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.
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.
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.
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!