A year ago today I launched this web site. Joan, my friend with the theological chops, had been telling me for years that I ought to consolidate all my mischief into one site. She designed the first OK Chorale web site but she said her skills weren’t up to anything more complex. Not wanting her chops to go to waste, I set her praying.
Gwen, my neighbor who knows something about just about everything, and I spent one miserable afternoon trying to create a web site on one of those Do it Yourself sites. Gwen made one for herself (https://sites.google.com/site/gphowellsite/home) but eventually I found my web designer, Nate, on Craigslist. (http://www.sterr-bros.com/)
Nate was great. He answered all my questions in language I could understand and he listened –so to speak, since the consultations were all done via e-mail–to what I wanted. I love what he came up with. He makes changes and updates for me and has been especially savvy, I think, with getting this website onto search engines.
Behind the scenes of the blog itself is a thing called the “Dashboard.” I can go into the Dashboard to post and edit blogs and comments, and insert photos and links.
But the part of the Dashboard that I haunt is the “Counts per Day.” I have watched the number of hits climb from 250 that first month to well over 1000 a month. I knew in the beginning that my friends and acquaintances were reading my blogs but I don’t have hundreds of friends. When I started posting links on Facebook, the numbers jumped. My friends have friends.
The “Referrers” section of the “Counts per Day” tells me how other readers are finding the site. I keep an eye of wonder on the “Visitors per Country.” In the beginning the U.S. was represented plus a few readers in Canada and the U.K. Then there were two from Japan and four from Brazil. Then suddenly Spain pulled into third place. I don’t know anyone in Spain, Japan or Brazil. By now I have gotten over 200 different visitors from Germany, and nearly 300 from Russia if you count the Ukraine as part of Russia which of course I do not.
I also have readers in France, the Netherlands, Romania (home of my maternal grandparents), Poland, Sweden, India, Latvia, Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
I would love to know who you all are!
Which brings me to the comments.
One of my closest friends, who shall go nameless but her name rhymes with Dinah, doesn’t want to leave a comment because of all she has to go through—name, e-mail address, URL. I know it’s all very tedious and it’s not like you are going to get a package from Amazon later in the week for your troubles. In addition, most of us don’t even know what an URL is let alone whether or not we have one.
Here’s what happens when you first leave a comment: you type your name, email address and the comment. No one can see your e-mail address except me (and Nate, but I doubt he has the time or interest). Leave the line for the URL blank. If you don’t know what your URL is it’s because you don’t have one. You don’t need one.
The first time you leave a comment, it comes to me. I decide if I want your comment on my web site. I can fix your grammar, punctuation, and spelling if I want to. Then I mark the comment approved and it goes up. When I do this, I am also approving of you and you get your own little quilt square as an identifying feature.
Thereafter when you leave a comment, it goes up immediately with whatever name you have given and your quilt square. I am notified that a new comment has been posted. If you have some grammatical error that is un-worthy of you, I can edit it after the fact. If I don’t like your comment I can delete it after the fact.
Sometimes my friends send comments on Facebook or in an e-mail. I can post these as comments on my web site. The comment goes up attributed to me and with my identifying quilt square. Since I only do this with flattering comments, it looks rather cheesy to have my name attached to them. So like the Wizard of Oz, I retire quickly behind the curtain and change my name to the name of whoever said such nice things about me. The only catch is that I haven’t figured out how to change the quilt square so there’s a tell.
There’s yet another function in the Counts per Day that gives me a frisson. It’s called “Currently on-line.” I can see at any given point when someone is currently on my web site and the country they are in. I like to look at 6:00 in the morning because that’s when I am most likely to find someone from Germany or Russia. I imagine them saying, “Boris! (or Helga) Here’s a new Local Dilettante.”
Anyway, thank you for reading. I get such pleasure from writing this blog! And Boris and Helga: please don’t be afraid to leave a comment!