Sunday Apr 13, 2008

A Big "Thank You" to You, my Dear Readers!

Flowers During CeBIT, a guy came up to our Solaris and xVM demo pod and thanked us for producing our "CSI:Munich, how to save the world with ZFS and 12 USB sticks" video. He said he was a sysadmin and he showed this video to his boss who found it so cool, he instantly told him to try Solaris and ZFS out at their company. He thanked us for helping him evangelize Solaris and ZFS to his boss.
Two weeks ago, Mark and Aleister read my blog, asked me a ZFS question via email and Twitter about RAID storage and caching and I was able to help them by pointing them to the ZFS Evil Tuning Guide. They thanked me and said this "proved the value of social networks" and I should tell my colleagues that Sun's blogs are highly appreciated.
Now, this week I received email from Simon who thanked my for my ZFS blog articles which he found very inspiring. Simon now has a great series of articles around setting up a home server with ZFS of his own. Check them out, they are much more thorough than mine and very useful indeed!

Thank You 

I think it's really the other way round: Thank you, my dear readers, for reading my blog, for caring about what I write, for linking to my blog and its entries and for hundreds, sometimes thousands of hits every day. Thank You!

Getting feedback is hard, I know it from the HELDENFunk podcast, from other podcasters and from friends who blog. A few comments here and there, once in a while an email, that's it. There's not much I know about you, my dear reader, other than what you tell me through comments and emails and through personal contact.

So please, keep the feedback coming, tell me what you like, and what you don't like. Tell me what you'd like me to blog about, what topics you want me to expand, what else I can do to make this blog better for you. Post a comment to this entry or send me email at constantin at sun dot com.

Who You Are

CrowdWell, I do know just a little bit about you. Here's what Google Analytics and FeedBurner tell me about you, my dearest readers:

  • This year, 6,891 different people visited my blog, more than 11,000 times in total, resulting in more than 15,000 page views. This is not much, compared to high-traffic bloggers or some news sites, but it's something I'm a little bit proud of. You come from the US, Germany, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, India and other countries, in that order (107 countries in total).
  • About 41% of you are returning visitors, vs. 59% who are reading this blog for their first time. 14.24% of you have visited this blog more than 9 times, that's close to a thousand people! I should probably start a loyalty card scheme, maybe give out "Constantin Miles" to readers :).
  • My most diligent readers (more than 5%) spend more than 10 minutes on my blog per visit. Thank you for making coffee, going to the bathroom or having a nap while reading my blog, it helps me enjoy my statistics even more. I also thank my 7.8% of my readers who enjoy 3 or more pages of my blog at once (that's not entries, 'cause I have multiple entries on most pages), making me feel like writing blog entries is actually useful to someone.
  • About 50% of you have found this blog by searching for something on Google. Popular search keywords that lead to this blog are: "zfs iscsi", "easy starters", "email efficiency", "itunes solaris", "solaris iscsi", etc.
  • The other 50% of you have either typed in its URL by hand (16%, good thing I've put my blog URL onto my business card and at the end of my presentation slides) or they have followed some link that the fine people at solarisinternals.com, opensolaris.org, virtualbox.org, swik.net, brad-x.com, c0t0d0s0.org and Google.com (yes, their websites, not the search engine) and more than 250 other referrers took the time to create for this blog.
  • In the right column, you can find a list of your top 10 most popular entries. This list is based on data from Google Analytics and it's updated about once per month. I wish Roller had a feature to generate such lists automatically.
  • Finally, I thank you for making this blog show up in the blogs.sun.com list of "Popular Blogs" more than once. Its top rank so far has been #14. Who knows, I may end up in the top 10 some day if you continue to read it that often :).

Tips for Bloggers

As you can see, there are a lot of statistics that website tracking services are able to provide. If you own a blog, set up one or more of these services and start collecting data about how your blog is being received. This is an important motivator: It enables a feedback cycle that makes you improve your blog on a continuous basis, it provides useful information on what topics you blog about are popular and why and it gives you the occasional endorphine kick of a nice spike in the statistical curve as a result of a good article you wrote.

Another important factor are search engines. A lot of your blog traffic will find you through search engines, so make sure these engines find your blog. SEOBook.com has an article on "The Blogger's Guide to Search Engine Optimization" and SearchEngineLand has "25 Tips To Optimize Your Blog...", useful and easy to follow advice on how to make your blog more attractive and efficient in the eyes of search engines.

After your readers have found you, it's your job to make their time on your blog a useful and rewarding one. Try to think like your readers, try to find out what they want to read, check out the statistics for some possible directions and try to post relevant content on a regular basis. 

But the most important factor is direct feedback from readers such as Mark, Aleister or Simon, or the unknown sysadmin from CeBIT. They tell you what's good, what they like, they ancourage you to continue and make your blogging experience a rewarding and motivating one.

So, again, thank you and keep the feedback coming!

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