If you ever want an education in how fucked up the internet is, go to your blog’s stats page and click on the list that shows which posts you’ve written that have the most hits all time. Chances are, you will come away quite disappointed that much of your best work is nowhere to be seen, while some garbage you spit out on a day when your creative give-a-damn was busted has been seen by thousands of people in some third world country you didn’t even think had electricity.
WordPress likes us to think that because these posts have generated so many “hits”, that they must be the items we’ve written that are the most popular among readers… and we should strive to give these readers more of “what they want.” Of course, this is a steaming load of utter cyber bullshit. My friend Marilyn from the Serendipity blog has railed about this is the past, and now today, I’m going to delve into the list of my ten most hit-on posts to show just how meaningless these stats really are…
Here are the ten posts on Evil Squirrel’s Nest which have received the most “hits” since I started this blog in December 2011. If you’ve just started reading this mess I write during the last year or so, you won’t even recognize any of this shit since the most recent entry is from June of last year!
10. “A Toast To Dick” – May 28, 2013 – 238 hits
One of my early entries in the Retro TV Ad Tuesday series that I still occasionally add to, this post looked back at the classic Miller Lite campaign from the late 90’s centered around a mysterious advertising genius named Dick who wrote a bunch of bizarrely twisted spots for the beer. A good effort for sure, but it wouldn’t even be in mine, or probably even in any of my readers’ top ten lists of just my retro ad posts, let alone everything!
This one is simple, and shows one of the major flaws in relying on hit counts to judge a post’s popularity. I provided links to YouTube videos of 11 classic Dick ads, and each time a reader clicks on a link, that post scores a hit. Often, when I see someone has stumbled onto this post, I’ll notice a big hit number and the “Clicks” folder will tell the tale…. someone has viewed a number of the commercials. The daily graph for this post shows no fewer than seven different spikes where this post got 8 or more “hits” all coming months after the post went live…
9. “Squirrel Awareness Month!” – October 1, 2012 – 246 hits
I always take time to recognize Squirrel Appreciation Day every January 21, and Squirrel Appreciation Month every October. This post was a total lameass, lazy attempt to recognize this 31 days of sciurine worship (in a month I ironically held a squirrel boycott the final two weeks of), and is probably one of the shortest non-comics posts I’ve ever written… and yet, here it is as my 9th most popular post!
Why Squirrel Awareness?
Timing is everything. During the Fall of 2012, I went on a massive hunt via WordPress’ search engine trying to drum up visitors and build a following. For every visitor who stuck around and became a part of my original gang, many more merely stopped by to see what moron liked or commented on a post on their blog and quickly forgot I even existed. Many of those people were directed to this post… and look at that Facebook share count on it, 15! Since I obviously don’t share stuff on a website I have no account on, none of those came from me…
And incidentally, this post has been viewed exactly one time in all of 2014…
8. “Lego My Squirrel!” – February 1, 2013 – 261 hits
So I was trolling on WP’s search function and happened upon this awesome red squirrel made out of Legos. I just had to share it on The Nest! It amused me even more when the person who originally posted it got my pingback and was all excited that the Lego Squirrel design had been “featured on The Evil Squirrel’s Nest!” I’m now officially a mover and shaker!
Why Lego Squirrels?
Well, if you thought it was because of its irresistible awesomeness, you better think again. This one has probably the most bizarre story behind why it’s in my Top 10 than any of the others…
Prior to January 26th of this year, this post had all of 53 total views. Then, a spammer latched onto it and posted a link to it relentlessly on some Boston sports message board that day. In a span of barely 24 hours, the post received 184 hits with the message board as the referrer. I admit to being a little freaked out that I was gonna get a bunch of angry sports fans yakking about how I was being a troll on their forum that I wasn’t even aware of until it popped up in my dashboard… but as it turned out, nothing happened, and Lego Squirrel soon went back to being just another one of my lost posts…
7. “Sandy” – January 26, 2012 – 287 hits
If you know the story of how my year-end awards for the best search terms that show up on my Dashboard got to be named The Sandy Awards, then you probably know why this post is here. I introduced a number of my characters in early posts on this blog, and this one was dedicated to my earliest creation, the blonde haired grey squirrel I named Sandy…
… while being completely oblivious to the existence of THIS Sandy Squirrel….
