Why I don’t worry about blog stats, not even a little bit

I don’t obsess over this blog’s traf­fic stats. Doing so would be an exam­ple of kick­ing my own ass.

This graph is unim­por­tant.

So while I use both Google Ana­lyt­ics and the Word­Press Stats plu­g­in, I don’t care a whit about the num­bers. I don’t even have to check them to know that they are mean­ing­less; they’re close enough to zero that they might as well be. (Words I’ve nev­er spo­ken: “I had 12 pageviews today, up from 10. High and to the right, baby!”)

I can’t sep­a­rate bot traf­fic from human traf­fic, and for all I know, I’m prob­a­bly respon­si­ble for some inci­den­tal pageviews… at least if I hap­pen to load pages when not signed in to Word­Press. And why should I care about pageviews, any­way? It’s not like I’m look­ing to sell ads.

So why do I con­tin­ue to use not one, but two solu­tions to not give me num­bers? For the qual­i­ta­tive data. I can’t get enough of those.

My two favorites are as fol­lows: refer­rers and search terms (which are, them­selves, refer­rers, any­way). Both of these give me infor­ma­tion that is actu­al­ly use­ful, right now. Search terms tell me about a case where some­one was look­ing for some­thing and found my post’s title and/or sum­ma­ry promis­ing enough to actu­al­ly click through. And refer­rers, clear­ly, show me who (if any­one) is dri­ving peo­ple my way.

(Even in my past life on Mul­ti­ply, I hooked my account up with Site Meter’s free ser­vice to see if they could show me any insight­ful stats. I took a look through what they offered and found that all I real­ly cared about were the refer­rers… which were, more often than not, hilar­i­ous. Web brows­er, OS and screen res­o­lu­tion can be inter­est­ing for see­ing how my vis­i­tors stack up against Web users as a whole, but what am I going to do with that sort of insight? Fix IE6 CSS issues? Ha.)

The qual­i­ta­tive data that these ser­vices col­lect from my blog have shown me that peo­ple have found my post about the crap­py Viv­i­tar Clip­shot, some even won­der­ing if it’s OS X‐compatible. (Hint: it isn’t.) A bunch of dif­fer­ent search terms brought peo­ple to my logo/visual puns post. And one search that didn’t even log­i­cal­ly match up with con­tent I’ve post­ed, recent­ly learned words reap­pear­ing, gives me a great idea for a future post!

Should I be wor­ry­ing more about appeal­ing to the mass­es, or about cre­at­ing the sort of con­tent that peo­ple who actu­al­ly do vis­it are inter­est­ed in? That’s easy. The search­es and refer­rers have shown me that (please cue the schmaltzy music) I’ve touched people’s lives… even if I didn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly give them any­thing of val­ue, and per­haps even wast­ed their time with con­tent that wasn’t rel­e­vant to their inter­ests. I made a dif­fer­ence!

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