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A Story about the Importance of Checking your Blog’s Stats

Robert Blum emailed me this morning to let me know of a post he’d just written titled Four Weeks Of Blogging where he took the idea of my 18 Lessons I Learnt Blogging and did his own version after 4 weeks of blogging. While Robert might not have been blogging seriously for long some of his lessons are great.

Of particular interest is his lesson of starting to track his blog’s stats more. The realization that he made when he did this was that 45% of his traffic was coming from one post.

My Story – I remember in my very early days of blogging having this same realization on a new blog I’d just set up at what was once a photolog where I was posting some pictures taken on an overseas trip. The blog was called ‘Visually Speaking’.

I had grand visions of the blog being followed by friends and family wanting to see my photography. I also posted a short review of the camera I was using at the time.

The interesting thing was that after a few weeks blogging there I checked my stats and found that my photos pages had had absolutely NO page views but the mini camera review had had quite a few people surf in from Google – around 20 people were coming to it every day.

A light went on in my head and I began an inner dialogue that went something like:

‘If 20 people come to 1 camera review – how many people would come to 100 camera reviews?’

At around the same time I discovered AdSense for the first time and I began to see the potential in blogging to pay for my ISP costs and maybe make a few extra dollars on the side.

It was then that I transitioned my photolog into a Digital Camera Reviews Blog – my first blog with an income stream and one of the largest one’s that I run today.

It’s a blog where I follow what is being written around the web by the many many digital camera sites and condense it into a different helpful form. The site is read by between 12,000 and 16,000 unique visitors per day and is well regarded by the sites that it links to and quotes from as a result of the high levels of traffic it sends to those sites.

The moral of the story is that if I’d not tracked my stats and had the realization that that one page on my site was generating most of the traffic I’d probably still have an unvisited photolog and would probably never have discovered how blogging could actually become a full time job.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Paul says:

    I find from looking at detailed stats that visitors don’t search the way I do. I would never have imagined people actually search on some of the terms I see.

  2. What really irks me is Google’s Image search. My web tracker gets the search terms from the referring page, and since Google opens their image results in a frames-based window, I never get to see the actual search terms. Most of my hits come from Google images and I have no way of tracking why my users got the results that they did. I do, however, know that I have both the third and fourth image result for “hitting the bong” on Google Images, and I think I’m fourth or fifth on “Leiden Canal.”

    But since most users find my site via google images, I’m losing a lot of potential regular visitors because I have no idea how to give those people what they want.

    Any suggestions?

  3. amtsleiter says:

    Thats funny. My most favorite article is the “about me” page. How many “about pages” can a site sustain ;-)

  4. Baz L says:

    I know this is completely off context and I hope nobody shoots me but does anybody else’s browser crash when going to the “Four Weeks Of Blogging” post?

    I’ve narrowed it down to a Javascript error. If I disable Javascript, all is fine, but if I don’t it crashes. Both on IE 6.0 or whatever comes with Windows XP and Firefox 1.5.

    Again, sorry for the off context post.

  5. Darren Rowse says:

    Pink Eyed Jim – yes that’s a problem many have. Not sure what you can do about it.

    amtsleiter – hehe – call it the ‘about blog’

    Baz L – I’m not having that problem here on Firefox 1.5

  6. hafiz says:

    am having the same problem with Pink Eyed Jim; google images is the one supplying my traffic.

    The thing is, most of my traffic goes to my old entries, cached entries from google, entries i did about a year ago, my old blog which doesn’t exist anymore. I really want to discard all that and make sure google crawl to my new blog at the same address as the old ones.

    how can i do that?
    any suggestion?

  7. JT says:

    This is key to success in blogging. Find out what is getting you results and cater to that. Trying to be all things to all people in the blogging world is tough.

  8. BlogMoney says:

    hafiz, I think the best way to get google to crawl your site more often is to get more people to visit. Of course that’s everyone’s goal, so that’s probably not too helpful. You should also check out Google’s “sitemap” feature, where you can submit an xml file telling google what pages are on your site. I found a php file for wordpress that would generate a continuously up to date sitemap. I bet there are similar plugins for other blogging platforms. I think you can also submit an RSS feed, but check on that.

    If you’re getting a lot of hits on pages that don’t exist anymore, they’ll probably go away as google tries to recrawl them. If you want to do something useful with these hits, however, you can set up redirects to send visitors to a different page. I recently changed the structure of one of my blogs, but I set up redirects using Apache’s mod_rewrite to send people to the right page if they came in through an old link.

    Cheers,
    Gary

  9. hafiz says:

    Thanks gary..

    Yeah, i did set up a redirection telling them this page doesn’t exist anymore and what other options they can choose. And also, installed a WP google sitemap plugins too.

    Maybe i just have to keep on blogging; writing excellently and make sure readers enjoy reading my entries. They can be a great help bringing great traffic to my blog.

    I’ll keep y’all updated. thanks again ;)

  10. jon says:

    Pink Eyed Jim,

    I wrote a post on my site about a solution to your problem, there is a simple javascript you can add to your page that will ‘break’ the frame from Google images or any other site that tries to frame your page.

    Google Images Tip

  11. Sarah says:

    great but you have just been spamming google with all thoughs review one you write nothing yourself, anyway if google don’t mind i guess thats all the matters go on you for find this trick.

  12. Jon .. I was just going to post that tip you made as I was reading down the comments of this post .. that post of yours was great and I added that script to my own blog immediately and even noticed slightly increased traffic as a result .. Even if I didn’t, at least I know its not that I’m losing traffic to the image searches… I highly recommend that others do the same… For testing, you can even see my example to show it works :-)
    http://images.google.com/images?svnum=10&hl=en&lr=&c2coff=1&q=Maxxie+sophie&btnG=Search

    Thanks for that, eh? /// PS: HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!

  13. Thank you very much for all tips and inspiration in 2005.
    Happy blogging and a merry xmas!

  14. Steven Ables says:

    Great article !! very informative !

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