And if you think all those hits were innocent searches for Spongebob’s underwater sciurine friend, oh, you better think again….
6. “The Prevert Test” – June 18, 2012 – 345 hits
If you want to see what many of those Sandy searches were looking for, then read this post where I try to sort it out myself, and put Google’s Image search to the test…
And naturally, this post itself wound up garnering even more X-rated Sandy and Spongebob searches than even the original Sandy post did!
5. “Spam, Glorious Spam!!!” – August 28, 2012 – 423 hits
This was one of my trademark “tributes” to some of the tasty offers that wound up in my email account’s spam folder that I came up with on a boring day when I wanted to post something… anything!
Because apparently people who are stupid enough to believe in these moronic scams, but not quite gullible enough to actually send their checking account number over to someone in Nigeria without first consulting Google, will do searches for the keywords in these spam emails. In the four months between this post hitting my blog and the end of 2012, it racked up a whopping 293 hits, over 2/3 of those coming from searches involving one of the listed scams. The most popular was people checking to see if they could really get a $25 iTunes gift card if they took some stupid Instagram survey…
4. “That Smell…” – September 8, 2012 – 510 hits
This post was a tribute to one of my favorite animals, the skunk. Yes, I realize that’s an awfully batshit insane thing to say, but I do love these little stinkers, which is why I have a few of them in my cartoon gang. But does this mean everyone else loves them too!?!?
“That Smell” is actually one of the most consistently viewed posts I have ever written. This is the 25th month since it was first posted, and it has never had more than 49, nor fewer than 9 hits in any of those calendar months. Besides drawing a handful of general skunk related searches, it also has two images in it that for some reason rate high on Google…
A lot of image searchers for Pepe le Pew wound up sidetracked to The Nest…
As were those looking for the ever-popular Aire Master skunk.
3. “XXX Marks The Spot” – April 15, 2012 – 602 hits
For the longest time, this was the most popular post on my blog… a piece I did on the role of sexuality in the cartoon business, and the tie between the world of toons and porn. And of course, this post was inspired by all of those naughty Spongebob and Sandy searches I referred to above. Warning: Contains images of sexy 80’s cartoon characters, naked unicorns, and humping hyenas!
Well, those nasty searches that inspired it naturally turned on this post as well. But the bulk of the views for this post came in rather embarrassing fashion. That Fall when I was roaming the halls of WordPress for prospective followers, this was the post those bloggers were being directed to when they got the automated email saying I liked one of their posts! Can you imagine being invited to view some strange blogger’s site who had taken an interest in one of your posts, and having the very first link be to something called “XXX Marks the Spot”!?!?
Yet somehow, a lot of people wound up viewing it anyway (and some even stuck around!). I guess it didn’t scare everyone off…
2. “Behind The Iron Curtain” – June 22, 2013 – 622 hits
This was a Saturday Squirrel post I did featuring some selections from a professional spread of various Eastern European squirrels… who are some of the most beautiful creatures on earth.
Why tufty-eared squirrels?
I’m not much of a fan of the Olympics, but the Winter Games in Sochi this year somehow spurred a shitload of searches for “russian squirrel”, and guess where many of those led to? On Febraury 7th alone , the day of the opening ceremonies, this post got 107 hits! I wound up with 339 total for the shortest month of the year! Thank you Vladimir Putin for helping make The Nest the worldwide hub of Russian squirrel activity…
1. “Playing Possum” – January 8, 2013 – 781 hits
Of the 630 posts I have now published on this blog, the one that has far and away gotten the most “views” is nothing short of my tribute to the wonderful little critter known as the possum! You will probably contract diabeetus looking at all of the marsupialistic cuteness that is contained in this one little article that stands head and shoulders above everything else I have ever written in the eyes of the almighty WordPress!
Why not possums, is more like it! Everyone loves these squishable little bifurcated cuties, right Goldfish?
Actually, what propelled this post from the fringes of the Top 10 right up to the #1 spot was the fact that, once again, Google latched onto my blog to direct people making general searches that might normally take them somewhere else. Between late March and the middle of May this year, this post got over 400 views… almost entirely coming from people using search terms as generic as just plain “possum.” As those who try spamming my comments know, my SEO knowledge is not very good, but somehow I hooked a lot of unwitting people into taking in my minority opinion towards these roadkill cuties!
