When you publish a post, WordPress will automatically add “related post” hyperlinks at the bottom, with the idea that people might like to browse from related topic to related topic. Kind of like when you get stuck watching related videos on youtube for hours and hours.
I generally hate the idea.
The problem is that the “auto-generator” usually creates links that are barely related at best, and also tends to give the impression that I have intentionally linked in these posts, or endorsed them in some way. If I’m going to link to something, I’ll link to it. So I disabled the feature.
However, I recently got a ping-back on my Baconfest posts from Salut! Adventures, who had written an honest to goodness bacon poem. Now that’s a related link! In fact, it’s not just a bacon poem, but an awesome bacon poem, which I will now present to you. Although I didn’t write it, I wish I had. Enjoy.
The Vegan – A Baconfest Poem
Once upon a morning dreary, in my bathrobe, wan and weary,
I stood and gazed forlornly at my open icebox door.
There was no breakfast for the makin’, no smoky hardwood bacon,
And it seemed that I would soon be schlepping towards the corner store.
Schlepping sadly to the store.
But then there came a tapping, an annoying kind of rapping
On the wooden frame that stands around my humble kitchen door.
‘Twas my pink and chubby neighbor, come to ask of me a favor,
Come to borrow almond flavor that he knew I had in store.
Only this and nothing more.
“What’s the worry? Why the hubbub?” asked the portly little cherub,
As he watched me grab my house keys and walk ‘cross the kitchen floor.
I explained I had no bacon, and the toll that it was takin’
As I gave him almond extract and I showed him towards the door.
Showed him firmly towards the door.
“That’s no problem, said my neighbor, “You can get the same great flavor
From the tofu products you can buy at any health food store.
We vegans really love it, and you too will be fond of it,
Really, going without bacon is not that much of a chore.
Not too terrible a chore!”
“Ye Gods!” I spat and sputtered, and some expletives were muttered
As I wrestled with my neighbor like a warring Carnivore.
In a rage I hit and pounded , until suddenly astounded,
I saw a curly, porcine tail slip out onto the kitchen floor.
‘Twas a pig! And nothing more.
An hour later I was sated, with my bacon crave abated,
And I never even had to journey to the corner store.
My freezer now is packed with pounds of bacon, neatly stacked
Enough to last through summertime, and maybe even more.
And my neighbor? Nevermore.
I think I’m done revamping things for the millionth time…at least for now! Hopefully you all like the new look.
Now I can truly say the look of the blog is as unique as the content. I know this for sure, since the header image was based on a picture of us taken by my brother-in-law, and the background is based on a picture taken by us (I don’t remember who actually took the picture, but it was either me or Sara). So instead of looking like 250,000 other people, I look like me and only me. This is something that has been bothering me for a long, long time.
I tried a lot of things to get a feel for what I liked, and I think it turned out really nice. I think it is interesting without being distracting.
Thanks to all of you who voted on the final images on Facebook!
I am once again tinkering with the look of the blog. I liked how it looked before, but it always made me feel a bit uneasy to be using just a standard template, instead of something more unique to this space. When I found out there were 253,916 blogs using the same template as me, I couldn’t take it anymore.
So bear with me while I’m experimenting with different things. If you, like Sara, log on and see Kevin Bacon’s smile stretched creepily across the banner or replicated endlessly in the background, don’t panic. Things will stabilize soon. In the meantime, feel free to leave any comments or suggestions on this thread.
That is all.
- The Management
In general, the traffic on my blog has had a generally upwards trend since I started keeping track of such things in October 2008. There are a few ups and downs, and a couple of specific spikes which I was able to explain.
However, starting in December 2010 there was a huge dip in traffic, after which it has gone continually down. Last month I had less traffic than I have ever had since January 2009, when I started blogging every day. This month will be lower yet.
Anecdotally, despite the statistics, it seemed like roughly the same number of people were reading. I had about the same numbers of comments, and the same number of people sighing and saying “I read it on your blog!” when I launch into a story.
I should specify that I don’t do this for the traffic, per say. But as a blogger, you can’t help but look at the statistics and say, “What did I do to drive them away? What am I doing wrong?”
Sara has been listening to me complain about this for months, but then she finally gave me the clue that I needed to figure it out:
“Are you getting as many random searches as you used to get?”
