Sunday, October 31, 2010

My dear blog readers: who are you?

I wanted to mark the special milestone of the 200th post on my blog with a special "issue", a post about you! Technically, it is my 201th post since I had to publish a race report last week but that's close enough... I still remember passing the 26-post milestone like I was finishing a marathon, I had no idea then that I would more or less keep up with the pace of one post a week for 4 years... (See my post Ultra blogging: passing the cap of the 26.2th blog.)

So, who are you who visit my blog either regularly or occasionally? To answer this "Web 2.0" question, I have a few tools but you will see they are somehow limited. Analytic tools include:
  1. StatCounter,
  2. Google Analytics,
  3. ClustrMaps,
  4. Flag Counter,
  5. Post comments, either anonymous or not (as Scott Dunlap used to say: "we, bloggers, starve for comments!")
  6. FaceBook messages,
  7. Email messages,
  8. Verbal messages before, during or after the races.
With that, here is the simple taxonomy representing how I see the audience of my blog:
  1. Family members, mostly non-runners,
  2. Friends, either runners or not, who enjoy the posts because they cannot travel or they cannot run, or others who find inspiration in the posts to run farther and faster
  3. Work colleagues,
  4. Club mates,
  5. Other runners looking at race information, race reports, tips or event pictures, from the Bay Area, California, the US or many other countries,
  6. Race directors, organizers
  7. Spectators, volunteers, relatives of event participants.
Surprisingly, apart from my Mom, my family doesn't represent the most active audience, mostly because of the language barrier. One of my sisters and my Dad have recently discovered the online and automatic translation offered by Google and they are using it more consistently now, albeit having some fun with some weird translations...

I started blogging in March 2007 but I only tracked traffic from late 2007 on, with StatCounter which has logged 106,000 hits to date. Although I'm quite impressed with this number, I realize that it must be very far from what super blogger Scott Dunlap got on his web site. For one thing though, Scott has initiated the blogging wave in our Trail Running sport in particular and writes on many very popular and diverse topics which draw a lot of traffic. On my side, I'm keeping the theme of the blog around my personal running experiences only, my personal journey toward sustainable running and my personal crazy quest to run either faster or farther... My most popular article has been by far Born to Run: the Tarahumara secret which I wrote after meeting Chris McDougall at Zombie Runner in Palo Alto, before his book became a best-seller.

Other things I know about you? You have visited from 134 countries with the US leading most of the traffic (72%) followed by France (8%) despite the language barrier, then UK, Canada, Japan, Germany, Australia, Austria and Italy. The presence of non-English speaking countries in the top 10 attests for the strong development of ultra and trail running in these countries.

You spend an average of 1 minute and 26 seconds per page and look at 1.58 pages per visit which I feel show a genuine interest although I do spend much more time actually writing these posts! ;-) 75% of you use Windows as Operating System with either Internet Explorer or Firefox as web browser (that's a pretty much worthless statistics, isn't it?). See below for more detailed statistics and charts.

Bottom line, you see, I don't know much about you but I would love to know more through the feedback you can leave at the bottom of the posts. Looking forward to hearing from you then!

With that, at least for the majority of you who live in the US, Happy Halloween and enjoy the Trick-or-Treat tradition either by opening your door or going door to door in your neighborhood. Either on the receiving or giving side, this is a very nice tradition of making our neighborhoods more friendly. Before we get to Trick-or-Treat on the web...

-------------- More detailed analysis of blog traffic (click on the images to enlarge)

Geographical coverage by ClustrMaps:
Geographical statistics from Flag Counter:
 List of countries from Flag Counter:
Worldwide map with flags, from Flag Counter:
Geographical coverage from Google Analytics:
Visits from California:
Visits from Australia:
Total number of hits and visits from StatCounter:
Most popular pages (Google Analytics):
In-Page Analytics showing that you do use the blog archives by year and month, as well as the list of tags and topics in the right margin:


AFib Runner said...

I am a bay area ultra runner and I read about two dozen trail running blogs because I like to read the race reports, see the course photos, and continue to be inspired to run when I am injured.

