Page views in stats are over rated, and can be inflated.

How? If you click on your own posts, and your stats program is not blocking your own visits, your page views go up.

Example: One day I was feverishly working on my blog. I was all over the place…updating old posts, writing new ones, and rereading others. At the end of the day, I noticed I had a huge spike in page views. Wow! That’s great, I thought….until I realized I created the majority of those page views.

Earlier I wrote about page views, and how it equates to the “stickiness” of your blog. Since then, I have had time to analyze this more closely. With that being said, “stickiness” may also be over rated.

I’m sounding like a pessimist now, aren’t I?

But, take a moment, and follow me on this one.

If you view your stats, you see your visitor counts, and will also see “page views”. This tells you how many pages were viewed when visitors were on your site. If you have researched blogging, you may have read that a higher page view “average”, means your blog has “stickiness”, or readers stick around and read more than the one post that brought them to your site.

And, maybe………….you should you be worried if your page views drop.

I don’t think so.

To me, the growth of a blog is measured in unique visitors and visits.

Time to do some math…..

If you have 10 visitors, and they viewed 10 pages …., that is still only 10 unique visitors, 10 visits, and 100 page views.

But if you have 100 unique visitors, and they all visited your site once, that’s 100 unique visitors, 100 visits, and 100 page views.

Which scenario would you rather have happen on your blog?

Today’s Lesson

A Simple Math Test

Let’s say Asako, comes to my blog, and views 15 pages.(She’s sitting at the cafe, sipping lattes, and relaxing 🙂 ) The same day Ian, Catherine, Kekoa , Jaseem, and Henk, each view, one page each. Then Nelson, and SpicePuppy come by and view 2 pages each.

I have had 8 visitors. They viewed 24 pages. If that is the only traffic I get for that day, my page views will be 24, and I will have an average of (24/8) 3.0 page views.

Now, when I see that, my first assumption is, “Oh, my blog is “sticky”, my visitors are reading 3.0 pages each” …….not true. One visitor read a lot, but the others didn’t.

I have read “talk” on many sites how a blog has 10,000 page views a day. That sounds pretty impressive. But, what does that really mean? 10,000 visits? 5,000 visitors, viewing two pages each? 2,500 visitors, viewing 4 pages each? 1000 visitors, viewing 10 pages each? Or…..500 visitors (with a lot of time), viewing 20 pages each?

Over the years, I have been on many sites, where I have read (or clicked on) 10 pages, sometimes more. But, I was only one visitor.

I have also read that “page views” is something that’s looked at, if a blog is for sale. To me, looking at page views, and/or hits, can be totally misleading, not to mention, inflated.

On my blogs, if you “come in” on my “home” page (as “direct” traffic), you can read 5 posts in their entirety. If you don’t click on a specific post, I believe your visit is counted as one page view. If I were to have excerpted posts, where you would have to click on each post to read the entire post, I could possibly rack up 5 page views.

Should I switch to excerpted posts to increase my “page view” count? I don’t think so.

When a reader comes to my site, I want to make it as easy as possible for them to read my writings. If they have the time to scroll down the page, and read more than one post, I say “thank you” for giving me that time. To have to click on my posts, to read them in their entirely, may deter my readers from reading the entire post.

Years ago, when I was new to surfing the internet, if I saw (what I know now as an “excerpted” post or article), I didn’t even realize there was more to the story. I just thought, “Wow, that article didn’t say much”. …..on to the next search. If I did that, I know there are many others who do the same. Sadly, in the process, I probably missed out on a lot of great sites and valuable information.

We create our blogs for our readers. We don’t create blogs to gain better statistics, do we?

My goal is to make it as easy as possible for my readers to navigate my pages.

Isn’t that what it’s all about? Or, are we too worried about “page views”?

Today’s Assignment

Based on my analysis….

Look at your page views…..what are they telling you?

Please post your answer in the comment section. 🙂 Thank You!

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  1. CatherineLNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. I too have always been suspicious of these page views. I have the last 9 posts on one page – yet yesterday – Alexa is showing that I had an average of 18 views per user. And sometimes it is over 20.

    Do you know what I think – probably one of my competitors goes onto my blog every few days and prints out several pages! It honestly wouldn’t surprise me, as I know they are already using a hacking tool on one of my sites to get keywords – that shows up in my stats.

    And I suppose we all try to keep an eye on what the competition is up to but the hacking is just plain silly.

    I think most regular readers are probably reading just one or two posts.

  2. NelsonNo Gravatar says:

    hey Barbara, How are ya? I been busy with some viruses spikes we had on the network lately and I haven’t had a chance to visit my buddies. Thanks for the comments on my blog.

    Good writing about pageviews, stats, and the real traffic. To be honest I never pay attention to pageviews. I only count unique visitors as the only real growth of my blog. which google is being generous on generating some of them lately. Hey! have you been at probloggers.net lately and see all the birthday gifts he is giving away? I donated him an Ipod touch so I’m on the donor list. but contrary from what I thought, not a single soul from problogger has hit my blog. which wasn’t my purpose of donating the Ipod. I think the link will be more beneficial on the long run. I’m having fun seeing all the comments at problogger.

    Well I went off topic, pageviews stats, if you are using Google Analytics, you can block your IP to prevent analytics from showing your own visits and pages execution as real traffic. I don’t remember the whole procedure but I set up mine to not count my own visits. Good luck at problogger if you participate.

    your buddy,

    Nelson

  3. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Catherine,

    Thanks for stopping by, and leaving a comment.