As a matter of fact, I had noticed that I had not. I usually keep a running list of funny searches people used to get to my blog, and I hadn’t had anything to add to that in months. But I had never connected that to the decrease in traffic before.
Once I figured that out, I connected the dots and realized that I had moved to shanehalbach.com in mid-November 2010, right before the big traffic drop in December. I don’t know how that never occurred to me before, but it made perfect sense: my web-rank went down.
Not to be too technical, but search engines have sophisticated algorithms to decide which search results are most likely what their searches are looking for. Websites that have a high “web-rank” are returned at the top of search results. Spam websites, or new websites with no authority or popularity are ranked lower, since it is less likely that someone searching for something is actually looking for them. So in a sense, the rich truly get richer; the more traffic you get and the more people link to your website, the higher you return in the search results, so the more likely random people are to find your website.
By moving to a new domain, I was basically starting over again at 0.
Anybody who had previously linked to my site was now linked to my old site. And because wordpress.com is a well known, well reputed site who tries to keep out spammers, etc. I was previously benefiting from being associated with them (this was part of my confusion, since I’m still technically a part of wordpress.com, but apparently the search engines don’t see it that way). I also lost other traffic that was previously driven to me from inside of the wordpress network. From what I’ve seen online, this is all supposed to come back in a month or two after moving your site thanks to special web redirects that wordpress puts in place, but that obviously didn’t work for me. And I never would have guessed that so much of my traffic was due to my wordpress.com URL.
So the question is, knowing what I know now, was the move worth it?
I still think so. While I’m disappointed with less traffic, I’m not nearly as disappointed as I was when I thought that people were just getting disgusted with my blog and stopped reading it. I can’t really feel too bad that people searching for “clocks” don’t land my blog anymore. And obviously I don’t just do it for the traffic, since I would be (and was) blogging anyway, even if nobody is reading.
So if switching is going to take you down to 0, you might as well do it sooner, rather than later. This site is probably not destined to achieve much web rank anyway, since it is pretty random and not devoted to any single topic. In other words, it is relatively unlikely that someone who doesn’t know me would be interested in reading it.
So that’s it. Thanks for not abandoning me, even if I thought you had!
Big news! I finally bit the bullet and moved over to a new domain, shanehalbach.com!
Since I haven’t had a new look for about 2 years, and really haven’t changed my color scheme since 2004, I decided to go for something totally different. I may be tweaking things for a day or two until everything gets resolved, but I think it is more or less set at the moment. I’m really enjoying the change of pace!
If I did everything correctly, you should not even need to update your feeds. The old url (erith1.wordpress.com) should now redirect here.
So enjoy everyone! Let me know what you think in the comments.
This is my 1,000th post!
1,000 entries is a whole lot of blog. But 1,000 entries in and of itself doesn’t mean a whole lot, so I was curious about how much writing that actually is.
WordPress doesn’t seem to have a utility to tally up all the words in all of your posts, so I had to write one myself. I calculate that I’ve written over 330,000 words on this blog. That’s over 1.5 million characters typed.
Why? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll figure it out by post 2,000.
(Note that there are 30 some odd private entries, not counted in the 1,000 posts, but counted in the word count)
Periodically, I like to round-up some of the strange things that people search for in google that land them on my blog. Certainly I get plenty of normal searches, but there are always a few that leave me scratching my head. Sometimes I can think of the post that might have caught their attention, sometimes I can’t.
- “wheelchair broom” – No idea what this means. Is it a broom for cleaning off a wheelchair? Why would such a thing exist?
- “pictures of chicken in the shape of fish” – Maybe they’re looking for some kind of ad campaign? I can’t fathom what on my blog could have registered on this one.
- “whale with a jelly fish on its head” – I’m intrigued by this one, I might have to perform my own search on it.
- “Jackie P—– psychopath” – Okay, this one cracked me up. Certainly I know the Jackie in question (name blanked out to protect the innocent), but I don’t think of her as a psychopath! Obviously somebody does…
- “olympic jelly fish” – I’d pay to see jelly fish Olympics
- “reasons not to like the dentist” - Ah, I love it when I have a satisfied customer!
- “nun skin” – YES! I finally got a hit on nun skin!
