Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Fluctuations In Stats Pageview Counts Are More Obvious, To Owners Of Newer Blogs

Some owners of newer Blogger blogs spend time reading their Stats logs, and worry that their "All time" pageview counts don't always go up - they go down, too.
Why do the counts go down? Is there one number, that I can believe?
They don't understand that with Stats, you need to look for trends - not absolute readings. In the beginning, fluctuations are more obvious, and trends are less obvious.

Thanks to the referer spam war, and to normal visitor activity, even the "All time" numbers will go up and down - for newer blogs, which have less genuine and constant visitor traffic. And the constant rise and fall is scary - until you get used to it.

Newer blogs have less established readers, which makes both the periodic referer spam and normal visitor activity generated spikes more visible. With the 4 limited time ranges (Now, Day, Week, and Month), the spikes will "move" in and out of context - and make pageview counts in these time ranges fluctuate. When a spike in numbers "moves in" to a time range, the pageview counts will rise, suddenly. When a spike "moves out" of a time range, the counts will fall, just as suddenly.

With newer blogs, the fluctuations exert a "double whammy".
  1. The fluctuations are more visible, because overall genuine visitor activity is lower. Less readers = less visitor activity.
  2. Worrying over the fluctuations takes time away from working on the blog. Less time working on the blog leads to less blog content, attracts less new readers, and leads to less visitor activity.
More experienced blog owners know to use Stats to watch for trends - not immediate numbers.

The answer is simple, really. Monitor Stats periodically - not constantly. Watch for trends, and know how to interpret the trends. Spend more time working on your blog, because that's where the value of your blog lies.

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2 comments:

Michelle Levasseur said...

So, as a victim of this referer spam, will I get a more accurate pageview count if I only look at the individual posts stats? They seem to not include the spam counts but I am no longer sure of anything to do with stats and my blogs.
Thanks for your time
Michelle

Chuck Croll said...

Michelle,

Stats are accurate, within the context of what they display. You simply need to understand the context.

The individual post stats will show the pageview counts for the 10 most popular posts. With any blog of any significant size, and number of readers, the 10 most popular posts will not necessarily account for all reader activity. And if the referer spam is being directed against any 1 of the 10, that individual post will also show traces of the referer spam.

After you have been using Stats for a while, you will know what referer spam looks like in each display, and you'll know how to ignore it. And eventually, when the blog has enough reader activity, you won't even see the referer spam - it will just be transient noise.