    It’s pretty lame that people resort to stealing other’s content, just to profit themselves. I’ve read that it’s good to put links in your posts, and that way, if someone “steals” your whole post (which has happened to me-once that I know of), the links are embedded in, so it’s not a complete “waste”. I don’t know if this is true, but it does make sense. Hmmm. May be a good research topic for me.

    Nelson,

    Sounds like you have been busy. Glad you found time to drop in, and leave a comment.

    I saw the birthday bash on Problogger, but haven’t taken the time to see what it’s truly all about. Maybe I will win that Ipod, thanks to you.

    Happy Blogging!

  4. Ian DennyNo Gravatar says:

    Last month, the personal blog scored a daily average of:

    35 page views
    20 visitors (11 new, 9 returning)

    No idea how that stacks up. But I’ve done nothing to promote the blog. It’s only a blogger one and SEO and any other tricks haven’t been applied.

    The blog has been up since the second half of June. That’s 110 days. And during that time, there have been 276 arrivals from search engines or 2.5 a day.

    There have been 4658 page views and a total of 2687 visits.

    I really haven’t a clue whtat this means!

    Any interpretation would be really useful as I still feel like a bit of a novice on blogs!

    The new company blog was launched properly yesterday. One of the posts has had 88 YouTube hits (guessing about 12 from ourselves – the rest must be visitors).

    And some of that is from an email circular to people I know.

    Got a pretty poor stats package on the company site/blog though so no idea if there’s been spike until tomorrow.

  5. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Ian,

    Based on the fact you haven’t done anything to promote your blog, the numbers don’t look bad…2687 visits in 110 days? Do I understand that correct? If you have had 276 visits, via search engines, that tells me, search engine traffic is just over 10% of your visitors. Most of your traffic must be referrals and/or direct.

    In my first 90 days for this blog, I had 2871 visits (based on AWStats). I had very little search engine traffic, most was from referrals.

    Growth, I think, should be measured by “unique visitors” (or IP addresses), and returning “visits”. If you are getting a lot of return visits, that means you are attracting some loyal visitors….always a good sign.

    It sounds like your company blog is taking off, very nicely. That’s great news, and should equate to growth of your business, as well. That blog should give you great name recognition.

    Are you thinking of changing your stats program on the company blog?

    Keep me posted on your growth.

  6. Ian DennyNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for that Barbara. Yes, thinking of adding statcounter to the company site.

    Think you’re right about using IP addresses as a way of measuring visits and returning visits.

    However, return visit stats are possibly skewed and need to be considered as inaccurate. IP addresses change. I know AOL appears to change them for instance – pretty regularly.

    I suspect alot of IP addresses are dynamic – i.e. your ISP can change them.

    Many businesses use fixed IP addresses – principally because it allows remote users to log on to their business from home or even connect smaller branch offices together.

    Love your blog by the way. I’m learning an awful lot.

  7. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Ian,

    Yes, IP addresses can change, and you can also get more than one visitor from the same IP address, so the information could be skewed, to a degree, however, I think it’s the closest thing to getting halfway accurate numbers.

    I try not to dwell on daily numbers. I want to see monthly growth. To me, that equates to “success”, of sorts.

    Although we have discussed before, that a great blog shouldn’t be judged on it’s traffic, we bloggers still need a way to “measure” our hard work, and visitor counts seems to be the best way to do that.

    Thank you for the compliment. I’m trying to pass onto others what I have learned thus far, in a non-techo type language,…. even though blogging is advancing in leaps and bounds.

  8. AsakoNo Gravatar says:

    Ouch, Barbara, you did figure out that I read so many of your articles, inflating your stats. I am a person who skims everything first, then, click on article and read, then go another place, then, come back later to comment, so I would be clicking a lot of times.

    Furthermore, I use Firefox, and sometimes open so many tabs with one blog on each. Then, leave them all there, hence, I may be inflating the stats of length of stay for everyone as well.

    One thing I find useful with Google Analytics is the geographic overlays and cross matrix them with traffic sources. That will immediately help you to eliminate the inflation you yourself are creating on your site.

  9. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    That’s funny Asako,

    All the more reason to ignore “page views” Asako just showed up.. Watch your numbers soar 🙂 . Just kidding…..

    Yes, stats can be inflated by how you search, clicking, back clicking, leaving tabs open, etc, but unless your IP address changes, you are still only one IP address/unique visitor to a site.

    I, too, use Firefox tabs, and split screens, and have at times opened tabs/screens, and then had to leave the office to run an errand, and hours have passed before I get back to my computer. If I have someone’s blog open, it might show that I was reading for six hours…..Wow!

    All the more reason for not getting hung up on another of the numbers stats provide..i.e. length of visit.

    I think we all need to take “inflation” into consideration with our blog stats, (who knew inflation would affect blogging, too? 🙂 ) but, I really think, most of our energy, needs to be directed toward providing great content for our readers, and not stress over our stats.

    If you see monthly increases in your visitor counts, you know your blog is growing, hence, you’re doing something right.

  10. […] Some say, by writing a post in a series, you gain repeat visits, and page views. […]

  11. You’re right they are overrated. so are those darn feedburner stats. I just took my little chicklet off my blog showing how many readers I have. I’m happy to have them, but it’s bragging a little and those too have been inflated and manipulated. If I have readers, I should have some comments, that’s good enough.

    Natural Woman’s last blog post..Meet the Bloggers

  12. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Natural Woman,

    I wasn’t aware that Feedburner stats are also overrated/manipulated, but that’s mainly because I don’t watch them too close.

    Barbara’s last blog post..If Content Is Queen, Where Is She Hiding

  13. […] the past I’ve written posts titled Confusing Blog Stats – Is a Visit A Visit?, Page Views Are Over Rated and in Blogging – Year One – Lesson 4, I share what I learned from […]