- “a person who smells like a cat” – Yeesh, I hope I wasn’t the one they were looking for. They did end up on my blog…is there something you guys aren’t telling me?
- “farting in the bathtub” – What did they hope to find? Video? Why did they find me? Oh wait, a quick search did reveal a post. Very well. But I still don’t know why they are searching for it.
- “supernatural shane” – Of course I have talked frequently about the show Supernatural, but I’d prefer to think of this one as someone who refers to me as “Supernatural Shane”.
- “you’re not a fox you’re a weasel” – Score! A fellow dog trainer!
- “bacon wrapped mashed potatoes” – Uh, kind of hard to wrap mashed potatoes with anything. Although if they found a result, I’m all for it.
- “gateways to hell on earth” – Now I happen to have a post on this, but I want to know what else they found? Was this a serious search, like “I’d like to find all of the gateways to hell on Earth for my own nefarious purposes…”?
- “hungarian honeys” – All the hot XXX hungarian honeys you can imagine! That’s practically why I run this blog! Truly, I should have just named the thing Hungarian Honeys.
As I mentioned in my previous post on the subject, I am endlessly fascinated by some of the things that people google which result in them landing on my blog. So here are some of the highlights. These are broken down into a few categories of amusement, 1) what the heck was that person searching for, 2) how did that search land on my blog, 3) I don’t know why someone was searching for that, but amazingly, I have a blog post for them!
What the heck was that person searching for?
- ‘tactical mayonnaise’ – Lunch tactics? Or war tactics?
- ‘resplendent start with the dead’ – I don’t know what that means, but I’ve had that one no less than 4 times!
- ‘pull out fingernails’ – Yeesh. No thank you!
- ‘human zombie cat’ – Yeesh! NO THANK YOU! Stitch together your sick creations on someone else’s blog thank-you-very-much. I have enough trouble with a living, non-human-hybrid cat.
- ‘jelly fish hunting fighting boats’ – What could that even mean? It conjures images of sea battles with giant mutant jelly fish.
How did that search land on my blog?
These are usually things that I don’t believe I’ve ever talked about, but I do in fact agree with or support. So it’s like Google detected that these people think like me and led them to my blog, despite me never mentioning anything of the sort.
- ‘are “two question” marks aggressive’ – I don’t know how they found me, but for any future searches on this topic: Yes. Yes they are.
- ‘awesome cat’ – Okay, I had a couple of hits on this one, but I’m not sure how those found me. I have the opposite. But I did get a hit on ‘nusiance cats’, so that one I understand.
- ‘what do zombie pirates say?’ – I really don’t know. But I kind of feel like, if anybody should know, I should know, right?
- ‘where there be pirates’ – Was this a search by an actual pirate?!
- ‘i grit my teeth when i pet my cat’ – My favorite, hands down. It describes my position exactly. I don’t think I ever said that on my blog though, so how did they end up here?
I don’t know why someone was searching for that, but amazingly, I have a blog post for them!
- ‘big headed chiquita bananas’ – Lead to this post, in which I mention the chiquita banana lady, but not the size of her head.
- ‘bacon evie’ – Now those are good search terms for finding me! I get a lot of ‘erith1 is this thing on?’ searches, but those are more obvious. What if ‘bacon evie’ was looking for someone else?
- ‘litter box in bathroom curtain AND cat peed on curtains why’ – I soo feel for the desperation of the person searching for this. Now, my cat didn’t pee on my curtains, but my story did involve both cat pee and a curtain. So I wasn’t too far off.
- ‘picklerita’ – Wow, I actually had a good post for them! There can’t be that many picklerita posts out there.
- ‘she toot on me’ – ::sigh:: but I did get a ‘toot hole’ search, so maybe the phrase is catching on!
On Friday I wrote a post about the Olympics and Chicago. It went live at 10:49 a.m., as soon as I heard the announcement. I had actually written the post the night before, and I was so sure Chicago was going to be awarded, that I wrote the whole thing as, “Yay, we did it!” So I had to totally re-do the post that morning.
