Saturday Explodes at tDoB with Interest about The Shawshank Redemption

Weirdness.  Plain Weirdness.

Saturday was like any other Spring weekend day here at the DoB.  Usual stuff.  Getting the kitchen clean from Friday’s fun.  Staring out the window wondering if today was the day to fire up the lawn mower for the first time.  Wondering how long I should wait before I open the first beer of the day.

And like most weekend days, there came a time when I absent mindlessly opened the WordPress app on my phone to  check my stats.  I do it a handful of times throughout the weekend, more out of reflex than anything else because weekends tend to be slow as far as page hits are concerned.

So I clicked the few buttons that get me to the stats screen and was shocked at what I saw.  The bar graph was empty except for one, singular column of blue.  Well not empty, it turned out that the one bar was so large that it reduced the others to mere thin lines at the bottom of the graph.  I had a momentary jolt of excitement thinking that someone had retweeted one of my posts, or that a brewery that posted one of my posts on their Facebook page.  It happens occasionally, and when it does I usually get a nice spike of hits.  But then I saw the number – 2868 views.  What?

So turns out, some internet bot (my son’s thought), some college film classes, or a small town, needed to find The Shawshank Redemption movie poster.  By the end of the day, Yahoo Image Search had referred to my post Beer in Movies – The Shawshank Redemption, 2,946 times.  The post ended the day with 2,950 views – although WordPress only counted 21 visitors to my site.

My Stats are now totally boinked because this one day is blowing everything out of proportion.   I’ve already well exceeded my target monthly  page views, which would be fine except I know that these views are probably hollow in nature.  Oh well, first world blogging problems.

Anyone else ever have something like this happen?
Anyone else ever have something like this happen?

One Year, at the Dogs of Beer

Image courtesy of ImageChef.com

Last Friday was the one year anniversary for this little blog.  It’s been fun and I have really enjoyed the whole experience, not only writing it, but becoming part of a Blog community and reading what everyone else out there has to say.  I have also enjoyed meeting (either directly or indirectly through this blog) fellow craft beer lovers at festivals and events.

I thought I’d toss  out a little run down of what I did over the past year by looking at my stats.  I don’t do this in a “hey, look at me” attitude, because I know that there are people out there who are killing these figures, but more to say “If I can do this at a certain level, you can, jump in.”

First I’d like to take a moment and thank the people who make this blog tick.  First, Robert and Matt over at Stateline liquors, Ben and company over at Two Stones Pub, and the whole craft beer scene around Delaware at large.  Because of these people, I’m not going to run out of beers to review or events to attend anytime soon.

Second, the GF Tracey.  For gladly getting dragged to beer event after beer event, accepting that “pub crawl” is a legitimate day trip, and acknowledging that where ever we go, the local brewpub is “the lunch stop”.

Third, with some reluctance, my behind the scenes editor for keeping things looking snazzy at The Dogs of Beer.

“I GOTTA BATH ON SUNDAY!!”

Ah…OK.  You did.  But what does that have to do….never mind.

For the record, I’m using the stats off of WordPress.  If you’re a WordPress user, and you still have your WordPress page name (yourblogname.wordpress.com), then WordPress automatically tracks your page states using third part cookies over at Quantcast.com.  The difference is that since they use cookies, if they see that you got 20 page hits in a day, they can tell you if one person loaded 20 pages, or if 2 people each loaded 10, etc.  But since I just normally look at the Stats that are handy at WordPress, those are the ones I’ll be using.  So let’s look at the numbers:

35 – Number of people who follow my blog directly.  Thank you all for your continued readership and support.  To be honest I’m not always aware of this number, so I was shockingly surprised when I looked it up because I thought it was in the mid 20s.

24 – Number of people who follow my blog on Facebook.  Thanks so much.  Special shout out to some Delaware beer folks who follow:  Steve Powell (owner/brewer Argilla Brewing) and Lindsey Timberman (blogger, Delaware Hop Scene).

