Saturday, February 14, 2009

Thoughts on Blog Stats

You know the $10 giftcard? Contest deadline extended till tomorrow because it's Valentine's day today. Enter on the post below this one.

Email still being a bitch.


I see this come up a lot and I just wanted to say that:

Follower count? It's not indicative of a lot. I mean, obviously a blog that has 100 followers is more accessed than one with, say, 10 followers. But if you're worried your follow count is too low or whatever, don't be. A lot of people subscribe via Google Reader, Bloglines, etc. Others still don't even have Blogger accounts. It depends largely on your readership. Also, you have to remember that some people become followers and then never return, which doesn't help at all.

That said, it's nice to have followers, isn't it? :)

Visitor Count vs Page Views: Between the two, a higher visitor count is more valuable. Visitor = person who comes around your site. Page view = number of times your visitors clicked on your site. Some click once (they come on, see your latest update, leave). I've had as many as 191 page views in a minute once, from a single visitor. I'd choose 191 visitors over 191 page views, but in any case, that was awesome. :)

So, if you're looking at page view count and getting disappointed because yours isn't as high as others', look at the visitor count. Some people get visitors who venture on their site a lot, which is nice, but if it's only 25 people clicking around 10 times each (250 views), and you've got 100 visitors clicking around 2 times each (200 views), you're the one who's better off.

What are good stats for a book blog? This keeps getting asked. Honestly? I've never gotten much response on this from publishers. I mean, it seems they'll send to anyone (if they're in the US), even if you get 5 visitors a day. HOWEVER... One publicist from St. Martin's told me she prefers 5,000 visitors a month (see! she used visitors instead of page views!), but it's not like she wouldn't send to anyone with only 1,000. Depends on materials. She said a well-accessed blog has 8,000-10,000 visitors a month (made me happy - I get around 12-14,000 a month!), and that 25,000/month is like a prime advertising space.

Another publicist from Penguin told me she doesn't look really look at stats. She says that since she's active in the YA book blogging community, she'll get an idea of who's popular by how much they get linked, how many comments they receive, etc. So there's that.

Are subscribers important? Never heard anyone give a clear opinion on this, but personally, I think your subscribers are vital. They get every post you make via their feed reader. How is that not more important? They're less likely to miss one of your updates than visitors.

For the record: Followers don't necessarily equal subscribers. A lot of people will just follow your blog in hopes you'll follow theirs in return, or will just follow because they follow everyone because they're like that, or will follow and it means nothing except that they like your blog. So I'd discard those when you're tallying up your subscribers. But that's just me.

Anyway, just my two cents. I'm not an expert or a pro nor did I conduct any proper research on this. Just my musings. Now, I'll go back to reading Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande (thanks, Alea!).


Anonymous said...

hmmm...interesting post on blog stats! I hope you enjoy Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature. I loved it.

Alea said...

Oh hell yeah for the shout-out! Miss you Steph and hope you like the book!

Anonymous said...

Feedburner is a great tool to evaluate subscribers. Remember "followers" is only a blogger thing. I'm on WordPress, so I rarely follow. If I do follow, it's because I want to give the blog author a heads up that I read their blog (through my reader). Technorati is good to evaluate popularity for blog linkage. I agree, more linkage equals more popularity. Interesting to know what the publisher thinks a "well accessed blog is." Makes me happy!

Steph said...

Natasha - It's funny, my Technorati authority or rank or whatever it's called is super low but I KNOW I have more people linked to me than it says I do. (33 is the number, I think.) During Girl Week alone more than 50 people linked to me, so I'm not really sure what's happening there.

Le sigh.

I wish I'd gone to Wordpress instead of Blogger. I hate Blogger. But too late to change it now. >.<


Amee said...

I think getting on USA Today's website proves just how popular and awesome you are. ;)

Anonymous said...

Back in the day I used to be obsessed with statistics. It was a mess! Now I mostly just use them so I know who is linking me and who I need to link back to. If I used them any other way I would drive myself crazy. You get 100 regular visitors, you think, "I could get 200 pretty easy..." It's a sick cycle! Always end up wanting more.

susan said...

Interesting. I've been online for more than a decade now. I'm pre-blog days. I remember listserves. lol I don't put much into subscribers for the same reason you cite for followers: subscribing doesn't mean you're being read. The most important indicator of being read in my opinion are comments. As a reader and blogger, I believe if you're really saying something a reader is interested in, the reader is motivated to comment.

