Showing posts with label Visitors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Visitors. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Country Code Alias Redirection, And GeoLocation

Occasionally, we see signs of confusion, from people who understand Country Code Alias Redirection, in general.
I live in Hungary - but I am reading blogs with the ".sk" suffix!
This blog reader knows about alias redirection - but does not understand why he is seeing redirection for Slovakia (".sk"), instead of Hungary (".hu").

Not all Blogger blog owners or readers understand that Country Code Alias Redirection depends upon the ability to determine the geographical location of each blog reader.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

No Visitor Log Or Meter Is 100% Accurate

Confusion about Stats, and referer spam inaccuracy, is expressed, weekly.
You never have a real idea as to how many real visitors view your blog, since these referrer spammers are in fact identified by their name, and their number of visits on the Stats "referring URL" list.
Referer spam inaccuracy is possibly the best known - but certainly not the only - Stats problem, discussed daily in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.

Stats is a controversial Blogger feature, because of various perceived inaccuracies - but even so, is more useful than competing products, because of its unique design.

Not every blog owner realises that all visitor logs / meters provide displays and statistics, which contain known inaccuracies. The fact is, no visitor log / meter can ever be 100% accurate.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Blogs That Interest Inhabitants Of A Specific Country May Use The Webmaster Tools "Geographical target" Setting

People who publish blogs which are relevant to a specific country may be able to focus search engine attention, for their blog, and better target readers in the country in question.

Google Webmaster Tools provides the "Geographical target" setting, which lets a blog owner select a single country. The setting increases search engine attention, for their blog, in the country selected.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Market Your Blog, To Those Who Are Interested

We see many questions in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, about blog content, and (lack of) appreciation by the readers.

Occasionally, people become concerned about activity of the people reading their blogs - why they get so many new visitors (but nobody returns later, to read more), or why the main page is so well read (but nobody reads the archived posts).

In other cases, they wonder why the blog was deleted - even though it had the required warning protecting it - or maybe why the content warning is there. And sometimes, they may wonder why so many people read the blog, but nobody comments on the posts.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Stats Displays Pageviews - Not Unique Visitors

Too many blog owners do not understand the unique capability of Stats - nor do they understand its limitations.

We see the periodic question in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?.
How do I find out how many actual people are viewing my blog?
Stats does not provide unique visitor counts - Stats provides pageview counts.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Visitor Logs Cause Undue Concern, When Visitors Click On Cached Icons

We see periodic concern, expressed in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, over apparent visitor access to blog maintenance wizards, using the Quick Edit icons.
I found this entry, in my StatCounter log. How did this person get access to my blog?
http://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=7834826019588534175&postID=890014875501476492&from=pencil
Was my blog hacked?


This may not be a justified reason to panic, however. One may first wish to check that Stats (or whatever visitor log is in use, in this case) is properly configured, to not track your own activity. The link that you see may reflect your activity.

Even if the visitor log entry in question does not appear to reflect your own activity - even when allowing for the vagaries of geo location, you may still do well to remain calm.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Use Free Online Website Display Services, To Diagnose Browser Related Problems

Look at the Audience display, in Stats. How many different entries do you see, in "Pageviews by Browser" and "Pageviews by Operating System"? Stats lists are limited to 10 entries, each. Do you ever wonder if those lists, like the other Stats lists, should be longer? How do we ever hope to observe our blogs, and see what they look like, for our many different readers?

One of the challenges of publishing a Blogger blog is developing a blog that looks good, on every reader's browser and computer. The number of combinations of operating system times browser brand times browser version - any of which can create a display oddity, when viewing any blog or website - is staggering.

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.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Fluctuations In Reader Activity Level Are Normal

One sign of panic, seen regularly in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, comes from people who spend a lot of time viewing their Stats logs.
My pageview counts are always going up and down. Why is Stats so flaky?
It's good to monitor your reader activity - sometimes this will warn you of a major problem in the Internet, or with Blogger. But keep it in perspective.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

How To Not Get Content For Your Blog

One of the oddest displays of naivete we see, from some blog owners, asking in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, would be
How do I let anybody post to my blog?
These owners have no idea how popular they would be, with spammers, were this to happen.

If you have a blog, and you want to let up to 99 of your closest friends publish their thoughts to your blog, you can setup a team blog, and have fun. Beyond that limit, you cannot - nor should you - go.

Monday, March 05, 2012

What Does Stats Provide, That Third Party Visitor Activity Meters Cannot Provide?

Not all blog owners realise how unique Blogger Stats is, in its design.