54 – Number of people who have me in their G+ circles.  I don’t know why I don’t spend more time on G+.  I guess maybe I’ve currently reached my social media limit.  But I’ve always stated that once G+ opens it’s code up to accept auto sharing from other apps, I’m going to use it more.  And if Facebook irritates me to many more times, I’m moving over completely and permently.

203 – Highest views for a page not counting “home”.  My “Beer in Movies” post on The Quiet Man did well when initially posted and has been getting steady hits ever since.  My post on The Shawshank Redemption is second with 122.  Guess it’s time to write another one in that series.

51 – Highest number for a search engine term.  No shock, it’s “the quiet man”, with “Guinness” coming in second.  Odd ones that have come up include “horses jumping off planes”, “darkside chuck norris peace” and “i will kill someone” which actually was used twice.

1 – Number of freelance writers who asked me to answer some question for an up coming article in a local monthly magazine’s beer edition.

1 – Number of freelance writers who ended up not need me, LOL.  It was a thrilling couple of days though.

927 – Page views in my most active month, April 2012.

79 – Number of posts, counting this one.

98 – Highest number of views by a country after the US (2484), Great Britain

61 – Number of different countries who have visited my blog

1 – Number of countries I hadn’t heard of until they visited my blog, Belarus.

It’s like those old computer or board conquest games. The first one whose map is totally red, wins.

62 – Number of page hits on my busiest day, May 2nd 2012.  Cantwell’s Tavern put my review of them on their Facebook page upping my Facebook referrer total to 49 that day.

18 – Number of page views from my biggest referrer, webmail.duclaw.com, once you toss out search engines, facebook, twitter and wordpress,   I get a handful of hits from them every time I review a Duclaw beer.

4266 – Total number of page hits.

38 – Most page views for a beer review.  Tie between Stone’s Arrogant Bastard and DuClaws Peanut Butter Porter.

Again, thanks to everyone.  It’s been a fun year!

Time for another year……

The Anatomy of a Blog Post.

[EDIT :  If you read the comments section you’ll find some comments from other bloggers that they were going to write similar posts on their writing process.  They did, and you HAVE to read them, probably even more so than mine, LOL.  Check out Oliver’s over at Literature and Libation; and Carney’s, Mike’s post on how he edit’s Carney’s posts and Mike’s post on HIS process over at The Beer Review. – Ed]

I’m coming up on my one year anniversary with this little blog, so I thought it would be fun to do a few posts on the blogging experience itself.  I envy those who can effortlessly pound out a post in a very short time.  I love to write but for me, the process sometimes seems to take a little more mental effort than would seem to be required for such a simple task.  After all, I’m writing a beer blog not a series of books destined to be the next “Harry Potter”.  Oh, I’ve had a few posts that have “written themselves”, and then I’ve had those that have been quite the little adventure in literary gymnastics.  So with that in mind, I present an anatomy of a blog post per The Dogs of Beer.

7:00am – Leave for work.  On the drive in, try to remember how long it’s been since my last post.  Come to the conclusion  that it’s probably time for another.  Think about a subject.  Like maybe how laborious the process of writing blog posts can be for me sometimes.

“Ug, What the F@*K am I going to write about tomorrow??”

7:35am – Log into WordPress at work and verify that I haven’t posted in days.  Check my stats.  “Sigh” when I see that my page hits have been slowly going down since my last post.

7:40am – fire up the reader and see how the rest of my blogger community is doing.  Lots of new posts – including 5 nice beer reviews from Beerproof.  What are these people?  Machines? I need to get it in gear.

8:00am to 11am – while mindlessly doing work I’m paid for, decide to go with the “blog post writing” topic and decide to do it “timeline” style.  Start to formulate the post in my head.

11:15 – Lunch.  Check the reader again.  Check to see if anyone else has done a similar post recently. If no, start my new blog post; if yes, mentally return to 8:00am.  I’m good, probably because everyone else can actually write a blog post without requiring the same mental effort that Einstein did to figure out that E = MC2.