Regarding the new follower option, I think the obvious pro to having this is the reciprocation of being linked. I like seeing who follows because I might find I new blog to visit.

Personally, I like the new blog list feature because like a feed, I am easily linked to updates. I prefer the blog list option because I can access updates from my blog and not have to check my email or toolbar to link.

I also like counters. I am interested in number of hits. Not all bloggers are concerned with traffic or popularity. Many writers simply want to communicate with readers. I blog because I want interaction. The more a reader is reading at your blog says something about content and if you goal is interaction hits rank higher than number of followers. Many readers don't have the follow option.

There are many aspiring writers, poets and artists who simply want to share their work and hope that others like what they do. They are content with a loyal readership no matter what the size. For these bloggers, being read trumps numbers.

For the record, I spend way too much time online. It borders a second job. I don't subscribe to blogs but I do follow or otherwise link (I manually created menus before the coding was available at a click). Blogs I enjoy, I read almost daily. And I comment- a lot. One of the biggest advantages of a blog versus a traditional website is the ability to interact with the blog writer. This is hugely attractive to me as a reader. And bloggers who consistently and promptly respond to comments are blogs I frequent the most. If a blogger doesn't bother to respond, I typically lose interest or at the least, visit less frequently.

Anonymous said...

Nice info to know. :)

Happy Valentines Day, Steph!

Lenore Appelhans said...

If I follow your blog, I see every post you write. Reading it is another matter, so use your title and first few lines to make sure I know your post is worth reading.

I also like to click on the follower icons I don't know on other people's blogs - I find a ton of new blogs that way. Following is useful to me. But of course, not everyone is like me.

Strange thing with analytics has me getting more visitors than site meter does. Who to trust?

Adele said...

This was fascinating, I only recently got site meter and am absorbed by it.

H said...

I agree with Lenore about following - I do find it useful, but I also don't think it's a good indicator of how popular your blog is. As the Penguin publicist says, the best blogs are the ones that everyone just knows.

Amy said...

I have a hard time believing your technorati authority is only 33. That can't be right!

I have 5 times more subscribers than followers, so while it's a nice little feature, it certainly isn't conclusive!

Anonymous said...

Blog reactions is different than your authority. For example, my blog reactions (number of incoming links) is 1,300. My authority is 221. My rank is 15,826.

According to Technorati:

Technorati defines Blog Reactions as the number of links to the blog's home page or its posts from other blogs in the Technorati index. A subset of blog reactions, Technorati Authority is the number of unique blogs linking to this blog over the last six months. The higher the number, the more Technorati Authority the blog has. To see reactions to specific posts, you can find them listed on Technorati post pages.

So your authority is the number of "unique" (meaning different) blogs that link to you, where as reactions is the total number of links. Or at least, I assume I'm reading that correctly.

Steph said...

Natasha - Yeah, exactly. On Girl Week alone I had over 33 people linking to me and my stats turn up a LOT of different referrals, from different blogs, so that number is not only waaaaaaaaay inaccurate, it's baffling. I've emailed them and got no response. So I'm just leaving it. What else can I do?


Anonymous said...

Hmm . . . I'm not sure. This is some info that I found:

It mentions that it's a ranking for just the last six months, so authority can rise or fall. Also, it mentions that the blog who is linking to you may not be having their posts indexed by Technorati, therefore, they aren't counting. Encourage bloggers to claim their blog or ping Technorati. That's all I could dig up for you!

Unknown said...

Thanks for posting this--it was an interesting take on stats. (I just now got to it in my reader, I've had a lot of reading to do in the last few days after finding so many wonderful blogs to read!) Being new to the book blogging community, I've been doing everything I can to drive my stats up!

Kathleen said...

Thanks that was a great post. Although you got me a little depressed with your vists/day numbers. I thought I was fairly well read but I'm nowhere near 8000/day!

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Hey! For some reason, this embedded comment form makes most people click twice before the comment is processed and published. It's not you - it's just that it's a new Blogger feature with kinks and all that. (But I adore it and don't wanna get rid of it!) I removed Captcha to make the process easier. You don't have to rewrite the comments twice; just click on SUBMIT twice and it should work. If not, email me. Thanks! -Steph