Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Traffic Jam Tomorrow!


Traffic, Aberdeen harbour, Hong Kong, a few years back.

It seems that nowadays anyone and everyone blogs… John does and Joe blogs too. So I think I must be one of the last to take up this new perversion and I’ve still got a lot to learn about all its log ins and outs.

Every writer wants his stuff to be read and in blogging terms that means maximizing the hits on your site and generating more ‘traffic’. Trouble is I’ve no idea how to achieve this. Can anyone tell me what I should do? What’s an RSS feed for example?

I’m fascinated though by my site meter which tells me I’m getting well in excess of a hundred hits a day. There’s even a world map decorated with pin pricks of light which tells me where all my readers are, the bulk of them being in Europe and America which is not surprising, while only a minority are in Thailand.

Most fascinating of all is that if I click on ‘referrals’, my ever helpful site meter tells me exactly how my readers found my blog. Some come from other sites that link to me, such as www.thaigirl2004.com, the site for my novel, ‘Thai Girl’, but the majority arrive via Google and Yahoo searches. What’s so magic is that I can click on any referral in the list and call up their actual search, including the key words searched and the full search result. Usually somewhere at the top of the sites displayed among the millions is my very own www.thaigirl2004.blogspot.com. That way I can see exactly how they found my blog.

Admittedly the term ‘Thai girl’ is sometimes relevant to their searches and as I’ve written ‘of beavers and butterflies’, about ‘when the earth was virgin and bountiful’, about how ‘my laptop was fingered in Pantip Plaza,’ and that ‘my Thai pussy cat is in fact a tiger,’ some of those drawn to my blog might have left a little disappointed. On the other hand, most searchers are looking for something quite serious or literary and stumble upon me by pure serendipity.

Some of the searches that found my blog have been questions, for example…
- What is in the life of the rice fields?
- What are Isuzu D-Max prices in Bangkok like?
- Should I buy a house for my teerak? And,
- How do you get the fog from a cold drink out of the inside of a Toshiba laptop screen?

I don’t think they always found the answers, though I hope the ‘exotic adventures of a literary sexagenarian’ proved to be a good read. If any of the actually read it, that is.

One such person did read my site though. He then emailed to tell me he’d Googled ‘mango trees Thailand’ as his wife wanted to plant a mango orchard and the search turned up my story, ‘There Go the Mango Trees’. He’d enjoyed reading the blogs and now wanted to find a copy of my novel, “Thai Girl”. What a nice guy he was!

Bizarrely, somebody else Googled, ‘amazing similies’, and hit on my comment, ‘Amazing Thailand! It truly is the Land of Similies!’ Google searches for ‘Delhi girls expats’ and ‘expatriate life Nigeria’ found me too, and there’ve been some even odder ones…
- Thai boxing girl blog.
- Urban allergies,
- Glossy Pantip label,
- You are my special island song,
- Street fight girl gets hit with a bottle,
- Unbearable lightness of being Thai language,
- Say rat in Thai.

If these folks are so easily distracted by my site, they must be terminally bored or else lack concentration. It seems odd that while doing some internet research, of the millions of sites that pop up on their searches, they then find time to open my modest blogspot. Why?

Are they lost souls? Should some of them, you even, thus be regarded as objects of my sympathy? Have I added a little joy to their day, to the sum of human happiness even… or did they find me thoroughly irritating? I have absolutely no idea.

A time long ago my life was kidnapped and I was chained to a desk in a law firm for several bleak years, never seeing the light of day. I remember the time sheets on which I had to account for my every six minutes so that my time could be charged out to clients at the usual outrageous rate. In those days we had a new gizmo called a ‘fax’, guarded in the basement along with Charles Dickens’ divorce papers by a she-dragon called Mrs Peed.

The internet was still far off then, but had I as a solicitor been able to Google , ‘Nigerian law of hire-purchase’, the blog, www.thaigirl2004.blogspot.com would have appeared right at the top of my search. If so I’d surely have allowed myself to drift away for several billable hours on the whimsical bloggery of a deranged, expat sexagenarian from Thailand. I might have hit lucky and been sacked for doing so, though more likely I’d have charged the wasted time to one of my files. Putting their depressive solicitor in a better mood is surely a useful objective for any commercial client.

