The Allure of Checking Stats

The Lessons of a New Blogger...

One of the first things I discovered about blogging is that checking stats is alluring. I might even go as far as to call it addictive. When I first started my blog, I put a gadget at the bottom of the page that was supposed to track pageviews. Somewhere in the back of my new blogger mind, I had the idea that if you post it, they will come. So, every little bit, I would come to my blog just to check the stats. Five pageviews! Nine pageviews! Twenty pageviews! I was ecstatic! I thought I was on my way to being a power blogger!

But then I discovered a little message that says, "Don't track your own pageviews." You click on it and it's supposed to put a cookie in your browser so your own pageviews aren't counted in the stats.
"Drats!" I thought, "Probably at least half of those twenty pageviews are mine!"

"But, what's this?" I pondered to myself as I looked at the lines listing referral traffic in the "stats" section. "There are sites referring my blog?"
I clicked to another section and checked out my "audience" - Visitors from Russia! Visitors from Germany! Visitors from several places at the far reaches of the globe! First, I wondered how someone from Russia, Germany, or the far reaches of the globe could be reading my English language blog.
Translators? I've clicked "translate this page" on Google before. "Maybe that's it," I thought.
"Ex-pats?" I pondered. "Maybe my visitors are living a long way from home in a foreign land and just think my blog is down-home, back-home goodness?"

For a brief moment, I was an international superstar. I told my husband, with a smug smile on my face, that I had people from all over the world looking at my blog!
And then I learned the dirty little secret - those sites are "spam" sites. They are not real people. I felt deflated. There were no homesick ex-pats in Russia reading "the drafty doublewide".  No one far away in Germany had read my post about Jingle Bells. And no one in the distant regions of the earth had even glanced at my post on how to defrost a frost-free fridge.

Still, the stats addiction continued. I reasoned with myself that not all the pageviews were referrer spam, and I'd stop by my blog a couple times per day just to look at the numbers on that little pageview counter.

Then, I removed that particular gadget. But not because of my stat checking addiction; I removed that gadget because I started thinking that the two people I'd convinced to come and read my blog would also look at that stat counter. I imagined they'd say, "Poor Kathy! She was excited about starting a blog and the pageview stats haven't gone up at all!"
I wanted no pity. So, minus the pageview counter, and undeterred, I trudged on.

Finally, after some time, I began to get legitimate traffic - real people started coming to read my blog! I was over the moon! Until the traffic picked up and I entered the next phase of stat checking addiction - signing up for Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a wonderful and useful tool, but it also has lots of info to feed one's stat checking addiction. With Google Analytics, you can find out, among other things, which sites referred your blog, you can find out which keywords sent people to your blog, you can find out what country your visitors are from! There are listings for "pageviews," and "unique visitors" and average time people are on your site, and "bounce rates" and "landing pages!" I was in stat checking addiction heaven! For a while.

I started to fret over why I was only having x number of visitors. I read up on "bounce rates" and wondered if mine were too high. My face fell along with the time my visitors stayed on my site.

Then one day, as I stared at my Google Analytics stats, I realized that becoming a successful blogger takes a lot of work, and for one brief moment, I thought about the "delete blog" button.

I took a deep breath and let it out.
I went and got a fresh cup of coffee.
I returned to my blog and with all the determination I could muster I clicked the tab that reads:
"New Post"

To be continued...

Update - Like this post? Visit my blog Lessons of a New Blogger

43 comments:

  1. Don't tell me the Russia page views are spam! Drat! I thought I was on my way to radically changing the world, starting with the USSR. Sigh.

    And yes, page views are very alluring!

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    1. You never know - Putin may be a big fan. :)

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  2. I'm a real person in Germany reading your blog - see you are internationally famous. It's almost disheartening comparing my Google Analytics stats to the blogger stats, so I often ignore the GA for a confidence boost/reassurance that I'm not wasting my time.

    Stopping over form the not mommy blog hop :)

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    1. Thanks for visiting - and making me internationally famous!

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  3. I'm a constant stat/traffic checker too. It is sooooo sad that I spend half my days obsessively mapping each country that heads in my direction.

    I'm also from the not mommy blog hop, and I think I'll be back for a bit more of you!

