Calling All New York Lawyers
Define That Term #230

Question For My Fellow Bloggers

Question_mark_2If you are not a blogger, feel free to ignore this post.  In fact, I'd encourage you to do so.  If you are a blogger and/or have some sort of perverse interest in the topic of this post, then read on.

I'd like to take advantage of your collective knowledge/opinions regarding site visitor statistics.  Does anyone have an opinion as to which service is more accurate? 

I ask because I use Sitemeter, which I believe to be somewhat accurate as to actual hits from living, breathing people.  However, my daily Sitemeter statistics are generally 50% less than the Typepad statistics.  For example, on a typical weekday, Typepad registers nearly 350-400 visitors on average, while Sitemeter only registers 175-200. 

And, neither program accounts for the 200+ subscribers who view my blog via an RSS feed reader and never click through to my site.

My working theory regarding the large variation between Sitemeter and Typepad statistics is that Typepad registers bot hits from the search engines, etc., whereas Sitemeter ignores those.

Another reason I ask is that I have spoken to a number of bloggers who utilize a particular blogging service who have informed me that that service's built in statistics tracker used to indicate daily hits in the high thousands.  But, when the bloggers eventually learned how to install a separate hit counter, their statistics using that hit counter dropped drastically into the low hundreds, thus indicating that the original numbers were highly inflated.

So, clearly, there is a huge variation in hits counted, depending on the service you use and the hits that the service chooses to include in the daily statistics.

So, lately I've been wondering:  how does one really know how many actual hits by living, breathing humans are received by a particular site on a given day?

Anyone out there have an opinion as to that theory or have any other theories or information they'd like to share on this issue?  Your feedback is greatly appreciated!

Comments

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Gideon

I use Sitemeter and StatCounter and I haven't noticed a huge discrepancy. Usually, they're somewhat within range of each other. When I was on Typepad, I never did use their own stat service, so I can't speak to that. Generally, I tend to think that the standalone stat services are reliable, because that is their product, whereas the inbuilt stat counter may not be that good.

Are you tracking your own visits?

NBlack

Gideon--Thanks for your reply.

I have Statcounter tracking my visitors as well, and it also comes in higher than Sitemeter--on average about 2-40 hits higher per day.

And, I'm not tracking my own visits.

Harvey Randall

I check the numbers generated by Google's "blog spot" service [traditional and beta versions]. Both typically report 100-200 hits on weekdays; low 20's on weekends. This seems reasonable in terms of the focus of my blog, New York Public Personnel Law, in terms of subject matter interest. I do not believe these statistics include feeds, however, so they may be slightly understated.

David Gottlieb

The hits shown on sitemeter are usually instep with those shown on google analytics. There are some days where there are discrepancies, but it's pretty accurate.

Scott Greenfield

There are statistics? Gid, why didn't you tell me?

John Darer

http://alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details?url=nylawblog.typepad.com

Eric @ New York Personal Injury Law Blog

Hmmm...I put a comment in last night on this and it never appeared.

I use Traffic Stats, and it gives me three metrics: Page views, visitors and unique visitors. Only the last one seems to be meaningful, though I can't usually correlate that overall number with the referrals that come in.

--ET

Walter Olson

I've used several systems (formerly Extreme Tracking, now server-based AwStats and Webalizer). Watch out for robot visitors which can seriously inflate your hit count, especially if you've got huge archives constantly being crawled by spiders as are mine. That's one reason unique visitors is a relatively good measure -- it counts the spider at most once even if it crawls 500 pages. Some counters recognize and exclude search engine spiders.

Two other basic questions to ask if your counts diverge widely: is a system counting only your top page, some interior pages, or all interior pages? Does it include, flag as such, or exclude page reloads?

I'm not aware of any good way to tabulate RSS readers who now account for a good share of traffic (I'd guess at least 20 percent of mine).

I have always found Alexa stats badly unreliable when I had means of checking them.

Nicole Black

Thanks so much for all of the feedback thus far. I greatly appreciate it!

And, it seems like I'm on the same page as many of you. I totally agree the search engine spiders are a big distraction if your site counter tracks them.

For example, my feedburner feed gets an average of 25 hits every 1/2 hour, at least 75% of which are search engine spiders. If those hits were counted, my "hits" would average at least 2400 per day--a greatly inflated number that does not mesh with reality.

Sitemeter does not track those hits, although I suspect that many of the hit counters that are provided with any given blogging platform do track those hits, thus providing the newer blogger with misleading data and a sense that they've accumulated a huge "readership" right out of the starter's gate.

And, although it's great to get a large number of subscribers to your feed, it's unfortunate that there's no way to have your feed subscriber's hits and other hits calculated in one place. Until that changes, I guess we'll just have to "guesstimate" our daily hits.

Also, I agree with the sentiment offered by others above--a stand alone hit tracker is the only way to go.

Anyway, thanks again for all the feedback thus far!

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