The influence of hits and stats

This blog passed a milestone during Sunday – more than 20,000 hits since I started it on TypePad towards the end of July, according to my TypePad statistics page.

Here are the stats from Sunday afternoon:

Am I pleased? Well, yes, in a sort of quiet-satisfaction way. What non-commercial blog author wouldn’t be after his blog’s been going for just four months? And which includes content that’s niche, not of too great interest to a very wide general audience?

Now I know such stats show minuscule numbers when compared with the number of hits many (most) other blogs get. Boing Boing and Om Malik, for instance, just to pick two names from my blogroll. Or Robert Scoble: he must get at least that number every day, I would guess. In our business communication field, I note that Steve Rubel’s Micro Persuasion shows more than 90,000 hits since he started in April.

A few weeks ago, Mike Manuel of Media Guerrilla published an interesting analysis on the frequency of posts by a dozen PR bloggers including me. Mike’s analysis shows I was the second-highest volume poster during Mike’s measurement period.

So I’m thinking about Mike’s statistics and Sunday’s hits milestone for my blog and asking myself: What does it all mean? Great quantity but what about the quality? And what should I do about it all?

I’ve started looking a little closer at the stats, not so much the ones shown by TypePad but rather the more depth information I get from which I’ve been using only for a few months. What that currently shows is that the majority of visitors comes from search engine results. So therefore, some of the stuff I write frequently shows up in people’s search results, and they come to the blog. Great. More interesting, though, is that over time the stats show increasingly more visitors coming from other site referrals, not search engine results. This includes links on other blogs, links in Bloglines and Technorati, links in RSS readers, etc.The stats also show me things like which pages (posts) are visited, and how long people stay on those pages (presumably, reading the posts).

They also show me that it takes a little while for a blog to become established and get noticed. Content others find worth reading has to be the biggest driver to achieving this.

As for what I should about all this, I decided in July that I would write this blog regularly and frequently on topics that I find interesting and which I hope others do as well, and which I hope stimulate some conversation. It’s a personal blog, but it’s also now an integral part of my online persona, my brand if you will.

So I will continue writing such things. But I will also pay attention to my stats as one way of judging whether what I do write is actually of interest to anyone.

And, to my seven readers, will this approach make you continue to visit? Do you have any other suggestions? Oh, and thanks for clicking so madly to get to that 20K figure 🙂

9 thoughts on “The influence of hits and stats

  1. Congrats Neville, you’ve clearly made a significant contribution to the conversation in a very short amount of time — and these stats, if nothing else, serve as testament to that. I know I personally enjoy reading all your stuff…keep it coming!

  2. I read Nevon first thing in the morning, and since I am generally a crowd-follower, your stats come as no surprise to me. You slap down insight before breakfast, throw in some professional judgement, and by-the-way comment on your life — it’s what I love in all writing.
    But…I’ve been reading you for 10 years now, this month, if memory serves. I first read you on the old CompuServe PR-SIG…
    Keep on keepin’ on!

  3. Allan, thanks.
    I do remember those days of the PRSIG on CompuServe. That’s when a dial-up connection at 1200bps was like greased lightning!
    Hot discussion topics then included what to do with email as a communication tool, how this thing called the web would evolve and how communicators should evolve with it.
    Specifics may change 10 years on but the broad topics don’t.

  4. Reaching 20K

    One of my favourite PR bloggers Neville Hobson reached 20,000 hits to his blog last Sunday. So I checked my stats on Monday night and found out that I had reached 20,000 unique visitors, exactly 20,000. How uncanny. Number of hits was around 26,000.

  5. Norman, you need to put the code somewhere in the template so that it will enable StatCounter to track every single page in your blog.
    If you have the TypePad Pro service level, then it’s very easy as you can directly dive into the template HTML code. But if you have the Plus or Basic (I have Plus), you need to do a little workaround involving a Typelist.
    Here’s what I did that works:
    1. Create a new links Typelist that has a blank title (so that you don’t get a title heading showing in your blog). You still may get an underline showing, depending on the design and layout in your blog template.
    2. When it asks whether you want to add the new Typelist to your blog, say yes (or you can manually do this later).
    2. Edit the Configure section in your new Typelist and select ‘Display notes as text.’
    3. Then, in the Manage section, add a new item and paste your StatCounter code into the Notes section. Don’t add anything else into any of the other sections (Link title and Link URL – leave those blank).
    4. Save and close the window.
    You’ll then need to go into your template configuration (TypePad Home > Your Weblogs > [blog name] > Design > [template name] > Order) and choose where you want the Typelist to appear.
    That’s it. It should all work.
    Hope this helps!

  6. Hey, thanks so much. Up and running. It leaves a little line ( owing to the template I’m using, as you suggested). Not sure how you figured all that out (it’s hardly intuitive), but I’m glad you did.

  7. Glad it helped, Norman.
    I experimented to get this to work. I figured that as you can use Typelists for all sorts of workarounds, it should also work for this.
    And it does!

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