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    1. Thanks for visiting!
      I admit that I have been looking at my stats again and wondering how long it will take to have a visitor from all 50 US states.

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  4. So then why do you have to have so many pageviews? Are you happy with your blog? Do you enjoy writing it? Then don't worry about lack of pageviews. Who said you have to be successful with your blog, whatever that means. In my opinion is that the most important thing is that you do with your blog what makes you happy and that you enjoy it. I also check pageviews but only out of curiosity.

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    1. Maybe my blog is making me have a bit of OCD?

      Actually I think part of it is that I've become interested in what makes a blog or website successful and what doesn't and I've been reading about "hot spots" and SEO and other things Internet. It's sparked a new interest in me and I'm thinking about taking some classes to learn how to create web pages. I'm finding that I enjoy the blogging but I also like the mechanics of how blogs and websites "work".

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  5. I laughed so hard at this cuz I can totally relate! I know how hard it is when you first start blogging and even over a year later I'm like, "why don't a have a bajillion followers!" I used to check my stats religiously but it just became too depressing. And even though I've checked the "don't check my page views" box, I still have a feeling it's counting my stalking. Basically, I only check what people google that land them on my page cuz that just funny shiz.

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    1. I read your post about "You Googled What?" That was hilarious!

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  6. I am hesitant to admit - I dont care about my stats. I think I check maybe 3 times a year!

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    1. I just looked at your blog and you've got a live stat meter - maybe you're more interested in where the people visited from than the actual numbers?
      If I had a live stat meter on my blog, I'd never get anything done - I'd be checking to see if I really had Russians visiting!

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  7. I can totally relate! I too thought I was a big international hit but then realized they were all bots. And I was very into analytics until...I wasn't. I don't blog for money so bounce rates and keywords are never going to have meaning for me. I just write.

    Keep doing what you're doing and they will come.

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    1. I wouldn't mind making some pocket money from my blog, but I think most people who ARE making money from their blogs are offering people lessons on "How To Make Money From Your Blog!"

      And thank you - I am going to keep doing what I'm doing and hopefully they will come! :) And maybe they will smile or learn something or at least say, "hmmm!"

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  8. I am new, so this felt like a post about me. I don't really care what people will think about my page view counter (that I've written myself), but the fake visitors trying to spam... hey, if the spammers have found you, I think your blog is on a good way to be read by real people!

    (OK, not really.)

    I've seen some strange comments that Akismet marked for me as spam. I googled the first several words and found those same comments on XYZ other sites...

    And I'm reading this from a non-English-speaking country. :)

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  9. All of us have been there, it can be so fustrating. I had the Alexia bar installed for a long time, even though I have no idea what it even does! I really like or liked I guess, the GFC because it had a number attached to it and I could pretend that all my followers were reading my posted each and every day, but now that is going away too. I finally gave up and figured, it folks want to check out what I have to say they will show up. I am stopping by on the weekend non-mommys hop and following via my favorite GFC as well as the rss feed to my Yahoo account. Have a wonderful weekend! :)

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    1. Is the Alexia bar one of things that shows page rank?
      I remember reading a couple of blogs that stated their page ranks - "Page Rank 2 in only 6 weeks!" "Page Rank 1 already!"

      I don't even want to get started in that! :) I'd never get any POSTING done!



      Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. Oh yes, I know that routine very well! But then I remember why I blog (it's not for stats, right?? I think?) It's because it's fun, and I get to connect with other people, like through the Not Mommy hop :)

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    1. That's true - blogging is fun.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  11. I was exactly the same, I would check my stats constantly and wonder why on one day I would have visitors from all over the world then nothing for a week! My number of regular visiters have gradually increased and I'm getting to the stage where I hardly ever check my stats now - I'm too busy reading other blogs instead! I still have the page view counter on my blog but I'm not sure how many hits I've had in the past month. I think it helps that Wordpress have taken the stats off the homepage, so I forget to check them! :)

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    1. I'm starting to think most people go through a phase of stat checking addiction when they first start blogging!

      I understand about getting caught up in reading blogs - I could spend a whole day (or week!) just reading peoples blogs!

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  12. Thanks everyone for stopping by!

