Thursday, July 22, 2010

Diagnosing Problems With Access To Your Blog, Using The SiteMeter Visits And Page Views Histogram

If you are observing a problem with accessing your blog, and you report your problem in BHF: Something Is Broken, there are several details which can be very useful when you report your problem.
  • Is the problem periodicity constant, cyclical (predictable), or intermittent (un predictable)?
  • Is the problem scope universal (affecting all of your readers), partial (affecting some of your readers), or local (affecting you only, or maybe you and a few neighbours)?
  • When did the problem start?

If I am one of the helpers who responds to your question, and who tries to help you solve your problem, I will probably be asking you some or all of the above questions. These are standard questions, which should be used to diagnose any problem involving blog availability.

If you are going to answer the first two questions objectively, you will need some tool for measuring the periodicity and scope of the problem. Here, the best tool that I can recommend, for measuring anything other than a constant and universal outage, would be the SiteMeter histograms of "visits and page views".

Like any medical measurement, such as an EKG chart, a "Visits and Page Views" chart will show peaks and valleys over hourly, daily, and weekly periods - even with no problem active. If you periodically observe your visitor counts, when there is no active problem, you'll know what the normal page views / visits figures are - and you'll be better able to see the effects of an active problem.

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