: Another target has been smashed. Yesterday evening, somewhere around ten o'clock, diamond geezer received its two millionth visitor. Actually that's not quite true, it was just the two millionth time that a slightly ropey stats package has registered a unique visit, which isn't the same thing at all. But, woo, two million visits is not to be sniffed at! It's the equivalent of all the adults in Wales reading my blog once (or, on average, one tube-train-ful of readers every day). And they're coming faster. The first million took five and a half years, the second million's taken less than three.
What's quite interesting, to me at least, is to consider how and why all these visitors have arrived here:
20% of my visitors arrived here via a search engine. Most of these poor deluded souls no doubt clicked here expecting that my site would yield the answer to some esoteric query, only to be disappointed by what they didn't find. I therefore shouldn't really count these as true visitors - they arrived here under false pretences. 25% of my visitors arrived here via another website. That's half of a million arrivals via someone's else's blogroll, or because something I wrote got mentioned somewhere. I have no idea how many of these people ever came back again. But every click-through is appreciated. Just over half of my visitors arrived here direct, without clicking through from a search engine or any other website. Which is nice, because it suggests that more than a million visits have been deliberate.
Let's explore that middle category in a bit more depth. It's time once again for an update of my regular 'league table' of top linking blogs, ordered by volume of visitors clicking here from there. I've also included the 'highest climbers' since I reached a million back in April 2008. Thank you all for linking (assuming you still exist).
I'm struck by how little has changed here since my chart at one million. Apart from Dave at the Guardian, Ham and those Londonist folks, everyone else is in much the same position as last time. And that's because people don't really click through from blogrolls any more, they click through from mentions elsewhere. A tweet here, a Facebook mention there - that's how new visitors arrive today. A blogger's only as good as their last post, and past reputation counts for nought.
As if to make the point, my two millionth visitor came not from another blog but via a tweet. One out-of-the-blue mention from @LDN last night sent nearly 1000 visitors to my blog in a single hour, which is exceptional. Indeed that's more people than read the same post here during the whole of Sunday, all tempted in by an instant Twitter recommendation. The ability to drive traffic to blogs has shifted, it seems, away from those who generate their own content towards those who merely digest the content of others.
And then of course there's RSS, which means thousands of you now read this blog without ever visiting it. As far as all you're concerned I'm no longer writing a continuous story, I'm generating atomised blogposts. My output is digested as stripped text somewhere else, wherever you think fit, which makes a complete mockery of attempting to count visitor numbers accurately anyway. I guess I must have passed the magic two million many months ago, but didn't realise it. Never mind the inexactitude. I don't mind where you come from, I'm just well chuffed that you bother. Hello and thanks to all of you. And here's to a million more...