Cluster Maps are a free tool that anyone with a blog or site can use. I think they are an incredibly exciting tool! If you go way down to the bottom of the sidebar here, you can see the Cluster Map. It is a map of the world with little red dots. The smallest dots represent 1 – 9 visits of people to this blog. The next size up is for 10 – 99 visits to the blog.
Turtle Batik, Digital Â© Diane Clancy
After that size, the larger one is for 100 – 999 visits to the blog. Are you getting excited yet? The largest red dots represent 1000 or more separate visits to this blog (or any other blog or site). When you first get a Cluster Map, you start with a blank map of the world. According to some formula, the Cluster Map gets updated regularly.
It is such a great experience to watch the map accumulate red dots – these are PEOPLE – real, live people who have taken the time to come and visit!!! If you look at the map (at the bottom of the sidebar), you can click on the map and it will show you a much bigger version of the map.
Sometimes I check it daily and sometimes not for a few days. Besides the US (and southern Canada), I have 19 red dots that represent 10 or more visits. It is one of the most exciting things in my blogging life to think that people have been moved enough by this blog – including by your comments, of course! – to return. Overnight I went from 11 medium dots to 19 dots … I had been watching because I tell from another tool that it looked like people were returning from some places that didn’t have a medium dot yet.
When Neda was in Beriut, I watched to see when her little red dot would grow to the next size. It was like a personal connection to Neda when she jumped to 10 visits … I knew she was really there.
It is also a fun way to pay attention to geography – Australia, Asia – lots of places in Asia, South America, Europe, and North America each have at least one mid-size visitor. Africa has some small visits but it has not made the leap yet. I encourage you to click on the map so you can see how much fun it is.
Another odd thing, my web site, Diane Clancy’s Art, has 12 red dots (outside the US) that are more than 10 visits. But they are distributed somewhat differently than the blog visits. I think that is fun and it draws me into realizing that this is a real blogosphere with people from lots of parts of the world.
I bet many of you will know what I am talking about when I work very hard to set up a site and blog and then I am not sure if they are worth anything. Am I just talking to myself? These red dots are a validation that what I have shared here on the site and blog is worthwhile to some people. Thank you for visiting!!
Tomorrow (or the next day) I will explain how YOU can get a Cluster Map so you can watch all of us visit too! Thank you for letting me share my excitement about being meaningful enough to people that some people come back and visit again!
~ Diane Clancy