Sunday, October 11, 2009

On statistics

I was a little hesitant to put one of those “site statistics” on my blog. I’ve dealt with those in the past – it’s a little thingie that basically counts how many people visit your site. Which can be interesting, encouraging, nerve-wracking, and it can foster a considerable amount of obsession.

The counters I’ve previously used only counted the number of views – meaning they don’t distinguish between me refreshing the page 80 times a day just to see if there’s a comment, or 80 individual visitors. Technology seems to have improved since then, though. This time the counter not only distinguishes “unique visitors” from “page views”, but it also tells me whether the hits are “first time visitors” or “returning visitors”.

The counter also has several other options that you can add in a “pro” version, aka – “you pay; we provide the obsession the free version created.” Well, I’m not going to let this fool me. Free obsessions are bad enough – it’s when you start spending money on them you are in real trouble. Besides, it’s more than enough for me to know approximately how many visitors my blog has on a daily basis – I don’t need more statistics than that (math and I usually don’t agree, and I define this as math. Yes I do). The only feature I possibly could be interested in from the pro-version, would be the country statistic – because it intrigues me to know where the people visiting my blog are from. However, you don’t need to go pro to find out this. There is an alternative.

The free statistics do provide a map of the last 10 visitors (or the last 10 page views, I suspect, since it only shows about 4-5 at the time). I may be bad at reading maps, but I’m not that incompetent. And if I for some reason don’t know what country the red dot on the world map is indicating, I can always consult my on-wall world map (which is not on the wall anymore, since it eventually and inevitably fell down ).

Now, the map show few surprises. I know most of the people who are likely to visit my blog on a regular basis, and the map confirms my suspicions. I could of course be wrong – there are a lot of people living in India, but I’m suspecting my regular follower there is Natasha. Likewise I have a good idea who the UK ones are, and several of the US ones. Friendly reminders that there are people out there who care.

Then of course there is the occasional surprise. Who is the French person who keeps returning? And what about that one in South Africa? I’ve no idea. It’s funny though, because these are most likely people who stumbled across the blog randomly, and for some reason they decided to return. I like that thought.

So, bottom line, do I need a counter, and do I need the statistics it provides? No, of course not. It is another silly time-eater, of which I already have too many. But at least I got a blog post out of it (which is a good thing considering my participation in NaBloWriMo).


M.J. Nicholls said...

The blog counter is an odd obsession. I know bloggers who start blogs, never promote their blogs on FB or Twitter, then show-off about their 1000 site-views, obvlious to the fact 999 of views was them-stupid-selves. I move in strange circles.

Personally I'm not a fan. The counter enduces blog envy andfeelings of blog alienation. Whereas blogs should unite and liberate everyone from around the globe in a tsunami of opinion and wondrous comment! Join together!

P.S. I'm in Edinburgh, so I DEMAND my own red dot above England!

Watery Tart said...

MJ, I think you've GOT a dot...

I happen to LOVE these things, not for the COUNT so much as the location. It is always a little surprising to find connections across the world. You seem to have a major fan club in Michigan, but who are those people in South America?

(Did I mention I'm going to make you set me up because I can't figure it out?)

Cruella Collett said...

Mark - oh, you've got a spot on most of the maps, but I chose this one since it was all exotic with the South Americas...

Tami - I've no idea. I'm dead curious, though!

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