I read in The New York Times yesterday that writer and filmmaker Nora Ephron wrote 100 blog posts, albeit none of them about the leukemia that finally killed her last summer at age 72. Counting this one, I’m up to 443 blog posts, which leaves Ephron's total in the dust. Impressive, eh? Of course, in the six years she had cancer, Ephron also wrote two books, two plays and directed a movie (“Julie and Julia”). While cancer may unleash what little literary talent some of us have, it can’t create something out of nothing. I’d love to try my hand at a screenplay some day, but only if Tom Hanks or Billy Crystal is willing to play The Ogler. Anyone care to be my agent?
This blog is about much more than just melanoma, but its audience is nonetheless pretty limited. Other than posting an occasional link on my facebook page, I do nothing to promote what I’ve written. A few other melanoma bloggers have found me and added me to their blogrolls, which I appreciate as it directs stray readers my way. Unfortunately, most melanoma blogs are not well written, but often do include useful information and encouragement for the newly diagnosed. The vast majority are written by younger women; very few by older guys like me.
I get anywhere from 80 to 200 pageviews/day, which doesn’t mean a lot to me. “Pageview” strikes me as a hopelessly vague metric, but seems to be a pretty standard unit for the web. I have a few (18) followers and other friends and family who check in regularly. Most traffic to The Ogler comes from people who first do random searches and stumble upon something I’ve written. I don’t understand search engine optimization very well, and frankly don’t care to jump down that rabbit hole. I’ve ignored Google analytics. I figure that over time, anyone who is meant to find The Ogler probably does.
What I find fascinating is the relative popularity of my blog posts. If you scroll down this page you’ll find on the left a list of the “top 10” most Popular Posts. Leading the parade with 1142 pageviews is “The world’s best-known melanoma survivor,” written about John McCain’s history of melanoma during his run for the Presidency in 2008. That’s weird, in my opinion. Of the top 5 posts, two each are on religious and medical topics. I tend to get high readership anytime I write about a famous personage: Ted Kennedy, Steve Jobs, Friedrich Nietzsche, Lance Armstrong, Grete Waitz. There’s no accounting for taste.
A good place to finish today is with a reference to the most popular post in the last month (258 pageviews), “Living in the Light of the Resurrection,” which is appropriate for this season of Lent. I don’t put much trust in numbers provided by Google, but I do have a sense of what “sells.” There’s definitely more substance in this post than anything I wrote about John McCain. As a rerun, I highly recommend it.