Some owners may idly suggest that Stats can easily be replaced by any third party visitor activity log / meter.
Why bother to use Stats? Since Blogger Stats shows referrer spam, it's pretty useless - just use SiteMeter or StatCounter.
They have no idea why Stats was designed as it is, nor what information Stats provides, that no competing product can possibly provide.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Blogger Does Not Censor Comment Content

Periodically, in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, we see a naive query.
How do I report a person who posts nasty things, in comments, on my blog?
And the unfortunate response here is
You can't report unwanted comments. There is no comment censoring agency.
Blogger considers comments to be protected as freedom of speech. Outside of moderation for spam - which is a collaborative activity - comments are up to you, the blog owner, to treat as you please.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Blogger Magic - An SEO Kit Does Not Come In A Box

Occasionally in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, we see the curious and naive query
How do I SEO my blog?
or odder still
What SEO kit can I get, for my Blogger blog?
These people seem to think that
  1. SEO is a magical or mystical process that you do to your blog.
  2. SEO works the same, for all Blogger blogs.
  3. You can buy a thing called an "SEO Kit", for your blog.
Anybody who really believes that you can buy an "Acme SEO Kit" for your blog, read no further. Anybody who truly understands why you publish a blog, read on.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lack Of Referer Spam Leaves Blog Owners Worrying About A Sudden Drop In Traffic

In early February 2011, many Blogger blog owners, who tracked blog reader traffic by using Blogger Stats and Google Analytics, were wondering about blog traffic from mysterious sources, like "bit.ly" and "goo.gl". When informed that it was fraudulent activity, and a type of spam, they thought no more of the problem, and moved on.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

All Shortened URLs Are Not Malicious Content

In the discussion of the Referer Spam problem, we are starting to see the obvious questionWhy does Google just not block all traffic from "bit.ly"?and this does seem logical, at first glance.

Unfortunately, shortened URLs are used for legitimate purposes. "bit.ly", for instance, is used by Twitter, to shorten all URLs used in their tweets. I, personally, have several tweets which lead to various articles in this blog.
Bloggers - Enjoy the community experience - add a Followers gadget! http://bit.ly/4tplWe
This is a tweet which I wrote to point out that Followers is a far more versatile tool when you provide a Followers gadget, rather than requiring your readers to use the "Follow" link in the navbar.

So "bit.ly" inlinks may reflect legitimate traffic from actual readers, and from potential Followers.

The jury is still out on "goo.gl" though.

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Friday, February 04, 2011

Referer Spam Is Needlessly Alarming Blog Owners

Many blog owners, who spend time perusing the Stats "Traffic Sources" display, are finding odd entries there, and are becoming needlessly alarmed. We are seeing several discussions this week, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken about mysterious traffic sources.
What is "goo.gl", and why are they surfing my blog?
and
When I clicked on a log entry for "bit.ly", I got linked to a porn site. I don't want my blog associated with porn!

This misuse of our blogs is not new - spammers have been doing this for years, to trick us into surfing to their websites.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Know Your Commenters

Many blog owners see commenting as a major community building technique in the life of their blogs. Some blog owners want to know more about their commenters, like their names, where they live, what they do for a living, what they like to do in their spare time, and so forth. They see commenting like a big party, where everybody should introduce themselves.

Unfortunately, Blogger native commenting requires no commenter information, beyond the basic authentication used - when we require authentication. And what authentication that we might require isn't going to provide any definitive identity information.

Blogger commenting provides 4 possible levels of authentication.
  • Anyone - includes Anonymous Users
  • Registered Users - includes OpenID
  • Users with Google Accounts
  • Only members of this blog

The top level of authentication - "Only members of this blog" - is applicable to private blogs, where hopefully we knew the blog members in some way, before we invited them to be blog members.

The top level of authentication applicable to public blogs - "Users with Google Accounts" - provides us a Google account name, and no more. The Google account name may be based upon an email address, but that is not a 100% reliable possibility.

The next levels - "Registered Users" and "Anyone" - provide still less reliable information. "Anyone" may include "Name / URL", at the option of the commenter - and only as accurate and useful as the commenter wishes.

If you want any demographic details about the commenters to your blog, you'll need a visitor log, such as SiteMeter or StatCounter. Even with SiteMeter or StatCounter, the accuracy will be limited, and details won't provide you with any personal identification, such as name and address.

