Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Some Observations at the Halfway Point

I planned to keep up this blog for one year, so here we are just past the halfway point.  Part of me thinks "Arggghh!  Lots more posts to write!" and part of me thinks "Wow, already?  How fast time flies!"  I want to pause and assess how it's going.

If I were trying to become a popular blogger, the results would be pretty discouraging - I have a small group of regular readers, and the occasional one-timer who stumbles upon me while looking for something else, or just browsing.   My blog host, Blogger, gives me some statistics that I've enjoyed following.  I have read that these are not necessarily perfectly accurate, and they try to weed out "bots" that roam around the internet without a real human attached, cataloging information.  A "pageview" is an instance of someone, somewhere opening a page of Grammy Getting Strong.

I can also look at a service called Google Analytics, which gives more information but is quite difficult to understand.  From that, I can tell that most of the hits I get are from one-time users.  For the past month, 5% of views were from returning users and 95% were from new people.  Average session duration is 27 seconds and there is something called "bounce rate" which counts the number of people who land on your site and leave without visiting another page.  Mine was 84% last month.  So, if I were in this to gain an audience, or hoping to make money, I would not be doing well at all.  Luckily, that is not my purpose!

I set up this blog the day after Christmas, 2014, as I sat in my chair in our family room thinking about starting yet another "year of better health".  I usually start a journal with the intention of recording everything I eat, maybe getting an average calorie count, noting how I feel at the time of eating or drinking something I shouldn't.  And I usually taper off and stop writing after a month or so.  I have tried signing up for a website where you can enter your food, weight goals, etc. and I know I don't keep that up either.  I was considering an online journal when the idea of a blog suddenly hit.  Perfect!  I would be too embarrassed to quit if someone was watching!

Well, dear Readers, thanks for watching!  I am really very happy at the results so far.  It has been decades since I weighed what I do now, and even more important is the absence of hip pain and sciatic nerve pain.  I have learned I can improve how I feel by paying attention to how I eat and being diligent with exercise - a valuable lesson for the future as I navigate into the rough waters of old age.  I don't think I would have gotten this far without you!!

I still plan to continue until next Christmas, although maybe at a slower pace than how I started.  Now that I'm feeling well I have less motivation to do health research, although there are many topics left to pursue.  I have enjoyed including the occasional "fun" post, sharing our activities and photos of our travels.  Here is a list from Blogger of the most-viewed posts - an interesting mix of health info and fun.  Congratulations to my guest blogger, Charla, for having the most views other than my intro post!  I plan to do more cooking (although it's so easy and delicious to just let Stan do it!), so perhaps I'll have some good recipes to share in the coming months, too.

A Comment about Comments

I understand Blogger's method of accepting comments is not the easiest and there has been some confusion about what is needed for a comment.  When you click on Comment, a box opens with a choice of ways to identify yourself.  It might appear that an ID on Google or other blog website is needed, but it is not.  If you select Name/URL, you get a place to enter your name, and a first name or nickname is fine.  If you have a website of your own, you can enter the URL (website address) on that line and when another reader clicks on your name they'll go to your site.  It's fine to leave that line blank if you don't have a site, or don't want to create a link to it.

Another option is Anonymous, and that is totally okay too.  Just select it and you don't have to enter any name.

After the name question, a box opens up that says Please prove you're not a robot.  Clicking in the check box is sufficient.  Then you get an option to Preview your comment and Edit if you want.  Then click Publish.

Of course, it's fun for me to get comments, but don't worry if you read and never comment.  I read some other blogs and rarely, if ever, have a burning need to say anything.  I'm just happy you're reading my posts!  (And a special thanks for the nice comments I've received, and so sorry some of you have tried unsuccessfully!)

Here are some things I have seen out my window while writing my posts.  We have a tiny yard, but it seems there's always something going on out there.

Red-breasted sapsuckers in the cherry tree

A thirsty rabbit, probably just visited neighborhood pea patch

These goldfish are great pets - completely self-sufficient as long as the pump keeps the water clean

Stan built this lovely pond

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