As written earlier, in my post, Is A Hit, A Visit? we found out that a hit is not a visit.
So, is a visit a visit? It all depends on which stats program you’re using.
Today, I’m analyzing five different blogging statistics platforms. It’s going to get confusing. What you think is a visit, may be a page view. What you think is a new visitor, may be a returning visitor.
This is what I can determine, from my analysis.
WordPress.com, counts page views, not visitors. One visitor could view 20 pages, and you would see a spike in your graph. Not a true test to your visitor count. However, WordPress.com stats, does list other important information.
AWStats counts unique visitors and visits. The unique visitors are calculated by using an IP address. Visits would tell you how many times your “unique” visitors visited your site. So, if you had 100 unique visitors, and 300 visits, that would mean your unique visitors visited your site, an average of three times each. AWStats, separates visits from spiders, crawlers, and bots. AWStats also counts your feed traffic.
Webalizer counts visits, unique sites, and unique URLs. Webalizer does not segregate the visits from spiders, crawlers and bots, but appears to count feed traffic.
Sitemeter counts visits, but doesn’t differentiate between new, and returning visitors. Therefore, if one reader visits your site five times in one day, it will show as five visits. It doesn’t appear that Sitemeter counts feed traffic.
To confuse it even more, I’ve read that if a person is visiting on your site, at the same time your stats are being updated, (say at midnight), that visitor will be counted as a visit for each day. So…..in actuality, that’s really not a new visit.
Now, add to this, to the fact that all stats are not updated at the same time of the day…..and the numbers can get even more confusing, not to mention conflicting.
Compare all five of these, and you will get five sets of numbers.
So, what’s a blogger to do?
Watch the trend. Look for growth in your numbers. Peaks and valleys are very common to blog traffic. A popular post, or a compelling comment on another site, can create a spike in traffic, whereas, some blogs see a natural drop in traffic, on weekends. Learn the trends in your own blog.
If you’re going to learn anything from your “visit” stats, it should be:
1) What are my popular posts?
2) What keyword phrases are bringing in traffic?
3) Where is my traffic coming from? (That will be the topic of my next post)
4) But most importantly, are my number growing, based on “monthly” statistics?
If you are seeing a steady growth in your monthly numbers, this should tell you, you are doing something right.
So, are you confused now?
Let me know how you have determined if your blog is growing, or not. What stats are you relying on?
BTW: I have been comparing statistical programs for the last six months. I rely on AWStats, to chart the success of my blog.