I've been wanting to write this post for a very long time (since the middle of last year), and I figured that I might as well write it before another wave of crazy things hit my way!
So! If you'd stuck around for a very long time (by that I mean like more than a year), you would have noticed that sometimes, I do an oddball entry that doesn't seem to fit in anywhere on this livejournal, and nothing can be more 'oddball' than this entry http://thoughtsramble.livejournal.com/15615.html on the different widgets I've been trying out to count my hits and uniques. I knew it didn't fit, but I had been playing around with about five sites, and I was really eager to share with whoever was reading it. Turns out that the information was useful, at least to some, and even though this entry has, for some reason, attracted lots of spam comments (with varying content, but most with rubbish urls) I'm still glad I wrote it.
Thus today, I'm going to share a little more of my thoughts/experiences on somewhat the same topic! My knowledge is very limited, and I welcome anyone who wishes to correct me:D
For every hit counter out there, there is probably the option of whether you want it to jump by hits, pageviews, or uniques. Now, hits are almost completely useless, because it generates much more numbers than the reality. Take for example, Site A has x images and Site B has 10x Images on one page. One visitor goes to both sites, and ta-da, Site B will most probably see a greater number of hits as compared to Site A. And nothing can be done about it, which is why the general opinion out there is that hits are useless. You can't really judge how many visitors you have based on the number of hits.
Next, we have 'page views' or 'page loads'. Page views are, in my opinion, nice to look at, but may or may not be the number that you are looking for. Say for example, that one visitor comes to your site for the first time, and discovers many entries that he or she is interested in. (Let's say it's a she). She loads 9 entries, and may or may not read through all of them. This will generate a number of 9 page views for just 1 visitor. This is good because other than a nice fat number, you can also tell which pages are the most interesting to your readers, and a site that has so much content to interest your readers is always très bien.
However, if you are looking out for more accurate information as to just how many visitors your site has attracted, 'uniques' is the thing you are looking for. If your site has 10 entries of 10x Images, and a visitor comes along, yeah you will have a great number of hits, and 10 page views, but only 1 unique. The number may be much more humbling, but it is, overall, the best way to judge the number of visits your site has attracted.
The widget that I've been using has been really satisfactory so far. I don't keep track of whether the counter jumps accurately, but the information translated back into my account is really easy to understand. I'm not sure if it's just me, but I'm pretty sure that for some sites, 'hits' probably mean something different, just like the one I'm using. There is a function to tell you which are your most popular pages and how many hits they have gathered. In that situation, I guess 'hits' takes its most literal form, i.e how many people have clicked on that particular page. The widget also allows you to change the setting such that you choose the most suitable time lapse in between each pageview for it to be counted as a unique. (So let's say maybe your visitor has to visit 10 hours later, for he/she to be counted as a unique visitor again. The site I use actually recommends 1-6 hours.).
I find that both pageviews and uniques are my best way of judging my livejournal. I like to know that many of my visitors don't just come for one type of recaps. They open up other links, other cuts etc which interest them, and that is nice to know, because it probably means that your site has much information with varying contents. However, sometimes, even pageview numbers have to be taken with a pinch of salt. If your site has images that make the page difficult to load, chances are that your interested readers will refresh a couple of times for the images to load, and you will have an inflated number. So to me, when number of pageviews was reflected by different entries the visitor has read, it's fine, but you can never tell exactly when those paegviews are 'refreshes' or truly different entries.
So I depend almost entirely on the number of uniques!(: But you know what, I still love comments the most. Hits, pageviews, uniques are just numbers after all, and they don't even reflect much of whether someone is that interested in your site. She could be skipping every ten lines of your recap that you so painstakingly wrote, and you would never know, but comments, ah, those are the best things to know whether someone is really interested. That's how I feel anyway, but I still appreciate all you guys out there, silent readers or not~
All right, I'm sorry that you guys have to read such a long entry and I hope that it's at least useful to some of you!(:
True, that’s why I said I like using pageviews for tracking what entries are the most popular(: Just that very often, I find these numbers off because of the huge possibility of refreshes, especially with screenshots/whatever images that the recaps have to load.
I don’t use Google Analytics because I’m such an IT noob I gave up installing the code haha. I tried Google Adsense once, but I was banned because of something I didn’t even do (supposed inflation of clicks).
Livejournal offers stats which I don’t really believe in. There’s no way only 20 uniques can generate 600 pageviews or whatsoever. So I depend mainly on my widget, which gives me enough info like uniques, page views, popular pages, recent pageload activity etc.
I don’t think that’s possible either. I have visits and unique visitors. Those are nice numbers to have but they don’t really impact what I do with my blog. If I find I’m recapping something that only gets six pageviews it might be pointless to recap. Comments definitely matter the most though. I love comments!
I’m not that worried about people refreshing a page and getting another pageview. I wouldn’t say it’s that big of an inflation though. I also like whos.amung.us knowing who’s on your site right at that moment is nice and a good indication if your site is down. It also checks what people are copying from your site, which is really interesting.
I’m not sure I’m even making sense. I’m so tired.
Yeah we love comments, don’t we:DDD And like you, I love it when I see comments from regular readers.
Haha, I must admit that I’m a really perfectionistic one (You could say it might be my Horoscope, but if you don’t believe in that, then let’s just settle at that’s my personality) so I feel weird looking at a certain number and I start thinking if a portion of them are refreshes. (Say 600 pageviews for a certain entry. 300 load the page one time, but 150 of them refreshes, so it should be 450 pageviews, but we see 600) But yeah I’m just being anal:/
Oh wow it looks interesting; checking it out now!
Aww! Go sleep!! Shoo, stop staying on the computer:D
Oh but one thing I don’t like about the widget I use, is that I can’t view how many pageviews this certain entry has from the point it was posted. Since I use a free account, I only have a log of 500 hits, so that’s all the information I get. But it’s still a pretty good gauge as to which entries are most popular.
Hehe, and guess who just gave up installing the whos.amung.us code? I swear that I don’t hate IT, but it seems like IT hates me. I’d installed the tracking code of Google Analytics, and nope, they couldn’t detect the tracking. Now I try installing the whos.amung.us code, and it doesn’t appear. Oh well~~~