The bottom line here is that Blogger Commenting is not going to provide any reliable, and uniquely interesting, identification details about anybody. Anybody commenting on a Blogger blog can rest assured - Blogger supports your ability to comment anonymously, just as they support our ability to publish blogs anonymously.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Some Blogging Problems Are Best Reported To Your Local Police

Occasionally in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, we'll see a panicked query
I'm getting really creepy comments on my blog from someone who claims to know me or my family. How do I ask Blogger to tell me who is posting those comments?
Some of these questions are from people who watch too much television.

When somebody publishes an anonymous comment on your blog (if you allow anonymous comments), that person is entitled to his privacy, and Blogger isn't going to casually disclose his identity, to you. If someone leaves you an anonymous comment on your blog, you are disturbed by the content of the comment, and seriously believe the comment to represent a true threat to you (aka "assault"), this is a matter for your local police department to resolve.

If the threat to you involves content hosted on a Blogger / Google server, you can report such content, using the "Report Abuse" process. If you report the abusive content, you have to leave the matter in the hands of Google, and wait for them to act on the abuse complaint. Google Legal has to determine if your complaint is actionable, or if an innocent third party is unwittingly involved.

Only your local police can protect you, physically - Blogger / Google cannot do that. Contact your local police department, and request protection. Let the police conduct an inquiry, get a court order requiring assistance from Blogger / Google, and prosecute the offender. It's not your job to identify, or confront, the offender. Let the police do their job - and you do yours.

If you don't believe the threat is sufficiently real to require police protection, hire a lawyer, and take the case to the courts.

Short of involving either the police, or the courts, remain calm and use common sense. People who comment on your blog, just as people who publish blogs, are entitled to anonymity - if they choose, and if you permit.

Blogger supports our rights to publish our blogs, or publish our comments, anonymously. Unless someone's use of anonymity constitutes a threat to you - as determined by the local police or a judge - you have no right to violate that anonymity.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Stats And Third Party Cookies

The controversy about "third party cookies" in general, and about Google Stats and their use of "third party cookies" in particular, never ends. Some Bloggers do not yet understand the issue.
I do not allow third party cookies. I do not believe that third party cookies should be involved, at all. Blogger needs a simple setting in Stats that say "Do not track my visits."
And here is another case where people look at a forest, and ignore the trees.

Blogger created a simple setting saying "Do not track my visits.". Since the vast majority of your readers have Internet service that provides a dynamic IP address, the setting is stored on your computer, so your computer can be identified. The setting, stored on your computer, has 2 advantages.
  1. Even with your computers IP address constantly changing, your computer will be consistently identified as your computer.
  2. Since you, reading your blog, contribute but a small amount of traffic against your blog, your readers computers don't waste time loading a script that would do nothing but ask if this computer is the owners computer (and which again, because of dynamic IP addressing, would be inaccurate).

So, the setting "Do not track my visits.", and "This is my computer." are hosted in cookies, stored on your computer. But wait, there's more.

The cookies that say "Do not track my visits.", and "This is my computer.", are created in a script running under "blogger.com". We use "blogger.com" to run scripts that let us setup and maintain our blogs, and control our settings about how we maintain our blogs. We need to trust "blogger.com", and to allow "blogger.com" scripts, that store cookies, to run on our computers.

We (and other bloggers) publish blogs to "blogspot.com" (or whatever non BlogSpot domain we may publish to). Since our blogs contain code which we (and other bloggers) may create and modify, we should not trust "blogspot.com" (or whatever) to the same extent as we trust "blogger.com". We do not allow "blogspot.com" scripts to run, on our computers.

So, we trust "blogger.com", but we do not trust "blogspot.com" (or whatever). Blogger uses multiple domains, to keep our computers safe.

The cookies that say "Do not track my visits.", and "This is my computer.", are created in a script running under "blogger.com", and are read in a second script running under "blogspot.com" (or whatever). These are third party cookies.

If you block third party cookies on your computer, your computer cannot read these cookies. When you view your blog, from your computer, Stats will be unable to read these cookies, and your visits will be counted. Similarly, if you occasionally - or regularly - clear cookies, you'll also have this problem.

This is simply not a problem which Blogger caused, nor is it one which Blogger can fix. This is a problem which you caused - and which only you can fix, when you enable third party cookies, and review your practices for clearing cookies.

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Friday, September 03, 2010

Stats And The "Don't track your own pageviews" Option

The recently released Stats feature, which competes with well known third party products like SiteMeter and StatCounter, has the option to block your own visits from being counted.

This option is required by any serious blog publisher, as anybody who wants to rely upon the accuracy of the visitor meter of choice is certainly going to want to see information about their readers - without the distraction of their own activity.