As some readers know, I am fairly new to the blogging world, having only started blogging in April 2011. Mind you, I'd been reading blogs for years, so when we learned that we were moving to Korea, one of my first thoughts was, Hey, this would be a good excuse to start blogging. I'll finally have something interesting to write about.
Of course, as most of you know, my fact-based expat living blog quickly devolved into a protracted whine about the weather and packing for overseas moves and tiny kitchen appliances, but the point is, I've stuck with it, and that's something, right?
Along the way, I've learned quite a bit more about blogging. For example, even though I never had any intention of being a 'professional' blogger, I have discovered the thrill that comes from knowing that complete strangers are reading your words and - sometimes - enjoying them enough to come back and read more - sometimes often enough that you consider them to be friends and really look forward to meeting them in the flesh (you know who you are). I've learned that comments are like gold, because even when your blog counter tells you that a couple hundred people have looked at your blog in the last 24 hours, that doesn't necessarily mean they actually read your post. And of course, there's always the possibility that most of the people visiting landed there by mistake and immediately clicked back to their Google Search results. Comments give you a sense that you're not just shooting in the dark, so to speak.
Of course, as I've mentioned in previous posts, I've also learned about spambots ("Buy Uggs at wholesale prices!" "Enhance your love life!" "Order Xanax from India!"), and memes, and tagging, and blogger's block, and the sharp and painful realization that your photography skills are really very bad.
Somewhere along the line, I also stumbled across a nifty little gadget which runs down the side of your blog and tells you - among other things - where your readers are located. So I can tell when someone in New Zealand or Egypt or Chicago has seen my blog. And that's actually been kind of an unexpected thrill in itself.
Another aspect of blogging that I had no idea about was the fact that bloggers can look at their statistics. You can see how many people are reading your blog on a daily basis, how many views each of your blog posts gets, and even look at nifty graphs that tell you whether your readership is going up or down or staying about the same. What's most interesting to me, though, is a feature in the 'stats' section that tells you what types of search keywords people type that lead them to your blog. In my case, for example, a lot of people type words like:
However... sometimes, you see a string of keywords that cause you to really question what exactly you are doing as a blogger, and - more importantly - who exactly is coming to your blog, and why. These keywords cause you to comb through your posts, looking for dubious undertones you might have missed, and wondering how in the world the search engines ever could have associated your genial family-friendly* blog with a phrase of such a disturbing nature.
Up until now, I've seen some weird ones, like, "international surgery cheap" (which brought the reader to my post on a local international clinic.) Or, "Seoul for children in winter" (probably the post in which I despaired of my children ever wearing winter coats.) And of course, we can't forget the ever-popular pxnis fish post (compliments of MrLogical) that continues to get dozens of hits daily (I'll leave the types of keyword searches that people use to your imagination, thanks.)
Today's search query, however, really did take the cake. Leading to a perfectly innocent discussion of the laundry arrangements in our temporary accommodation when we first moved to Seoul, was this gem:
"female prostitute inside a garbage bag"
Yeah, I had that same reaction, except - since it was my blog- even more intense.
I'm not sure what was more disturbing: the fact that someone is out there typing this sort of search query, or that the search engines have a reason to direct them to my blog.
In the meantime, maybe I should just stick to writing about bluebonnets. It was working for me.