Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A 6 month old Ongion

If you are reading this blog from outside of the U.S., please leave a comment as to where you are and how you found the blog...

6 months ago I had the idea for this blog and a few days later posted my first one.  I appreciate each and every person who stops in on occasion and checks it out, but I really appreciate the regulars.    I thought the regulars might enjoy some of the more interesting statistics about the blog, so this week's blog is all about the history (a six month look back), and some stats on the traffic patterns.....

     I chose the onion as my symbol because I thought it best represented me.  I changed it to Ongion, because my wife tells me I can't say that word correctly.  I am a layered individual.  People that have only met me at work wouldn't picture me BBQ-ing and conversely the people I BBQ for, would struggle seeing me in a corporate setting.  My Scouts will never see me drinking or smoking a cigar, but you might,  if you meet me out.  The layers continue well after that, so I thought the blog was aptly named.  My first blog just spoke to my intentions and my plan for the blog.   I don't think I have strayed far from that mark.

  I started with a tale from my High Schools days involving red jeans (The Infamous Red Jeans Story).  I think it hit the mark I had intended and set the tone for the blogs to follow. Most of them I hope are humorous, but I have my moods too.  I've written about a dear friend who passed (My friend Eileen), and there were few chuckles in that one. I did a tongue in cheek blog about almost losing the franchise to be the fun Uncle, and that one was well received, even if not completely understood by some (The Franchise is in jeopardy). I went back to my altar serving days with another one, and that still rates as one of the least frequented blog, and it drew no comments at all (Time served - Adventures on the altar).   I was surprised that more people didn't connect with that one.  It's tough to gauge an audience that you don't completely know.  I can't tell who regularly reads the blogs, unless they comment or mention them to me later, so I do the best I can, and really write for people that I think have a similar sense of humor as me.  In one of my next blogs, I started to introduce my family, but in that one, my brother came pre-loaded with a nickname (They call my brother Aquaman), so it started the practice of only mentioning my family members by nickname.  I hope to put a running cast of characters on the left side of the blog at some point, so everyone that stops by will have a built in cheat sheet.  I don't know how to do this yet, so let me know if you do.

One of the next blogs was my take on facial hair (Of Beards and Men), and especially how I thought goatees were evil.  See the picture on the right and tell me you don't agree. 
I posted one about the college funding process and how hard it was to present to my daughter (I made my daughter cry that day), and I put one up on how I used to sneak in at night (Youthful Adventures- Avoiding the curfew).  At this point my blog has only been advertised to my Facebook friends, my family's website, and read by people known to me.  That, however, was about to change forever.  You see, my blog had always been open access and available by searching for it on the web, but no one had. I really wasn't writing for that audience either, but the first week in September I was forced to start to think about it.  I was on a trip and my wife called to tell me that my former boss had passed away.  I really liked him, so I penned my most emotional blog ever, and posted it ( Rest in Peace Papa Frank).  By the time I returned from that trip, the changes in traffic patterns were pretty evident.  Whereas the largest number of hits I had to any blog before that came to about 50, I suddenly surged to over 200 for that blog. I was confused until my brother had told me that the local paper had linked my blog to their Facebook fan page.  They later ran about 2/3 of the blog in a feature article too.  The blogger software I use had always had the ability to capture the country code of the visitors to the blog, but I never had any international visitors.  For that blog, I had over 10 different countries represented.   It was a departure from the norm, and it never went backwards from there.  The more blogs I posted, the more international hits I would get.  Now, I am not claiming that they are regular visits, I suspect that they are not, but they are real people finding the page and sometimes reading what they find. Here is an example of what my international traffic looked like for last week's blog....

United States 
United Kingdom
Bosnia and Herzegovina

It's kind of interesting, isn't it?  These are page views, not individual unique computer visits, which is probably the more accurate way of counting.  My counter on the blog tracks those, so you can see that the page views for last week totaled in excess of 290 hits, while the unique computer visits totaled around 150. I'm pretty happy with either one, and I am glad that so many folk check out the postings so often. 

So the blogging continued with one of my stories from work, entitled "The Accidental Pickup".  You can expect more work stories this year, but I have to buy a camera to get some good pics of the places I will blog about.  I take a lot of time selecting the pictures for the blog, to try and set the mood and tone.  I hope the audience appreciates the time that I spend, all I know is, that it looks "right" when I am finished.  My next few blogs were a combination of family growing up stories and my real world take on things.  The one I did on the field of my youth entitled "Reflections on Evan's Field" was very well received.  It was currently topical but also harkened back to the days of my youth and my experiences on the field.  That one got the most comments on my Facebook, but not on the blog itself.  A lot of people connected with it. I next did one on "My best magic trick ever" where I spoke of making my kids believe I could do magic. 

As I write this weeks' blog, I am digesting the sweet potato gnocchi with Gouda cheese sauce that my daughter made, which is a far cry from my blog, "The Night of the Skittle Pancakes" in which I revisited the first time I made her cook for the family.