Aaargh, it’s that scary possum picture again!
I’ll have to check out my posts to see what has proved “most popular”.
Check it out, you may be surprised what ranks with the internet! I would hope it would be the one where Buster laughs his nuts off…
I was fond of possums until the morning, exiting my then-home in Boston, a large anti-social possum had taken up residence on my stoop. It was not letting anyone pass. We did have a back door and we used it, but I’ve had ambivalent feelings towards my marsupial pals ever since. He was so unfriendly … and it was MY porch. MINE.
I am actually pained by some of my “most popular” posts, including my favorite, the one I copied and pasted (it’s an internet joke) from Facebook and which has garnered more than 5000 hits. The reblogs that do better than anything I write. But trending and ultimately likely to be my MOST POPULAR post EVER (eventually because it’s the Energizer Bunny of my posts) is “Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid: The Jonestown Massacre” or words to that effect. The weirdest part of this very weird story? If I Google “jonestown, jim jones, kool-aid, massacre” — I NEVER get my post. So where are they coming from? Not Google.
Awwww, how cute! I think he just wanted petted! 🙂
It’s weird how people can come across our posts. I find search engine referrers from time to time that I didn’t even know existed!
Lordy, I wonder what mine are? Most of my search terms are “I am sad” or “I am depressed” but every so often I get other weird terms. Today is “snoopy student special hug”. No, don’t want to know or imagine.
I am pretty sure my top two would be the celebrity suicide post and one or more of M’s story. Hopefully I have something more upbeat in the ranks too!
You never know. A lot of a post’s “hit count” comes from viewers clicking on an mage or a link… and if they find the image off of Google, they probably never even see the post itself. If you’ve never looked at your top posts before, you’ll probably be surprised what is up there!
Yeah I keep tabs on what my most popular posts are. I’m not too disappointed in what has been near the top, but sometimes what I think was really good only gets a few hits. You’re right that the quality of the post isn’t a big factor in the hit counter – there are too many other things that influence it. For me, the top posts were due to referrals from the Calming Manatee (for that interview) and click-baiting posts I put on IMDB forums (e.g. “Amazing Spiderman was the worst movie of 2012” = instant attention).
Three of my Top 4 were due to certain images ranking high on Google… and that’s it. I’ll bet most of those “hits” came from people who never even clicked on my post! At least with referrals, you know someone’s viewed your post (and maybe even bothered to read it)….
It is indeed an interesting subject. My “sock monkey” posts continue to be on my greatest hit list but also I am very pleased people often bounce onto my blog after they type in free amigurumi patterns or the like. I secretly wish the paid for ones were as popular as the free ones. 😀
Yeah, I’ll bet not many people actively seek out things they have to buy… especially when they’re busy falling for all those get rich quick email scams!
yes!!! My inbox is full of two things, one is too obvious to mention (increasing anatomical size of non musical organ) and the other is people wanting to give me large amounts of “free” money. I pay two dollars a month to keep them down but they still manage to squeeze through. 😀 LOL!!
A basket full of kitten stands no chance next box full of opossums.
I wonder if people googling “Russian squirrel” were also looking for fur coats.
My most popular posts on my other blog were all related to incest, subject that I never touched, I may have mentioned motherly love, but that’s about it.
LOL. Your incest is my squirrel porn. Heck, I once did a comic about “incest”…
My possums would eat the kittens and reclaim the prize…
The internet is a sick, sick place apparently. Everyone just searches for naked cartoons and “Dick.”
Do possums always have their mouths wide open? Is this a thing?
What’s funny is a lot of those “Dick” searches were looking for “Dick toasts” WTF are dick toasts!?!?!? Ick! Does anyone ever toast Hamburglar?
That’s a good question about possums that I don’t know the answer to (I’ve only seen a live one once)…. but circumstantial evidence from most of the pictures I’ve found seems to say that yes, their mouths are usually open.
My top posts always seem to involve hooker boots and urinals…not a very encouraging or well-rounded list… 😦
That was true for me for a very long time but finally, some of my better posts (in my opinion, anyhow) are getting a bit more of the action. It takes more time than we think it should.
I strive to one day to write a popular post about urinals! I am jealous!