…. page loads.
…cumulative page loads as at 08:45 this morning.
That’s awesome, in the literal sense of awe- inducing, but also less than it seems. That’s page loads, not the number of visitors, and a high proportion of those page loads are more than fleeting: visitors who have been directed to the site by a search engine, stayed for no more than a second or two, and moved on, finding that the site is not after all what they were looking for. So half a million, while it sounds impressive, is deceptive. There are however, other metrics that are more meaningful.
The one that I find most useful, is the number of “returning” visitors: those who have visited the site before, and so have come back (presumably) as a deliberate decision. Some of these have the site bookmarked, others have RSS or direct email feeds to advise of new content, and other less frequent visitors, simply type in the site name to a search engine – and are duly directed, as active choice. The vagaries of technology and cookie settings means that not all returning visitors are accurately identified, and the number fluctuates – but as far as I can tell, I have something like 500 different returning visitors in a typical week. That is a number worth taking seriously, and one that I like to think of as my Queer Church global “congregation”.
Any milestone is worth some reflection and review – especially when it coincides with a season like Advent – and almost coincides with the four year anniversary of the site, which began over the season of Christmas, 2008/9. I have in any case been undertaking a fairly comprehensive re-evaluation of my whole approach and priorities in recent months, ever since a reader challenged me to spend less energy on what he characterised as “gay politics”, and more on the more serious matters of religion. Some of that re-evaluation has already been evident, in a redesign for this site, some has been taking place behind the scenes, in the development of linked satellite sites, which I will soon be unveiling publicly – probably for the new year. Some has been a shift in my daily activities, with greater emphasis on networking and physical co-operation with other groups, off-line.
Some of this I will share and disclose publicly – some I will keep to myself.
For me personally, this Advent will be an important time of review and renewal. One thing though that I know I can share immediately, is a profound sense of gratitude to all my readers. When I began the project almost four years ago, I had no idea how it would come to take over my life – or how much respect it would earn from so many of you, including some priests and theologians that I respect myself. (Nor did I anticipate the depth of hostility it would earn from some others – particularly those that I cannot respect. So that’s a badge of honour, in itself).
More, later. Meanwhile – many thanks again, to all my readers. It’s been quite a ride, and good to have had you with me.