     One of the things that all bloggers struggle with is the length of the blog.  Too short and people aren't entertained or they don't remember it. Make it too long and you risk losing their interest and your message along with it.  I found myself face to face with this issue, while penning, "Sweaty Hands and a Rotary Phone"  It was a recounting of the first time I called a girl on a phone to ask her on a date.
The blog wrote so easy, that I instantly realized that it was too long, so it became my first and only 2-parter. An oddity of these is that, to this day, the 2nd part has 20 more page views than the first.  Did some people really skip to the end and not read
the first part of the story?  I'm guessing that there
might be some verbiage in the second half that was not included in the first one, but is more popular as as Google search. A lot of people find the "Ongion" by searching on Google.  The most popular search to date is a combination of my name and the word Onion or Ongion, leading me to believe that those folks were actually looking for me.  That is obviously not always the case, however, and people find the blog with the weirdest combination of words (Try Bill Yarger + Swine and you will find my blog about my sister's pig roast "A Swine Time")  Some keyword examples from this week are....

Search Keywords
rubenesque women

james brolin hotel

calista flockhart lying on stomach

queen fat bottomed girls lyrics

bill layers

bill yarger evans field

full bodied women

i'll never falter i'll stand my ground lyrics

layers of a skittle 

I fully suspect that the number finding my blog through keyword searches about Rubenuesque women, will continue to climb, solidifying the theory I posited in my blog "Giving Thanks for the Ample Derriere".  The pictures probably help too...

This was my most racy blog and I warned my youngest, Nolan that it would not be appropriate for him.  The following week, he inquired whether he could go back to reading my blogs or, in his words, " Was this week's blog racist too?" This prompted quite the discussion at home about the differences in the words racy and racist, and I still wonder when the call will come from his school asking  me to come in for a conference.  It's not like it will be my first one anyway.  I blogged just a few weeks prior about my pugilistic experiences in high school. That blog was titled "Of Fisticuffs and Loose Teeth"  I was reminded at a family gathering later, that I forgot to include the fight with my brother Ace, shortly before my wedding. It was at my bachelor party and I drunkenly antagonized him with some cheap shots at his character, and a fight ensued.  He showed great restraint in not laying me out cold, or even punching me in the face, he just sat on my chest until I gave up.  It's no wonder I didn't tell that one, I don't look good in it at all, and my brother looks like the hero.  He may have acted the part in that story, but it was my turn to shine in my blog " My time in tights".  This was a really fun one to do, and showed some people a portion of what I do for a living. My next blog was one of the more creative I had done.  I took a favorite of mine from my youth and fast forwarded it to 2010.  I called it  Please bring back Schoolhouse Rock. 

This one took several days to write as I went back and forth with ideas brewing and coagulating in my head.  I get asked the question often, how long do you spend on the blogs? The answer is about 2-3 hours each week, with some taking longer and some taking almost no time at all.  I like to get the idea for them about a week before I publish, and then it comes to me like a slow simmered stew.  I go to bed wherever I am that week and ideas on what to include pop into my brain and I might take a second to put them into the draft to remind me later of how I want to present it.  The notes for the Schoolhouse Rock blog included, Obese Bill, Lolly and Inflation,and Conjunction Junction and TSA screenings.  The blog wrote itself after that.  The final blog I wrote before this one, was one of the easiest.  What I did on my Thanksgiving Vacation was a look back at that 4 day weekend and I simply had to recount it. 

That brings us to the present and this blog.  I hope you have enjoyed the look back.  I wondered when I started this, whether I would run out of ideas for the blog, but honestly it seems unlikely that I will.  I also have taken a firm stance as to not monetizing the blog, there will be no banners or links on it that will create income for me.  I do this for my entertainment first, and yours second.  I'd love some feedback on what you have thought so far, and any ideas that you might have for future blogs.  I'm sure my family can think of a few family favorites that I haven't posted yet, and they are not shy.  The blog allows anonymous postings as I want all the feedback people are willing to share.  I don't edit comments and they go up as soon as you post them. Have at it and I'll see you next week!  Thanks for your visits.


Anonymous said...

the shopping cart story! tell the shopping cart story! LOL

I can't believe it has been six months already!

Anonymous said...

I for on have been following your blogs since the first one. I look forward to reading them each week! Can't believe its been 6 months already!

shot2 said...

I have followed since the beginning. I really enjoy your sense of humor and your stories.

torcon said...

Happy Half-iversary Bill! As a self-proclaimed regular to the Ongion, I look forward to every Tuesday and seeing what layer you've peeled back for public viewing. Thanks for your dedication, clever writing and humor!

Stacey said...

You need to write a book!!

cdyarger said...

Stacey - don't encourage him! Just kidding! I look forward to the blog too. Some of these stories get better each time they are told!

Anonymous said...

I look forward to your blog every week. I am blessed to have see many of these layers first hand as I am an older sister. (Meter Maid) Some of your layers have been discarded all together, aged, or new ones have emerged. Each one relevant and what makes you, You. I believe there are many more to be revealed. Bill you are awesome and talented. Thanks for sharing your humanity, keep it up!!!

Anonymous said...


It was nice meeting you and your brothers out last night. What a great tradition you have and you all were so fun! Thanks for letting me know about the blog, I am sure to be a regular. You were right, I loved the one about right sized women. Keep it up!

Bill said...

Jeez Meter Maid, way to make me almost cry!