At 11:54 I was notified that my post was promoted to the top story on wordpress.com, where it stayed for the rest of the day as the only Olympic related post. I was pretty excited about this. Too bad I had just completed my important moments in blogging timeline post! As expected, the post proceeded to blow up, dwarfing all of my previous high traffic numbers. I had over 1,500 hits on my blog that day (my previous high was like 150) and around 22 comments on the post, many of them from Brazil (and some not in English!) It remained on the front page Saturday and Sunday, netting me another 28 comments and 1,400 hits and 20 comments and 1,300 hits respectively. So, in three days, my blog had over 4,303 people visit, and that post received 70 comments.
I’m not going to lie, it was a lot of fun. I couldn’t stop compulsively checking it all weekend. I would go away for a few minutes and when I came back, there would be more comments. I was trying to approve the comments as fast as possible to keep the discussion going. It’s kind of funny because I didn’t really put any more time and effort into that post than any of my other posts. So it is kind of interesting to read all of the comments and really analyze that post in detail. I’m guessing my post was picked because it is somewhat informative, with a hometown view, without being critical or nasty. I wonder how much thought they put into picking posts for the front page. It’s probably totally random.
Anyway, in order to capitalize on the traffic, I put posts up for Saturday and Sunday as well. Many people who stopped did go and check out the next post back, to see if there was anything interesting. What post was it? The Toot Hole. <sarcasm>Lovely. I couldn’t have picked a better one if I tried, that’s exactly the post I would want the world to read. </sarcasm>
As of today the post is still on the front page, though it’s not the top post anymore, moving down 7 spots. I don’t know how often they change it, but it seems like it might be up there for a couple of more days. As much fun as it was to constantly see the stats going up, I don’t exactly feel like personally accomplished. After all, it was more of a “right place at the right time” kind of thing than a “my blog is awesome and deserved it” kind of thing. Still, I guess you make your own luck to some degree, and if you put enough stuff out there, something’s bound to catch on.
So, if you were wondering what was going on here over the weekend, now you know. And knowing is half the battle. The other half is getting your lazy keister off the couch. If only G.I. Joe would have had 10 more seconds each week to explain the second half of the battle, they could have changed the outlook of an entire generation.
One of, if not THE main reason I moved to wordpress from livejournal was that livejournal didn’t offer the ability to see statistics. And the best part about those statistics are seeing what searches on google are leading to hits on my blog.
These statistics are not at all what you would expect, but they are fascinating. For example, the most frequent search item that people use to find this blog is ‘clock’. Searches that involve that word have landed on this blog more than 1,070 times. I just can’t fathom that! I’m sure there are entire blogs devoted just to clocks. As far as I know, I have only really mentioned clocks two times, and in passing at that. How far down the list must my blog be that people are finding me?
After clocks, my next two most searched for items are running neck and neck at just over 200 hits each. Kate Micucci is narrowly beating out searches related to the Mario ? box. The first I feel okay about since I actually took time and energy to write up an informative post. The second I feel a little bad about, since my post is really just a summary and link-through to another post. Still, at least in those cases I’m fairly sure that the searchers got what they were looking for, as opposed to all those clock people.
Sometimes when I look at the search results, I know exactly which post of mine the person found. For example, when someone for some reason searches for ‘smell my gas’, well, I know I happen to have a post with that name. Same goes for ‘phantom pig‘, though I’m not sure why anybody is searching for either of those things. Or when I see one for ‘job hunting secretly’, I chuckle to myself thinking, “Oh ho buddy, have I got a post for you.” I’m always glad when I feel like I have satisfied a request. Another example, I know the person who searched for ’awesomest man ever’ definitely found what they were looking for.
Sometimes I know which post they found, but I’m not really sure if I have satisfied their request. For example, requests like ’larp babes’ or ‘hot larpers’ obviously led them to this post, but it doesn’t look like they found what they were looking for. Or ’what do hipsters eat’ obviously led them here, but were they wanting to learn how to be a hipster or were they just generally curious? Like, “What the heck DO they eat?”
Some posts I really, really hope they DIDN’T find what they were looking for, or else I would get a little self conscious, like the person who found me by searching for ’fat man at baseball game’. I don’t *think* I’ve been to any baseball games lately, but hey they found my blog didn’t they? The same goes for 15 or so hits I’ve received on ‘odd looking people’. I mean, I’m not so attractive, but I hope nobody would describe me as “odd”. But here they are on my blog! (j/k by the way, I know those hits go here)
Some search terms are very specific to where I have no idea what they were searching for at all, much less how in the world they ended up on my blog. Take, for example, the search for ’picture of 6 rings march 14,2009′.
