that post that regularly brings visitors to PhotoReflect? I'm at a loss to answer my own question.

One thing I can say with a fair degree of certainty is that today's black and white rendering of a pink rose, a conversion I did for the lovely soft grey tones that it produced, will generate few search-based hits!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 35mm macro (70mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f9
Shutter Speed: 1/200
ISO: 200
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On