Statistics damn statistics
Given I have a book to sell and I read authors need this wonderful thing called an author’s platform, naturally I am a little interested in statistics. The page view, visitor kind of statistics. I think most writers of web sites, whether personal or commercial, are a little interested! What a minefield! This is for the newbies out there – avoid getting your knickers in a knot over numbers! This is article number 600 for us, so I thought it a good time to take a light-hearted look at statistics.
I don’t expect 20,000 page views a day – I’m writing to a niche audience so I know I’ve never going to reach such dizzy heights. Even so, I like to see a little growth: there is comfort in knowing there actually IS an audience out there, no matter how small!
How many and where do they come from? Your guess is as good as mine! There are four main stats sites recommended by the more experienced. Sitemeter.com, alexa.com, quantcast.com and of course in my case trusty old wordpress.com themselves. As all collect stats in different ways, there will be variances.
I’ve always been intrigued by the stats from alexa.com: they are absolutely positive 35% of our audience are in Canada! My bounce rate used to be about 20%, not sure what happened! Sitemeter tells me each visitor, on average, views 2.2 pages. I also know some visitors read 20 or 30 articles, so I assume that averages out the ones who read only one. Google tells me 305 sites link into this one. Times 10 would be nice, but oh well!
Now if we look at sitemeter, Canada sits at about 5% of page views or visits – not sure which this actually is! This is high, as I took this screen shot in the morning, before most of the southern lot were up and about: the percentages change depending on who is awake and who is asleep around the world. Of course, there is that large chunk of “Unknown”, perhaps they all reside in Canada?
WordPress tends to agree with Sitemeter on our popularity in Canada. Certainly no more than 10%. Quantcast has Canada at about 2%!
Then there is the question of actual numbers.
Sitemeter has a different perspective (the 17th closed at 400):
Some look close, others don’t. I know Quantcast use 3rd party cookies: these days most of us don’t allow those for security reasons. Maybe this accounts for the variances, who knows……
WordPress for the same period of time:
Other things I find interesting are the descriptions of the audience. You, the audience, will I am sure be happy to know most of you have a college degree or post-grad. Unfortunately, seems all that education didn’t do you much good as most of you are “less affluent”. Join the club!
Alexa.com is not so sure about the education and I don’t have income analysis from Alexa. Am I comparing apples and pears, I wonder? Despite having read Quantcast’s How do we do it? I still have no idea how they know whether I am reading your site or my teenager is reading your site. If I am reading from work, how on earth do they know ANYTHING about me? Am I confused? You betcha!
Search terms are another interesting area of comparison!
According to Alexa, their top search term is one I have never seen before!
I cannot find that same search term anywhere in the WordPress stats!
But I do have 482 “unknown” search terms – maybe those are the Alexa top ones? Google Webmaster tools don’t mention that search term either. All very strange. Besides, if 67% of search traffic was coming from that term, surely Canada wouldn’t be so high as an audience source? Am I confused? You betcha!
If you hunt around, you find your website has been rated and valued by a lot of places. TeamOyeniyi.com seems to have a cash value, believe it or not! I notice both of these don’t recognise our Google Page Rank at all!
Or even better, over $2,000:
I’ll stick to WordPress stats because surely they have the best chance of measuring reasonably accurately: they host the site, after all. Now they have added country stats I’m happy.
What amazes me is the number of sites out there doing nothing other than “assessing” sites like yours and mine. Many, I noticed, seem to drag information straight from Alexa.com. Why? I don’t understand.
But I’m a novice in this world of web sites. There is a LOT I don’t understand!
The moral of this story for me, fellow bloggers, is forget about the damn statistics! Unless a publisher or movie mogul calls you up and offers you a wad of cash none of this is consistent enough to mean much! Of course, it is nice that there are some numbers there!
How about you?