Then there are the very odd searches, like ‘zombie solution stuck in a building‘ or ‘how to explain a picture to a dead rabbi’. Aside from having no clue which post on my blog could have possibly fulfilled the search criteria, do you think someone communes with the spirit of a rabbi who died before the invention of the camera? And this person thought maybe he’d find someone in a similar situation on the Internet whose advice he might ask?
I’ve added some new videos to MySpace. Unfortunately, WordPress.com doesn’t allow you to embed MySpace videos, so you’ll have to click on the links. Maybe someday I’ll upload them to youtube or something.
The first video is an older video showing some of Evie’s first steps.
The second video is a newer video of Evie after she had been walking for a while. We got her some new shoes and they were a little stiffer than the shoes she had when she was learning to walk. She did not like them!
The third video is brand spanking new video of Evie being a genius. She has had an explosion of words lately. It seems like she is learning a few new words every day. We’ve lost track of how many words she knows now, but our rough guess is about 25. Anything from “tree”, to “house”, to “key”, to her personal favorite words “fishy” and “cheese” (well, actually, she is still very fond of “no”).
I can’t wait to see what month 14 brings!
Certainly the search capability has added a lot to the navigatability of the site, but I thought we needed more. Well, it’s not all staying up late to watch velociraptor self defense videos here at the blog! I went back through all 334 back posts and tagged and categorized them. So you will notice two new features over there on the right. One is a “categories” drop down that will let you see all the entries in a particular category. The other is a “tag cloud” which showes you some of the more popular tags with the more used tags equating to a larger word. Click on the tag to see all entries tagged in such a manner. Of course you can click on a category or tag on a particular entry to see other entries with the same category / tag. Some particularly useful tags are “video” to see videos posted here and “game” to see links to internet games.
Hopefully people find this useful, let me know. I’m not sure if I like the tag cloud or not, so I might get rid of that.
That is all.
So…the new me!
I mentioned a while ago that I was getting pretty frustrated with LiveJournal. Everybody knows time has sort of passed them by, but in particular it is ridiculous that they don’t have an integrated search feature! I also was annoyed with the lack of support for Google Analytics or any sort of page tracking at all. Those were probably the two biggest problems.
So I got a Blogger account and spent some time getting that all set up the way I wanted it. I really like how Blogger lets you adjust the style sheet manually if you want to, something that WordPress charges you extra for. With Blogger I could integrate Google Analytics (you better be able to since they are both Google products!) and of course there is a search feature (again, Google) so I was happy enough about that. I went back and forth for a long time, but eventually it was clear the only reason I was staying with LiveJournal was loyalty.
So I was all ready to make the switch when I discovered that you can’t easily import into Blogger! I certainly wasn’t going to let all of my old posts disappear! There were clients you could download to do it, but it essentially amounted to adding all of your old entries and then backdating them. Kind of annoying.
Of course WordPress is sort of the hmm hmm hmm of blogging and I kind of always felt deep down inside that a computer programmer aught to be using something a little more complex than LiveJournal. Really though, the ease of importing is what caused me to make a 90 degree turn at the last minute and set up a WordPress account instead.
So I like the integrated page tracking / analytics from WordPress, the search capability, and I already mentioned the built in import (and export should I change my mind) functionality. I like the ability to customize the sidebar that I didn’t have with LiveJournal. I like having the comments on same page as the entry so you can look up and reread it, as opposed to the Blogger style where the comments are on a separate page. And LiveJournal had the stupid idea to ignore my nice style I spent all that time setting up when you clicked on the post or went to look at the comments! I also like the idea that with WordPress I can always host my blog in my own domain in the future if I so choose, not just redirect there.
So anyway, here I am! I don’t have a mood or music setting with each post, but frankly I won’t miss them! Sometimes it was annoying to try to think of my mood and the whole thing seemed kind of myspacy (although pre-myspace). I have a lot of options to explore (a lot more than I had with LiveJournal) so I will probably still be tweaking things for a while.
So tell me loyal readers…what do you think?
Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!
Please bear with me while I get this blog in order…