I first installed a free stats counter on Melbourne Gastronome in November 2007. I now use both StatCounter and Google Analytics, and both of them are useful in different ways. I don't worry about my stats too much (given the Melbourne-centric nature of the blog it will only ever be of limited interest to those elsewhere, and anyway I'd much rather have a small number of engaged readers than try to entrap vast numbers of unsuspecting and uninterested web surfers), but the data can often make for interesting reading.
In addition to letting me know which other websites are linking to the blog, and the labels function by which one can track visitors by their IP addresses (a special shout-out to my very loyal readers at Eastern Energy, Roseby Rosner & Young and SBA Lawyers!), I like to occasionally check out which of my pages are popular, and what search words readers entered into google to find me.
By far the most popular individual post on melbourne gastronome is this one about the Australian Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake Book, often found by readers via the facebook group I set up, or through google searches like 'birthday cake book from the 80s', 'duck cake with chip beak' or 'jelly swimming pool cake australia'. As ever, I'm delighted that so many people love the book too. :)
The top five venues whose reviews on my blog have been the most popular are Cumulus Inc, Auction Rooms, D.O.C., Chinatown Dumpling (though it's clear from the google searches that some of those readers are looking for Camy's Shanghai Dumpling instead) and Gill's Diner.
The fact that Cumulus Inc and Auction Rooms top the list is even more impressive given the number of people who get the names wrong when googling them! But then I suppose google tends to still find results in spite of typos and spelling errors. Many people search for 'the auction room cafe' or 'auction house', and don't get me started on the Cumulus spelling variations (Cumules, Cumlus, Cumulos, Cumulas, Cumulis, Cumulous, Cumilus, Cummulus and Cumuls have all somehow made their way to me... I must admit though that I did like 'Cumules Ink')!
Poor old Gill's Diner/Dinner/Kitchen/Cafe/Cafeteria/Bakery/Alley/Place/Bar/Pantry and Bouzy/Boozey/Boozy/Boozie Rouge have the same problem. I too get the odd Melbourne Gastronomy/Gastranome/Gastrome/Gourmand search.
Looking at the google search words that have led people to the blog is often hilarious. For example (and I stress that all of google search words in this post are genuine!):
- 'mushroom pyjamas'
- 'cocktail pickled eggplant'
- 'donna hay crap book'
- 'rather super gosh'
- 'kangkong poems'
- 'indonesian mariachi band'
- 'macaron macaron the song'
- 'north melbourne gardening nazi'
Anyone want to start a band called Mushroom Pyjamas, or North Melbourne Gardening Nazi? My fellow bloggers, what are some of the stranger search terms that have been used to find your blog?
Sometimes the googled phrase poses a question. I've tried to answer some of them below:
- 'melbourne fish market like sydney fish market'? Alas, no.
- 'explain: peking duck with pinot noir'. What is there to explain? They just taste really great together.
- 'abbortsford [sic] convent is it haunted'? Only by Handsome Steve.
- 'siglo bar melbourne for ladies?' - um sure, I guess. But gentlemen appear to be equally comfortable there.
- 'which cafes and bars that serve eggplants chips in collin st melbourne'? Dunno about Collin(s) Street, but I had some once at Blue Train.
- 'can my hamster eat yellow bananas' and 'can my hamster eat kangkong'? I have NO idea about hamsters. The only reason the word appears on my blog is because Hungry Hamster left comments!
- 'how to make a wizard of oz fondant cake with photo'? Fondant is cheating! It looks fake! The original Women's Weekly Birthday Cake Book would never approve!
- 'seamstress, hako or bar lourinha'? Eh, you can't really go wrong with any of those three in my experience.
- 'how to pronounce adriano zumbo'? I believe it's pronounced "rrraowr".
- 'how much is the pay at tutto bene restaurant'? Not the sort of thing one plasters on the internet, really...
- 'location of the vegetable market of the french film paris by cédric klapisch'? Hmmmm, very specific question. I'd say it's up near the 19th or 20th, judging from the view.
- 'melbourne cup opening times auction house north melbourne'? Call 9326 7749 and ask! Tell them Claire sent you.
- 'how much corn flour do i put in mahalabia'? Two tablespoons.
Sometimes the google search phrases get a little surreal:
- 'enoteca blood bank model marketing companies'
- 'power of the atom quest can't find burke'
- 'a heavy lamp floating in the air in the middle of the night in melbourne'
- 'funny stories about radicchio di treviso' - I don't see anything particularly hilarious about leaf vegetables, but if anyone does have any radicchio di treviso jokes or anecdotes, it would be totally awesome if you shared them with us in the comments.
Sometimes the google search phrases are just WRONG:
- 'sexs tub bouzy'
- 'loin?, melbourne king street'
- 'sexual perversion bodybuilders'
- 'hot little chocolate 18 year old'
- 'dad shags bride on wedding day' (oh by all means, come to melbourne gastronome for all your icky incest fantasies)
In addition to the google searches for 'melbourne gastronome' and 'melbournegastronome', both of which spiked following my quote in an article in the Epicure, there are a few unusual ones:
- 'melbourne gastronome bleak' (um, anyone care to explain this one?)
- 'blog melbourne restaurant review female lawyer' (someone I met through the law firm but who couldn't remember my name, perhaps?)
- 'paris end melbourne gastronome' (I wish! Alas I'm mostly stuck down the other end)
- 'melbourne gastronome pimms' (someone knows me far too well)
And a few more favourites to finish off:
- 'her name is claire from australia melbourne' (hint: you might want to narrow your search parameters, there are quite a few of us)
- 'i have come to clean ze pool' (devastatingly, there is no clip of this on youtube)
- 'ingredients with an apostrophe'
- 'la clique bathtub guy' and 'spiegeltent man in the bath' (again with the rrraowr)
- 'massage by indonesian people only in melbourne and suburbs'
- 'amelie quotes sack of grain'
- 'burnley cremorne not real suburbs' (my housemate and I will just have to disagree with you on this one)
- 'professional "customer service" "friendly but not familiar"'
- 'fashion that looks like a mushroom'
- 'melbourne dinner good shit'