Monday, March 30, 2009

What brings people to websites?

I check the stats for my website infrequently and then only glance at which pages are most read. When I took a look today at the month almost over, I found I was averaging about ninety unique visitors a day, which is no great shakes but not all that bad. That's 2700 people in a month.

What I found most intriguing, and makes me wonder about people on the internet, is the search term that appears most often by people who arrive at my site. Are you ready for this?

Charles Manson.

Yep, THE Charles Manson of Sharon Tate murder fame. Back in 2004 I was asked to write an article for Web Mystery Magazine. The editor suggested I take an old murder case and give it a new slant. After doing considerable research, I wrote "The Bizarre Case of Mass Murderer Charles Manson." My chief source was prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi's Helter Skelter, which ranks as the publishing world's top-selling true crime book.

My article pointed out the bizarre aspects of the case and the trial, which took five weeks to seat a jury. It began on June 15, 1970, and the lawyers' summation lasted from Dec. 21 to Jan. 15. The article gives highlights of the murders and background on Manson and his lethal "family." They were sentenced to death, but the California Supreme Court overturned the death penalty a year later. You can read the article here.

Scrolling down the long list of search terms that had brought people to my website proved quite fascinating. They included numerous descriptions of authors by state or sex, which no doubt led them to my Links page. One search term was "this is to be taken facetiously." That one probably landed on my F.A.Q.'s page (Facetiously Answered Questions).

Somebody apparently Googled "Meriwether Lewis was poisoned on the Natchez Trace." Why, I have no clue, but that speculation was mentioned in my new book, The Surest Poison. The longest search query, which appeared with "+" between each word, was this:

"advice someone setting out alone to visit an isolated area of sea or land before the trip."

To paraphrase Art Linkletter, "people ask the darndest things."


L. Diane Wolfe said...

Yes they do!

I don't keep up with my blog stats, but I do watch the ones for my two websites. Sometimes it's odd from where the people come...

L. Diane Wolfe

Chester Campbell said...

It's interesting when you see visitors coming from all around the world.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!