Checking Website Statistics

Question of the Month: How do you measure your site’s success? (i.e. doing what you want it to do)

Having owned a site from the world of Geocities back in 1996, and many frequent hiatuses, the world of Web 2.0 is, for the most part, still quite alien to me. I don’t fully understand the sleuth of social bookmarking sites or the function of Google pageranks (other than the fact that it drives traffic). I have slowly transformed my site to work according to certain Web 2.0 standards such as code validation, ensuring that they are 508 compliant – a standard to assure those with disabilities, particularly the blind, can access my site like everybody else.

Regardless of Web 2.0 standards, I measure Nanyate’s success by delving deep into my Statcounter. While most people only look at their unique visitor count, pageviews, and referrals, I find that miscellaneous statistical information can provide key information for blogger-designers like me (and, I presume, most of you too!). For example:

  • Visitor Length – Reflection of your content and design quality

    For me, this is by far the most important number because how long your visitors stay on your site reflects on the quality of your blog content and to a lesser extent, how aesthetically and functionally pleasing your site is. By aesthetics, I don’t mean designing the site with the caliber of NDesign Studio, but just one that I can view without getting a migraine from flashy ads and horrendously tiny text.

    Visitor Length of Nanyate Dot Com

    My visitor length averages at approximately 4 minutes. Since my blog is a niche blog, mainly appreciated by women and personal blogger-designers, having 50% of my visitors stay on my blog for more than 30 seconds is considered pretty good. I don’t quite understand the 20% of visitors that stay on my site for an hour. But I’m grateful. You must really love my site – more than I do!

  • Returning Visits and Feed Subscribers – Barometer of content quality

    Having returning visitors is a sign that your blog is producing original content, and generating interests among others. Unlike visitor length, the percentage is not as important as the actual count. Out of 200 visitors, I have around 50 returning visits and an average of 30 feed subscribers (including comment feed). It means my blog could do better to target more people and expand its niche. But for an almost 4-month old blog, I think it’s not too bad.

    Returning Visitors for Nanyate dot com Feedburner Statistics for Nanyate dot com

  • Browser – Accessible coding for all

    There are so many designers out their fighting about whether to design for Firefox or IE. A simple look at your statistics can show who you should cater for. For me, out of 500 people, 350 Firefox, 100 use IE and 50 uses Safari. The answer? If you want returning visits or make it into design galleries, design for all of them.

  • System Stats – Accessible design for the masses

    Like the browser problem, many people condemn designers for leaving 800×600 resolutions behind. But here is the hard cold facts from my Statcounter: 300 visits from 1280×1024 resolution, 100 visits from 1024×768, 10 from 1152×864 and a measly 5 from 800×600. Do you mean I should jeopardize the ease for 400+ people who have bigger resolutions for the 5 who have 800×600? Of course, I can design sites that have expandable divs, but I don’t think it’s worth the trouble as I’m unwilling to forgo the ‘personal’ part of my personal blog for minor increase in accessibility. (But of course, you may beg to differ.) Besides, with the advent of feeds, they can ignore my inaccessible design for my content, if they wish so. πŸ™‚

I’m not sure how you guys analyze your statistics but I hope I have enlightened a few people. And like I said, I’m not Web 2.0 savvy, so…

…do share your views on how you analyze statistics!

FYI, I am using the free version of Statcounter that can only view the latest 500 visitors’ in-depth stats, which can skew my analysis. Also, I blocked my IP, so statistics provided here do not include my own visits to prevent any further distortions.

P.S. A major update, WordPress 2.5 is planned to be released tomorrow, so be sure to standby for the annoying yellow reminder. I guess not. Regardless, I’m psyched! Can’t wait. The Dashboard looks amazing and is AJAXed out!

  • Hehe, 2.5 is coming out tomorrow? Hehe, I think I may wait a little while to update it, just in case any plugins or anything breaks. LOL.

    Anyways, you don’t use Cpanel for your stats? LOL, just wondering. Hmm… I don’t really look at my stats much, except for the number of hits/visitors per day, and the referrals. =P

    I think your domain’s doing pretty good for it being new and all. =)

  • “But for a 4-month old blog, I think it’s not too bad.”

    That’s a huge understatement. My blog is about 5 years old, but I only have 16 RSS subscribers and even less who care enough to leave comments.

    Web 2.0 is over-rated in my opinion by the way..

