Are Humans Reading Your Blog?

Filed as Guides on October 27, 2009 8:19 pm

I was looking over some of my blog stats today and hit a hurdle that I have run face first into before. I have a lot of readers, but not a lot of commenters. So…how do I know the traffic I am looking at belongs to human beings?

I know that there are a bunch of ways you can identify spiders, crawlers, robots, ants, bots, worms, and other automated indexers. But truth be told, sometimes the only way to tell is by looking for IP address patterns, including high frequency and time of access.

I’m racking my brain for other ways to prove to myself that I am writing for human beings. Here’s what I have so far, and I need you help! Please leave your comments below.

Ways to identify humans:

- Include a call to action. Controversial topics tend to get people to switch from passive reader to blog comment writer. But nothing seems to be more effective than giving something away.

- Set up an interactive chat session or videoconference. There’s no way the bots can fool me on this one. Unless of course they wear a mask and a name tag!

- Stalk places with free Wi-Fi (or do some IP Stalking). “Excuse me, I noticed you are reading my blog, and I would like to personally thank you.” At that point, you will either be wearing coffee or get carted away be security.

- Are you human? It’s extreme, but I guess if this drove me crazy enough I could place a series of squiggly letters via Captcha before people access my content. I’d lose a ton of readers, but at least the ones I’d keep, would be vetted!

So how else can bloggers identify their readers as human beings?

Tags: , , ,

This post was written by

You can visit the for a short bio, more posts, and other information about the author.


Submissions & Subscriptions

Submit the post to Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg or Del.icio.us.

Did you like it? Then subscribe to our RSS feed!



  1. By Teri posted on October 28, 2009 at 9:36 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    Hi, I work as head of content for a mobile web portal. I read your blog every day, and I’m a human.

    Just thought you’d like to know.

    Reply

  2. By Chris posted on October 28, 2009 at 11:00 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    I’m human too and I visit this site daily although through google reader but sometimes I click-through, like today.

    FeedBurner tells me how many bots visit my site. Between FeedBurner stats and Google Analytics, I’m almost certain that a very high percentage of my traffic is human (although the low number of rss subscribers, high bounce rates and 90 seconds or so on average spent on the site indicate that these are all speed-reading humans that were so satisfied with what they found, subsequent visits could never be as gratifying as the initial visit. Or, I’m really lying to myself… )

    Just an idea but I don’t think bots, spiders, crawlers, worms, etc. use monitors. So you could total up all your visits from user-agents that passed a screen resolution! Of course, now that I’ve posted this, some nefarious individual will now be passing a screen resolution with their next worm…

    Reply

  3. By Peter White posted on November 3, 2009 at 2:44 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    I look at the search phrases that come to my pages and also what pages they land on. It’s easy to tell who is just searching for places to put spam. I can even tell which are colleagues checking out the competition.

    I get plenty of searches but only a good friend of mine felt compelled to leave a few comments.

    I keep telling myself that people that do frequent my blog, might need someone else to break the ice, because of the content of my blog. (Hmm I wonder if my nice guy page has a ton of shy guys waiting on the wall like in some junior high dance. )

    Reply

    Your words are your own, so be nice and helpful if you can. If this is the first time you're posting a comment, it might go into moderation. Don't worry, it's not lost, so there's no need to repost it! We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it please.

    Current ye@r *