Now and then I check the stats for this weblog to see how many people are reading and, more interestingly, how on earth they found out about it. The vast majority of traffic is generated by other blogs linking here but in second place is of course the search engine – overwhelmingly Google.
It can be quite an eye-opener to find out what key word searches have brought up Harry’s Place. The most common search, which appears every day, is a search for Harry Hatchet or Harry Steele (RIP). That suggests to me that there is a degree of word of mouth still operating. But there are some fascinating random results.
The most popular are names – just before the war a lot of people came here to find Iraqi student Rania Kashi’s pro-intervention email which Tony Blair referred to in one of his setpiece pre-war speeches. Once war was underway Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins, who gave that memorable eve of battle pep-talk, brought plenty of surfers this way although those who were searching for pictures must have been disappointed. Suffice to say I suspect the Colonel has alternative career options.
But the biggest war search that delivered results was “pro+war+arguements” – proving not that I am a major source of opinion on the Iraqi war but merely that I am one of hundreds who constantly spell argument wrong.
Still lots of people came looking for the views of Johann Hari and Nick Cohen – and at least in that respect I think they found the click worthwhile.
There were some rather odd war searches though – “pictures of dead soldiers” seemed to pop up with disturbing regularity as did “pictures of dead Iraqis” – as the Americans say – I don’t want to go there.
However the oddest search has to be “my first wank” which has now appeared several times on the radar. Sadly I failed google again – the youngsters in search of answers to those never-to-be-asked questions had to look elsewhere, unless they really wanted to read the views of David Aaronovitch.