Blog Stats, blog schmats & Google Analytics

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Lots of people are obsessed with blog stats. Advertisers like them. Some bloggers like them. Personally, I find them annoying. They don’t take into account people who are reading your blog via RSS readers like Feedly and Bloglovin’. They also won’t take in your email subscribers. For a blogger like me that has a few different ways of delivering my blog, stats like Google Analytics only tell a small part of the story.

This from Google themselves:

  • Tracking traffic from RSS feeds
    In order for Google Analytics to track data, it is necessary that the Google Analytics tracking code gets executed. Since most RSS/atom readers cannot execute JavaScript, Analytics will not count pageviews that are loaded through an RSS reader. Analytics requires that the user execute a JavaScript file on Google’s servers in order to track that pageview.

Hmm. Annoying.

That said, it’s good to have some measure of who is coming and going on your blog, especially as comments are often not an indicator of how big your readership is.  Stat counting platforms and plugins will give you a bit of a benchmark to gauge your audience – and then you can account for readers who get your blog in other ways on top of that too.

I get some hits from Bloglovin’ but they are clicks through from when I link to myself in a post. Views of your blog on the Bloglovin’ platform won’t show in Google Analytics either.

It’s the same for other readers like Feedly. If someone reads your blog via Feedly – it’s not counted in Google Analytics or other stat counters.

If you send your blog to people via email – that’s not counted either – uh-uh. So you can see why I have a bit of a problem with stat counters. They don’t tell the whole story.

What is counted by Google Analytics and other stat counters (Jetpack is a good one for WordPress!)

Page views:
The number of times users view a page. This will cover ALL page views; so if a user refreshes the page, or navigates away from the page and then returns, these are all counted as extra page views.

Page impressions:
Are similar to page views, but relate to the number of times an AD on your blog was loaded/shown. It’s a commercial measure rather than a reader measure.

Visits:
Google measures your blog visits in increments or ‘sessions’.  A session ends either after 30 minutes of inactivity or when the user leaves your blog for more than 30 minutes.  If a user leaves your blog but then returns within 30 minutes, this return appearance is counted as part of the original visit.

Unique page views:
Google’s unique page view statistic counts all the times the page was viewed in an individual session as a one view; so whether a reader viewed the page once in their visit or ten times, the unique page views figure will be recorded as just ONE unique page view.

Absolute Unique Visitors:
This shows the number of people that visited your site over a period of time. If one visitor comes three times over during that period, that person is only counted once.

Hits:
Each file sent to a user’s browser is a hit – so a post with 5 images would generate SIX hits (one for each image and one for the html file that comprises your blog post) Hits don’t mean a thing, really!

All that said, it’s still interesting to install Google Analytics on your blog. They have a great REAL TIME feature that lets you see the behaviour of people as they enter your blog (where they came from and what they are reading and their locality too!)

How to install Google Analytics on WordPress – this shows a couple of ways!
How to install Google Analytics on Blogger – a video how-to

Are you counting the visitors to your blog? Is it something you want to do?

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