11:45am – Spend 10 minutes on WordPress and Google trying to find out how to do superscripts in a blog post.

12:00pm – Back to work.  Hit the lab computer once or twice between process lags to do some research.

2:15pm – Take a break from work and flesh out the post a little more.  Put “xxxxxxxxxxx”s in all the places that I can’t think of the correct word or phrase I want.  I’ll go back and fill those in later.

2:30pm – Back to work.

5:00pm – Get home and grab the computer before Tracey comes home and needs to play Mystery Manor on Facebook.  Finish getting the post fully fleshed out while replacing the “xxxxxxxxxxx”s with the words or phrases I came up with on the ride home.

With Respect and Apologies to Mr Larson.

5:20pm – Get into the kitchen and look like I’ve been slaving feverishly since I got home when Tracey walks in the door.

5:45pm – During dinner, come up with a whole new angle that pulls the post together much better than what I’ve already written – like actually making this post about writing blog posts, about this post I’m writing.

6:30pm – Wonder how much longer Tracey’s going to be on the computer.

7:00pm – Watch an episode of Big Bang Theory for the 14th time.  Still laugh.

7:30pm – With computer back in hand, delete 3/4 of my post and rearrange what’s left according to my new idea.  Most writers would be annoyed at this, I’ve just sadly come to accept this as part of my “process.”

8:00pm – Finish post.  Add links.  Fill in last remaining “xxxxxxxxxxxx”

8:05pm – Read post all the way through.  Fix crappily written sentences and obvious spelling mistakes.

8:10pm – Go through post to see if I can add any more humor to it.  Yes, I actually do have to do this.  Yes, I realize it often looks like I’ve forgotten this step.

8:30pm – Read the post in preview mode.  Fix position of one of the photos and correct another spelling mistake.

8:32pm – Read post again.  Rewrite a whole paragraph because I’ve managed to use the word “aroma” in it five times.  Why doesn’t someone create a resource that allows you to look up similar meaning words so that you don’t have to use the same ones all the time?

8:35pm – Found an awesome picture of a sad looking dog with his head on a bar eying a beer.  I have absolutely no need for it, but I must use it.

“How you uh, how you comin’ on that blog post you’re working on? Huh? Got a, got a nice little story you’re working on there? Your big post you’ve been working on for three days? Huh? Got a, got a beer review brewing there? Working on, working on that for quite some time? Huh? Yeah, talking about that three days ago. Been working on that the whole time?“

8:37pm – Decide to replace all the pictures in the post with “dog” related ones.  Remember the Family Guy episode where Stewie is ragging on Brian’s novel.  That might be humorous.

8:45pm – Still looking for a still of the scene from Family Guy.  All the ones I’ve found are too small.

8:55pm – Really?  No one has this?

9:05pm – Ug!  I’m beginning to believe I’m going to have to draw this damn thing myself.

9:10pm – Ok.  I give up, find the scene on YouTube and do my own screen grab with Hijack Pro.  It ends up not being nearly as funny as I thought, but F’ it.  After all that, I’m running with it.

9:15pm – Consider it finished.  Close computer.  Fling to side with a mixture of relief and mental exhaustion.

Next day:

7:35am – Log into WordPress.  Check reader and hope no one’s put up a post about my topic since the last time I checked – who would?.  Read post one more time in preview mode.  Change a couple of the words.

7:45am – After a couple of reads, decide it’s not going to get any better and publish.

[Edited to Add]:

7:46am – Curse under my breath as I realize I didn’t put the post in the proper category or add any tags.

7:47am – Edit post and add tags.  Read it one more time.  Fix another spelling mistake.

[Edited to Add]:

11:00am – Check stats to see if people are reading my post.  Read post on blog site.  Edit and fix the two spelling mistakes and reword a crappy sentence that I some how managed to miss on the previous 15 reads.

[Edited to Add]:

11:37am – Edit post again because one of my readers pointed out I forgot my tag line.  [Thanks Carney!]

The next day :

7:35am – Start the whole process all over again.

Time for another……post.