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  13. I did the same thing when I started and felt that same urge to scrap it all. Now I look every once in awhile mostly to get a chuckle over the search terms. ;)

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    1. So far the search terms to find my blog have been pretty tame. But there was one that was like just a half a sentence and I've been puzzling over that one. I don't think that half sentence is anywhere in any of my posts. Oh, well, I hope they found what they needed to find here!

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  14. Sadly, after three years, I still obsess. It's sick really. But like Chibi, I love looking at the search terms. It's amazing what weirdness bring people to my blog!

    Stick with it and keep writing!

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  15. I just want my stats to be correct.. Is there anyway to stop those pesky Russian BOTS? I have a counter but am thinking about removing it as I am imbarrassed it is a little off from reality.
    Love this post by the way -- made me smile and think about my own quest for readers~!

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    1. I don't know if there is a way to stop the Russian bots. Just make sure you don't click their links!
      It does seem like the more real readers I get, the fewer Russian pageviews.
      Unfortunately (?), I've now progressed to getting quite a few spam comments - which is a good reason to have your comments set so you can preview them before they get posted. Some of the spam comments are real doozies!

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  16. thanks -- I changed my reader setting to author only for 48 hours and that slowed those nasty Russian bots a bit but they came back 2 days later and I did not click a link... (no more link clicking for me!) thanks again!

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  17. Changing your blog reader setting to author only will never get you any readers!
    Just keep writing!

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  18. FUNNY>> I know .. I know.. but then after 48 hours I turned it back to anyone and now -- no bots from Russia - or at least only a handfull in the past week!! OK - more accurate tracking - I am happy -- I am back to writing.. : ) Loved your Monday Motivation this week -- very true -- In Brazil the people who have nothing are so content -- such a different accent on life here then in the states. Have a great week!

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    1. It's great that you're back to writing. I checked out your blog and I am looking forward to reading more - very interesting and great pictures!

      I'm glad you liked my Monday Motivation!

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  19. I just googled "russian bots viewing my blog" and found yours. It's ironic (in a good way!) that writing a post about not having real visitors to your blog has brought real visitors to your blog!

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    1. I hadn't thought about that! That is funny. :)

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  20. Guess how I got here? I googled "why does my blog get so many Russian pageviews?".
    I've been blogging since February and lately the Russian "visitors" have overtaken the USA's, well most days anyway. I thought that was odd because my flag counter had only registered 8 unique Russian visitors. So they are bots - how disappointing!

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    1. I think everyone goes through the Russian bot problem!
      I've been blogging for little over a year and my Russian pageviews are still way up there!
      Google Analytics is great to use to find out about your real traffic.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  21. Brilliant blog. I'm so relieved I'm not the only one who became a little obsessed with stats only to find out they're not all they seem. When I first started getting Russian 'views' I was really excited (fortunately, my German views are real as I have a mate who lives there and I know he reads my blog). Anyway, when this week's figures were up to 133 Russian views, I started to get a bit suspicious. Could all those Russians really be fascinated by the ramblings of a Welsh hiker? Obviously not! For some months now I've posted the same copy on two platforms - Blogspot and Wordpress - and I've just checked the stats for my more recent Wordpress blog. No views at all from Russia. Now I don't know if that means anything or it's just that the Russian spammers haven't stumbled upon my blog yet but it's making me wonder whether to stick to just the one blog in Wordpress. Will also investigate Google Analytics. Thanks for the thumbs up!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the post! I took a quick peek at your blog and I don't know - the Russians might very well be fascinated by the ramblings of a Welsh hiker!

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  22. I'd like to think so Kathy but I'm not holding my breath. I'm quite pleased with my US views this past week though... please let's hope the ones that weren't you were genuine views too! :)

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  23. I'm a real person who lives in Brazil. I loved this post. It helps explain all my visitors from Russia, China and the Ukraine.

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    1. Hello Robert from Brazil! Glad you enjoyed the post! Thank you for reading my blog!

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  24. Haha! Great post. I found myself here because my blog has 300 and something views but no subscribers and no comments. Things began to smell a little fishy so I resorted to the omniscient Google looking for answers. I wonder now if the majority of these views are from inanimate admirers who think in binary haha...

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  25. I needed this! I have a new blog and I'm guessing all my traffic is from bots. Apparently Blogger can't just track people.

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