Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Opinions Wanted!

I'm thinking about adding a hit counter to this blog, to find out for sure if I have fifteen readers or only ten. And I also thought that there are probably other tools that can give me useless data to geek out about (I know I've seen charts and bar graphs somewhere!), which is always desirable.

So I wanted to ask those of you out there: do you have hit counters on your blogs? How did you get them, and how did you decide to go with one over another? (It looks like there are a bunch of sites that will do it for free, and I can't tell how they're different.) Anyone getting more detailed statistics? Is this something that can be done quickly and easily, or will it be some big, complicated project? And is it even worth it in the first place?

Hm. Checking Technorati, I see Antick Musings now has 36 links from 15 sites, and is ranked # 189,100. All of those numbers, I think, are substantially up from the last time I looked, and the links seem to be mostly Itzkoff-related. So I guess the conventional wisdom about the blog world is correct: the way to get a higher profile is to be against things as loudly as possible (and preferably in an entertaining manner, but that's optional). I wonder if there's anything I can take a loud -- but principled! -- stand against this week?


Cheryl said...

I put very little store by hit counters. They don't tell you much at all. What you really want is full-fledged web log statistics, but I doubt that Blogger makes those available to individual users.

John D. said...

My advice on site counters: don't bother.
(1) If it matters, they are considered "bad design" in the world of web page development. At best you'll look like a noob!
(2) They only count page hits, not unique visitors. Most of them will count up just be refreshing the page. Better are web stats that are usually accessible by your web host were you to get your own domain name and hosting plan.

I'm not up on all the latest "traffic tracking" sites and tools, but there are a few I am aware of:
(1) Your bloglines feed subscription at the moment shows 19 users, 7 of them public. (I'm one of the private ones.) So you have at least 19 readers! (Or, me and 18 people who don't read the posts but still subscribe.)
(2) If you haven't, add your site to FeedBurner which will also track subscribers, though the numbers go up and down throughout the day as feed readers request more or less.
(3) You can use sites like Alexa, which shows some stats for your site but again I'm not sure of accuracy or what they mean.

Numbers will vary. For example, SF Signal (at the moment) shows 393 Feedburner subscribers and 115 Bloglines subscribers. Not an exact science – but we do know we have some people looking our way.

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