How to boost your stats by screwing up

Bloggers, do you want more views on your blog, preferably without putting any work into it? I’ve discovered the secret, and it’s not one that any of the experts recommend. It’s simple: Screw up.

On Tuesday, I posted a blog I meant to schedule ahead, for November. Life’s a mess right now. Giving myself some leeway looks like a smart move. So within a minute of posting it, I took it down a tucked it into the schedule, where it can slumber till the world’s ready for it–or at least till I am.

But–semi-responsible blogger that I try to be–I thought I’d let followers know what happened, otherwise I’d get helpful messages saying one of my posts had disappeared. I’ve sent a few of them myself. So I put up a three-sentence post titled “Oops.”

And what happened? It got more views than my (admittedly very long) post of why Britain’s called Britain, which I poured a shitload of work into.

What does it all mean, bartender?

What people want to know about Americans in Britain

Like so many other bloggers, I’ve become obsessed with my Stats Page. To the point where I have to remind myself that yesterday’s stats won’t change, no matter how many times I check them. And having told myself that, I check them again anyway. (I use the old Stats Page, because it has yesterday’s stats. And because I hate the new one.)

But the most interesting bit of the Stats Page is what I find under Search Engine Terms. This is where I see what people really want to know about Britain. Or about Americans in Britain. Or about life, poor dears, and then they get shunted in my direction and who knows what happens to them next. Nothing good, I’m sure.

Irrelevant photo: Where cats hide on gray days

Irrelevant photo: Where cats hide on gray days

Before we get to the list, I should admit that I’ve edited out the most sensible entries. This isn’t sociology, kids. We’re trying to have fun here, so settle down in the back row. Pay attention.

I’ve left the spelling and capitalization as I found them. When they think no one’s watching, most people are as lazy about capitalization as I am. Of course, it’s possible that either search engines or WordPress turns everything into lower case and the handful of capital letters are only there because I imported them without noticing. Either way, we’re becoming nations of illiterates.

Sad, isn’t it?

Enough. Here’s the list.


british english obsessed with the letter U

tea in motion

slang used today

beech loses sand

lemon drizzle cake american measurements

guy with a camera

lemon drizzle cake notes

why does cnn anchors talk with accent

musical quavers and crotchets

manners American

musical notes in British sex (this showed up two days in a row; don’t ask; don’t even think about it)

american chocolate chip cookies uk

what should we do to show good manners in public places in britain (twice in one day, once without the S in manners)

show good maner in public place in britain


What do we learn here?

  1. That what Americans most want to learn about Britain involves lemon drizzle cake, which, sadly, they won’t learn here since we pretty solidly established that the recipe I posted wasn’t a true lemon drizzle cake but some other kind of lemon cake in disguise. In its defense, it was measured in cups.
  2. That what people who could be from anywhere most want to know about Britain has to do with good manners and musical notation. In the case of manners, they sound a bit desperate. I feel bad about that, because I can’t think I’ve been much use on the subject. I’m not sure what subject I have been much use on. I’m nervous about being made an Authority, even if it’s by something as arbitrary as a search engine.
  3. That somebody wants to know about American manners and assumes we have some.
  4. That a lot of strange stuff gets typed into Google and that some of it gets shunted here for no apparent reason. Guy with a camera? Have the words guy and camera even showed up in my posts?

And what could we teach, if anyone who asked was listening? That CNN anchors talk with an accent because if human beings stop talking with accents they don’t talk at all. It’s like breath: no breath, no speech; no accent, no words.

And the sex query? That sounds a bit desperate, and it makes me want to know what have you lot up to when I wasn’t looking.