What’s in a million?
This past weekend, at least according to the WordPress site stats counter, Zombie Ranch experienced its one millionth pageview. It’s a mark I saw approaching and figured would be hit by the end of the year, but I think this is better since it means by the time December 31st rolls around we should have enough extra views to maybe account for all the refreshing we’ve done ourselves during various edits. And the possibilities of inaccurate counting. Maybe.
Don’t get me wrong, this is still a nice feather in the cap after two years of operation, but oy vay for the varying totals you can get from different tracking sites. Sometimes the numbers are off by dozens, if not hundreds or even thousands, and it’s extremely difficult to tell what your actual audience level is. We don’t have one million loyal readers by any stretch, nor have we had one million unique visitors since we started. I do believe, guestimating between the various trackers, that we have had unique visitors in the hundreds of thousands by now, but again, how many of those made a run of the archive? How many got hooked and are going to actually come back week after week? There are sites like comicrank.com that purport to calculate the last total, but it seems like there’s always going to be a certain amount of fuzziness involved in the math.
To be a starting webcomic creator is to exist largely in the dark in terms of audience, not really ever knowing how “well” you might be doing. You’ll try, and it’s certainly not entirely worthless to go over your metrics, but at some point you’ll realize no tracker or ranking site is really going to give you the picture on its own. Too much variance. Too much “who?” and “why?” to try to factor together. And yet there are ad networks out there that won’t let you be a part of their roster unless you get X amount of visitors in a day. Hopefully whatever tracker they’re using to determine that errs on the generous side.
I feel like reaching this milestone of a million views does count for something, but what counts for more might be the number of people actually responding to that news. It’s those little personal lights in the dark, the connections, even if it’s as simple as “Congrats! Good on yer!”. The anonymous gentleman who came by our table at Long Beach Comic Con this past weekend to declare he read Zombie Ranch every week, religiously, and couldn’t wait to find out what happens next – that’s the sort of thing I really feel like celebrating. So thanks to all of you for that, everyone who has ever tossed a sincere thumbs up in our direction as we chugged along. Thanks a million.