Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Great Lakes Views Top Ten List

With only three days to go until the beginning of New Year, lists abound. Everyone seems to be joining David Letterman by composing Top Ten lists, and this year its even worse because not only are the lists for the past year, they are being composed for the entire first decade of the Third Millennium. Although I am not usually a slave to fashion and do not usually feel the need to follow trends, I have been thinking about what would be Great Lakes Views Top 10 for this year.

Should I pick which posting were most important? If I did, Number One would probably be about Asian Carp, which I wrote about at least three times. Running a close second would be posting about the $475M set aside by the EPA for Great Lakes Restoration projects and third might about The Great Lakes Compact.

Should I pick which posting I enjoyed writing most? I would be very hard pressed to do that but up at the top would be the week I was guest writer on Great Lakes Town Hall or my meeting with Loreen Niewenhuis, the 1,00 Mile Lake Trekker. But I also loved writing about my trip to Point Pelee on the Canadian Side of Lake Erie and my excursion to a few spots on Lake Huron. Boy, now that I think about it, I had fun writing all my posts – if I didn’t I wouldn’t have written them, so there is no top ten here.

Maybe I should include a category of which postings got the most hits. I use a meter from Site Meter which gives me some basic statistics about visits (individual hits) and page views. It also tells me if my readers got there via a search engine and if so what they asked for in their search. Using those statistics, it surprised me to learn that one of my most accessed pages was found by asking “Is Water Alive?” Another popular search was “Great Lakes Shipwrecks” and yet another was “Niagara Escarpment”. Anything with Kenosha in the search, like fishing, the harbor, or the Chrysler plant, got a fair number of hits, too. I realize that many of these brought readers who wanted something other than my blog, but still, they got to me, and so they count in my statistics.

My absolute peak day for readers was the day I posted about Governor Doyle closing the all University of Wisconsin campuses early this month because of the blizzard in Central Wisconsin, even though several of the other campuses could have easily operated. That posting was picked up by a Wisconsin newspaper service and that’s why it got so many hits. That made this month, December 2009, my top month for page views, followed closely by February 2009.

Site Meter tells me the location of my readers, too, and it is fun to see where they are located. Most are as close as Milwaukee and Chicago; the furthest have been from New Zealand, Norway, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. A few were from places I had never heard of and had to look up in the atlas.

The more I think about this Top Ten List thing, the more I think I won’t bother to make one. What I really need is a Top 109 List. That’s how many posts I made this year and for me each one was a winner, each one deserving of special mention. But then again, I am not exactly an objective judge, am I?


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