Sadly, as I remained too long in that job, I now wonder if perhaps I should launch a mission to present my blog to the tormented souls still toiling at desks who long for a breath of fresh air, a whiff of Thai drains and durian even, during the long, arid watch of their working day. If I planted some arbitrary key words on my blog, perhaps I could entrap them when Google finds my blogspot, and perhaps enliven their day.

Thus if I now type Goldman Sachs or Ernst & Young, IPO or auditors’ liability, do you think some sad City man might stumble into my den and perhaps stay awhile? Could I subvert him into wasting time and reading a few paragraphs of my self-indulgent world? Should I seed my blog with verbal bait to get myself served up as innocent 'R and R' in chance Google searches?

For the doctors, I think I’d have to mention myocardial infarction, infectious mononucleosis, MRI, ICU and osteoporosis. Laparoscopy, lithotripsy, hysterectomy and hemorrhoids, if I can spell them. Barbaric, hyperbaric, BCG, CAT and CT, in-growing toenails and housemaid’s knee. Harold Shipman, Dr.Terror, BMJ and BMA should trap a few.

For the lawyer in his garret, I can offer the Companies Act 2006, Hicks and Goo, (yes, why not Google Goo!), enlightened shareholder value, Registrar of Companies, disclosure, dividends, directors, derivative claims, financial assistance, Foss v Harbottle, written resolutions, quoted company, computerized billing, collective madness. All my trials lord, soon be over!

Accountants are surely in need of roll-over relief and distraction too. Let’s try independent valuation of non-cash consideration, audit exemption, share premium account, capital allowances, discounted cash flow valuation, accounting reference periods, EEA group accounts, operating and financial review, corporate governance, Cadbury, Greenbury and Myners, and death creeping slowly up behind you, with no allowance for depreciation.

I’m sure the faddists would love ‘Thai Girl’ too, so I’ll seduce them with sustainability, organic food and orgasmic food, fast food and slow food, McDonalds and Kentucky Fried, pesticides, hormones, fertilizer and anti-biotics… yum! Global warming, carbon dioxide, shrinking ice cap, Dutch cap. Kyoto, Live Earth, AC/DC, Kevin Wall, Berlin Wall, Al Gore, algorithm, blood and gore, Gore and Bush, bore and gush. Adopt a whale, hug a tree, read ‘Thai Girl’ and die.

Ecstasy, Viagra, excrement, Niagara, beri beri and pellagra. Vitamin C. Senokots. Evening primrose oil. Sperm whale juice. Irritable bowel syndrome, colonic irrigation. Homeopath, telepathy, Home Office pathologist, pathological liar, psychopath, gender reassignment, fender bender, gay rights and wrongs. It’s the same old song. Stream of semi-consciousness, Dublin and rejoice. But now I digress too far!

Then there’s oceans of attractive initials that must often get Googled. There’s RSJ and RSI, CFS and DDT, PTSD, VD and STD. Subscriber trunk dialing or sexually transmitted disease. EU, ET, ED… European Union, extra terrestrial, erectile disfunction. I can list so many ‘e’s, from A to Z.

There’s the Environment Agency, the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, electrical engineering and exempli gratia for example. El Nino, environmental management, La Vie En Rose. Emotional quotient, Elizabeth Regina, exposure values, your ‘ex’ (the former trouble and strife). Oh to be Ernst & Young again, finally to sleep easily, perchance to dream that they’ll hit my blog and tarry awhile. Yes, I could go on ad nauseam.

But do you think I should really be doing all this? Would these key words actually find me and enliven somebody’s day or is this just a pipe dream? Will it make me a little merit in the next life? Or will the one true scorer already know about blogging and suss out that I’m just trying to get more traffic for my blog? Another red tick perhaps on the debit side of my eternal balance sheet?

I’m now going to watch the referrals on my site meter to see if my cunning plan works and I’ll let you know what happens later on. As to whether I get the thumbs down on judgment day, I hope you’re going to have to wait a little bit longer!

2 comments:

Geoff said...

yes, I am also always amazed at the bizarre things people search for and end up at my site.....many of which couldn't even be mentioned in polite company (i am thinking of posting some boudoir photos of myself up, to cater to those searching for something more racy than Som Tam recipes)

I am more than happy to help out with Blog questions as well...i think I could even explain RSS...

Thai Girl said...

Thanks Geoff and yes, seriously, I'd love to learn more. Do contact me on arhicks56@hotmail.com and enlighten me.

Best wishes, Andrew