Anonymous said...

I'm a central California runner that's "trail-curious" - I've raced mostly 10ks, half and full marathons, never a trail race! I like visiting to read about all the places you run... I think I found you via Scott Dunlap!

Scott Dunlap said...

That's so cool! Well, count me as a big fan for all four years. It's clear you put a lot of time into your posts, both in terms of introspection and links to other cool sites! I enjoy reading your blog to live vicariously on your international runs in particular, and I learn a lot.

Your traffic stats are very impressive. Just to give you some perspective, you reach more readers than Trail Runner Magazine and Ultrarunning Magazine combined. Although it's likely the same people, that's an impressive reach!

On my blog, about half of the traffic comes from one or two posts which get an insane amount of traffic (for example, the one today about controversy with Ironman)...the trail race report traffic isn't too far from yours.

I've seen two funny patterns with trail running race reports. First, you can tell when people are training for that race in the following year since the traffic picks up again. Second, total traffic to a race report is going down about 10% per year (even though blog reading is still increasing 15-20% annually). I attribute this to the fact that there are so many other great writers out there, such as you, providing wonderful content. Lord knows my blog readership is up!

See you out on the trails!


John Nguyen said...

I am also a bay area ultra runner, who ran my first marathon in October, 2009, and my first 50K in December, 2009. I've met you at a bunch of the local ultras. And you write great race reports with lots of pictures. I follow your blogs and Scott's blogs to learn more about the ultra world and hope to be more like you guys some day (faster and further). I also hope to run 100-milers someday (I failed at RDL) while balancing my family life (I'll have my 2nd child in March, like Scott). Keep up the great running and blogging!

Anonymous said...

Je pense aussi que tes frères et soeurs ont des vies trop chargées pour prendre le temps de te leur en veux pas...Ils ont quand même une idée de tes exploits...
Tendres baisers

Jean Pommier said...

Thanks for your very nice comments, guys, and taking the time to leave a note. Interesting to see how Web 2.0 makes our world even smaller, flatter and more connected!

Thanks for the nice words, Scott, you have been and still are a very strong inspiration to many of us! Good luck this Saturday (and sorry I missed an episode or the announcement for the 2nd! ;-).

See you all on the trails!

Calvin said...

I read your blog regularly because your race reports and local training inspire me. I love running the trails here in Cupertino and met you once @ the Blackberry Farm grand re-opening.

I see you running down McClellan Road many Saturday mornings as I am driving my kids to swim school, where a running partner (Sean)of yours is an instructor. Sean and I will often chat about running, either about his races, about what I am preparing for, or about a recent blog I've read on your page (or Scott Dunlap's, or Mark Tanaka's, or Caitlin Smith's).

Keep up the great running and blogging!

Anonymous said...


New Zealand ranked 17th by country, but when you showed the world map, you cut New Zealand off !

très très mauvaise !


Tinabiner said...

I am a bay area runner and just missed sharing the podium with you at this year's trailblazer race in Mtn View. I'm also a friend of a friend of yours (J.Reed). Between what I've read and heard from ultrarunners, my interest has been piqued. I think I'd like to know what it's all about - going beyond the marathon. Thanks for the posts and race reports. Erika is suggesting Jed Smith for my first 50k. Do you think this circuit type course would be a good first?

Unknown said...

I love to check in and read your blog. I also love seeing you on the trail and love when others write about you in Ultra running. You inspire us!!! Thanks!!! Also loved the poem!!!

Jean Pommier said...

Thank you, Eileen, great to "meet" you again! ;-)

Tina: sure, Jed Smith is a great way to get into ultra as it is flat. Just that the weather may be bad in February. And it's also early in the season in case you make a break in your training for the Holidays.

Way Too Cool is tougher (mud, creeks, moderately hilly) and harder to get in (lottery).

If you can wait, there is Quicksilver 50K in May, or Ohlone. Or Rajeev's Ruth Anderson (asphalt and almost flat) in April.