  • oh no does that mean i have to update it again… every time i do it via fantastico or something something bad happens…..

    lol… i’m probably one of the 1 hr-ers.. πŸ˜›

  • I know lately, I have just been looking at my stats attempt to track this silly guy who wont leave me alone. I talked to my mother about it and she told me if I really cared about progressing my site into something cool and unique, I would focus on the other visitors. I know my site trackers tell me how many times each unique visitor has come back to my site, how long they have stayed there, and I honestly have to say it’s dwindling.

    I am at the top of the list, then next in line are some cool people from Canada. I cannot identify them by name, it just stick a Canadian flag by the IP Address. I should focus on some original content. Especially my gallery or the resources section. Laziness has limited my ability to be creative.

  • I thought I use a lot of visitor tracking plugins until I read your posts πŸ™‚ haha! Well currently I’m using sitemeter, stats, wp-stats (its another stats plugin) and google analytics! I actually find Google analytics very convenient and easily understood, but it depends so much on flash that if your browser doesn’t support it, you can’t view your site statistics.

    My host uses cPanel and so I have Awstats, but I’ve never looked at it even once! I access my cPanel only to backup my database, heh πŸ˜€

    I feel so ashamed that my blog isn’t blind-friendly! I shall start working on it. And it’s not printer-friendly either! I’m yet to write a stylesheet for the print media. But I guess nobody really wants to print my blog, haha!

  • k

    heh you really put in a lot of effort into your site… unlike me… good effort anyways!

  • Woah…
    I don’t really use SiteMeter, although I have it on my site. I mostly just use Extreme Tracking because although it may have less features, it shows that I have more visitors… πŸ˜› Yeah. Just to make myself happy.

    I never really look at those stats, even when I’m on SiteMeter… I guess it’s because I don’t know where to find them xD

    But I guess those “facts” about your site does make it a whole lot more interesting… =)

  • he he, I had a geocities site too πŸ˜› they had crazy long addresses that were like street names πŸ˜› I had angelfire before that though. Some of my geocities sites are still there, angelfire deleted everything though πŸ™

    I don’t care so much about my blog’s success. I just do it for me and to make friends. I don’t expect people to find it crazy interesting or anything, lol. I’m a pretty bad writer and my life isn’t that interesting.

    With that said, I love looking at my google analytics though (which I highly recommend btw). My favorite is the search terms people use to find my site. Some are so random! Like “retainer pic -fee -lawyer -attorney” lol.

    As for coding for 800×600, I couldn’t agree more. It bothered me, maybe five years ago when 50% of my visitors still used 800×600, but now only 3.86% do. My main blog still looks good in 800×600+, but I think any new designs I make, like for the new site I’m working on, will be done for 1024×768+. If you have a huge resolution like 1680×1050 which, wow 4.27% of my visitors have, then even the expanding divs are just gonna stretch too much. Though with my 1280×768 res, usually my browser doesn’t take up the whole screen, because I know most people code for 1024×768.

    anyway, good blog. I like reading about what others think of their stats πŸ™‚

    and 2.5 is coming out??? but, but, I just upgraded and installed a new blog X( Guess I should install instant upgrade for that. *sigh*

  • That’s some interesting and good statistics still for a personal blog right?? Where did you get the statistics?
    Wow, I can’t believe 2.5 is coming!! I haven’t even fully explored 2.0 yet.

  • great post. man, If I had visitors staying over an hour on my blog, I’d freak out! a bit scary and stalker-ish, no?

    or maybe they were viewing your site and then went off to eat their lunch and left your site on screen until they came back?

  • Nice post. I use the statistics that my host provides. They are really good and let me know everything that I want to know. Though, I usually just take a quick look on the unique visitors and site referrals.

    When it comes to designing & coding a layout I hate IE! Haha, I simply hate it, but I still try to get it to work too. Like you, I don’t really care for the 800×600 resolution anymore.

  • I am using statcounter too for my new blog. But i still not used to it’s menu and ability.

    My old blog use sitemeter, sometimes i am thinking to back on sitemeter as it is easier to use.

  • This is the most visited webpage on my server ever since registered the domain. Although I love Monty Python and would welcome any fan to my site, I fear that that page is used/viewed mostly to fourteen year olds whom I have no wish to cater to.

    But what statistics are you using? StatCounter? How is that? I have the Webalizer, which is very very generous regarding stats/visitors, and Google analytics, which is very accurate but invests heavily on goals and google-related stats.. Good thing with Analytics is that you can add your own IP to a filter to remove your own visits:)

  • With my blog, I don’t remember the last time I checked my stats. I think at some point it was taking away from me actually improving them.

    With my other sites, I use Analytics and tend to look at similar stuff to what you lined out here. good post!

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