stats: the forbidden love

This is the so-called lecture, in actuality dialogue, that I gave at Moosecamp, which is the first, more free-form day, of the Northern Voice Blogging Conference. It was my intention to get people talking about the simple right to care about hits, but it turned out that this was taken as a given and we went off on all kinds of tangents. I’m a big tangent person, so I love this. Here’s the whole podcast, thanks to; I shall never again question the relevance of podcasts.

I’ll snippet the bits of wisdom and the URL’s later.

add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

27 thoughts on “stats: the forbidden love

  1. I wish I could have been there but the podcast was informative. Here are the podcast notes I made to share with your other readers.

    (1) Appeal to hearts and minds and get those numbers. Stats validate the work you do on your blog – feel proud – feel validated when you see your stats increase.

    (2) Don’t kid yourself the way you get the numbers is by filling the needs of individuals.

    (3) Blogging is about connections. Successful blogging is a result of establishing and maintaining relationships.

    (4) Recognize that information once published is subject to blog scrapers and don’t sweat it.

    (5) Getting a domain doesn’t stop the blogscrapers.

    (6) Over-use of more tags as a device to achieve higher stats can turn readers away. Many readers will not subscribe to “summary” feeds. Many will only subscribe to full feeds.

    (7) Blogs exists for both the bloggers and the reader.

    (8) Some bloggers expressed very little confidence in the stats as an actual reflection of their blog’s popularity. Questions rose above the validity of the various stats counting systems that are in use today and there was minimal confidence that the systems themselves would improve in the next few years.

    (9) Tracking stats and links gives you an opportunity to gauge the authenticity of your own writing and that of other bloggers as well.

    (10) If you are actively engaged in you’re blogging and authentic in your writing you will connect, build relationships and achieve stats.

    (11) Google analytics and click stream analytics are worth consideration as a means of discovering the path your readers take. It’s most suited to data base construct. However, it’s not user friendly. It’s for the technologically advanced. Crazy egg and hit-tail are also useful. Podstats ( is a stats program worth consideration.

    (12) Look for for these podcasts at the conference and Moosecamp proceedings.

    (13) What stats do you find useless? Clickout stats were considered to be valuable. This can be an indication that you provided good content. Screencolours the most useless stat in the world as you can find more out from what browser they use. It’s useful only to photobloggers.

    (14) What more do you get from paid stats programs as opposed to free stats programs? It shows you hits coming in in real time stats, clicking in and clicking out information. But here’s one stats program thats free, simple and intuitive “getclicky”. Paid stats program logs also show you how many hack attempts there are but what import does that information have if you’re still up and running.

    (15) Stats can be fascinating to your readers. They want you to post information about them – the countries they come from and other similar information is of interest to them so blog posts with information about your readers always draw lots of hits.

  2. It’s a strange thing to me. Sure, it would be cool to be more popular ( I’ ve been averaging about 70 hits per day in the last couple of months which is as high as it has been). On the other hand, I have a limited interest blog (an abandoned rail yard in Montreal). It is a labour of love for me and, yes, higher traffic does validate a lot of it. And, perhaps most importantly, it eggs me on .


    P.S. Sexy voice, Raincoaster!

  3. Interesting lecture. RC. I guess I’m a bit different as I don’t really care all that much about blog hits and such. Before I started my WordPress blog I’d spent just over three years participating on a forum that had been started by Douglas Adams, called h2g2 … all about Life, The Universe and Everything.

    It was my first ever experience with an internet community and it was mostly a pleasant experience. But then last year I decided to start my blog on WordPress, so now I spend far less time on h2g2. To be honest, a lot of the fun I have with my blog is playing with the graphics and pictures and setting up other blogs … so for me it’s not about ‘hits’ at all, just about the fun I’m getting out of doing it. And of course the very interesting people I’ve been lucky enough to meet here.

    Anyhow, I divide my online blogging-type time mostly between my wordpress blogs and h2g2 – there is actually more of a community feel on h2g2 than here. Both sites offer quite different things.

    But the ability to reach out and connect with others all over the globe on a daily basis is the main reason I do this. I mean, I could never find such a diverse group of people to discuss such a wide variety of things with in my RL day-to-day existence.

    And discovering your blog, raincoaster, has been quite a find. It’s always a pleasure to visit, so keep up the good work!

  4. I lurk here, RC, and enjoy your space. I am not a techie or a geek so I really don’t understand most of this stat stuff. I do know that I was EXTREMELY excited when the hits on my blog rose from 30 a day to 60, and now for some reason I am getting 130 a day. Oh, very cool, I was so happy. Then I listened to your podcast and I’m just small fry. bummer.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. No, no, there’s no such thing as small fry. Every stat is just a unit of hearts and minds, so think of it in terms of the way your reach is growing over time; that’s actually quite impressive!

    I think I may have failed to articulate just exactly why stats matter. It’s just this: stats are people (insert Soylent Green joke here). When I go to check my stats, what that page actually refers to is not an algorithm, not a bunch of clicks; that page is just a representation of a room full of people, all of them reading the blog. It’s as abstract as a line drawing, perhaps, but it’s really just a way of making a portrait of my readers. I don’t think “ah, 1500 hits,” I think “ah, 1500 people, and they clicked on this a lot so they liked it, but they didn’t comment so perhaps that meant it was too neatly tied up, or it was obvious or it had an attractive title but was dull.” The stat page is a strange alphabet, but once you’ve learned it you can read the messages your readers have sent you. It’s like a doctor who can look at a chart of your bloodwork, and he sees you in it. That’s how lab techs experience, interpret, and communicate individuals; in charts. Just like stats.

    Does this make sense?

  6. You have articulated what I have instinctively felt. I began my blog to say stuff and to show my photography. For several months I lived with a group of around 20-30 people (hits per day). I then began to feel that, while not pointless, it would be more fulfilling if more people saw my work. So I changed my emphasis. I stopped being a stuffed shirt and started having fun. Luckily some people have decided they like having fun with me. Now I can have the best of both worlds. I can have fun with my new friends and every now and then reach that larger audience with my more serious work. Now I am looking at around 300 visitors each day and I feel an obligation to repay the trust they show in me when visiting my blog. It still remains a labour of love. I can also be a stats-gigolo with a clear conscience. Thank you. Normal service will be resumed soon.

  7. Raincoaster,
    Let me first say, I am thankful that you directed me to this blog. I appreciate all the information, and like most query searches it has provided more questions. If you wold be so kind, I would appreciate your answering these questions. Thanks so much!

    When my material is stolen and used by the blogscrapers pariahs that wander the web, exploiting and using my material, what recourse do I have?

    How can I set up tracking stats and links for authenticiy?

    Crazyegg and poststats are suggested as click stream analytics that you would recommend. Is is apples to apples or apples to oranges, when it comes to accuracy, say in comparison to stile Meter or some other stat counter out in the www? Which would you recommend for reliability and accuracy? I am not tech savy. Are these two you mentioned, user friendly?

    Which of the stat counter thingy’s that you talked about above is the best overall read of my blog?

    How about get clicky and Are you suggesting using multiple counters or are you merely giving options? Please help me to know which of these stat counters / readers are easy to use and accurage to real time. Thanks so much sir.

    Have a great day.


  8. 1) none
    2) no idea: these were things other people recommended to me. I haven’t researched them.
    3) again, no idea. In most cases stat counters don’t make the stats of a given blog available to anyone but the blog owner, so I would have no way of getting that information
    4) again, no idea. I was merely listing the options that the audience, which was highly technical, gave.

    5) again, I AM NOT A SIR.

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