Close
Close

Keeping your Blog’s Statistics Accurate

Jonic writes a post well worth reading, especially for new bloggers, at Are you skewing your own website stats?:

‘Almost everyone who has their own website loves checking their stats to find out how it’s doing, especially those of us who are in the business of blogging. For some it can be a method of boosting ones ego, for others it can offer the idea to set them up with better performing sites. Nearly everyone who operates a website does it. It becomes something of an addiction, and some people will often check their stats a number of times a day. But are you rendering your own stats useless?’

I know when I first started blogging that my own viewing of my blog definitely skewed my statistics. It probably doesn’t really matter in the scheme of things (and on highly trafficked blogs the skewing would be pretty insignificant) but if you love your stats and want them to be as accurate as possible Jonic’s post might help.

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.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Comments

  1. Nick says:

    I know I was skewing my statistics until I learned how to block my own IP from the stats. It’s a good suggestion to find out how to do that.

  2. eSearing says:

    I hit my site from coffee shops, my day job, and home. Blocking all the ips was not likely until I found statcounter.com. It even shows me the local ip where I am at so I can block those. so before I edit my site I block my current IP.

  3. Kevin says:

    I’ve definitely seen this happen to my Adsense statistics as well as my host tracking stats. I just kind of mentally take this into account now when I’m looking at the stats, and I only try to hit my site if I really need to (checking new posts, etc.).

  4. Most stats packages have ways of blocking IPs. I haven’t bothered, I just take it into account mentally as Kevin said.

    This only applies to my less popular sites—once you get to the 1000 visits/day level or so, the 20-30 pageviews you generate yourself become statistically insignificant.

    I’m surprised the post didn’t mention the MUCH BIGGER thing that skews statistics on low-traffic sites: robots. GoogleBot, MSNBot, and their less reputable spambot counterparts will contribute tons of traffic to a site if it’s well linked, and when your site is new the bots can literally be 90% of the traffic. 75% of the time when I see what appears to be a really good day on a new site’s statistics it’s just a major GoogleBot visit.

    Looking at one of my new sites (120 visitors a day) GoogleBot is the single biggest IP source of traffic, followed by crawl.bloglines.com, then my own IP, then MSNBot.

    Getting all of those excluded from statistics is tough, and I generally don’t bother. But it’s something to watch for.

    (If you’re using a JavaScript-based statistics system like Google Analytics, this doesn’t apply since the bots don’t do JavaScript.)

  5. Yea I try not to click so many times on my own content but if I have to I dont’ worry about it. I know roughly what my activity is and keep that in mind. I find robots skew my stats more than I do.

  6. Jonic says:

    I maybe didn’t make it too clear in the article that I was offering a remedy for the kinds of stat packages that require the inclusion of (usually) a little Javascript to allow them to record stats…

    As Michael mentioned the biggest skewers of stats are of course the bots… But as he also mentioned bots don’t register with Javascript based stats systems…

    Statcounters IP blocking function works really well, but I didn’t find their package to be particularly good, and I certainly wasn’t going to pay to get things that other packages offer for free…

    As for the stats becoming insignificant: very true, but I’m a perfectionist :)

  7. Ehanson says:

    This code will come in handy in the future.

    I check my statistics often but always wonder how many hits are actually unique and how many are my own. It is especially frustrating for new blogger’s because of low traffic levels.

    Thanks for sharing.

  8. Bart says:

    This is a bit of a tangent, but you also want to avoid decreasing your AdSense CTR by viewing your own website. I’ve modified my WordPress templates to not display AdSense in the preview window (avoid the AdSense crawler from reading your page before you’re done writing!) and for admin users.

  9. Jonic says:

    That sounds interesting Bart… How did you make that happen?

  10. Bart says:

    @Jonic: I couldn’t find a WordPress tag to get the information of the currently logged in user so I had to access the user data directly. Probably not the best approach, but it works:

    wp_capabilities['administrator'] ) {
                    include( 'adsense_bottom.html' );
               }
            ?>
  11. Bart says:

    Dang, WordPress ate my comment. Here’s without markup:

    if( !is_preview() && !$current_user->wp_capabilities['administrator'] ) {
    include( ‘adsense_bottom.html’ );
    }

  12. Jonic says:

    Great, thanks! I’ll have to use that… Especially considering how Adsense can sometimes slow your page load down… It would be handy for that not to happen in the preview which I never use anyway… Maybe if it used DHTML to update it in real time it might be useful…

  13. justin says:

    Its good suggestion to keep ones statistics accurate. I was skewing my statistics until i learned how to block my IP from the stats. Thanks for the idea.

  14. brem says:

    The way I do it, since I’m using different computers is to use a string within my browser’s user agent, such as brem, or something unique to me.

    Then I filter my stats (I use awstats) so that it ignores anything with my signature.

    To change your useragen in firefox, first, go to the About dialog, then copy your current user agent in the clipboard.

    type “about:config” in the browser and hit enter.

    click with the right button of the mouse and create a new string entry called: “general.useragent.override” with the string value of the content of the clipboard, plus your added string signature.

    As simple as that.

    I do that to every firefox browser on any computer I use so that my stats aren’T skewed.

    Pretty clever huh? hehehehehe

  15. Paula G says:

    Great article. I was wondering if there are similar workarounds to exclude your visits (writing posts, QC-ing your page, etc.) from other stats packages like Sitemeter? I am using WordPress….

    While I try to be conscious of how often I check my site — I tend to check it to send people references to previous posts & then of course there is actual composing, managing posts & comments, and viewing your front page to make all is well…and over time it can really add up & skew stats.

    If you or any of your loyal readers know…I’d love to know…

    Thanks…

  16. Razib Ahmed says:

    I check my sitemeter frequently to see from where the hits are coming. I am not concerned to block my own IP. Instead to me, only important thing is what people are searching in net and which keywords are bringing them to my site. I have noticed that from Problogger.net, I get 3-5 hits after each time I post a comment.

  17. CyberWyre says:

    From the very beginning, I knew that accurate stats from your webstie are important to your success. Take a look at this article:

    http://www.cwire.org/2006/03/27/9am-friday-the-best-time-to-blog/

    From analyzing your stats, you can quickly determine the most effective time to post a new blog entry for maximum exposure.

  18. tom sherman says:

    The solution? AdSense publishers should block ads. No, really.

  19. IT IS NOT PECTED THAT PROBLOGGER WILL STOOP TO A ROTTEN LOW. IF YOU USE THE KEYWORDS NEW ERA WISP STATS ON GOOGLE AND PROBABLY ON ALL OTHER SEARCH ENGINES YOU GET A VERY NASTY LISTING RELATED TO NEW ERA WISP AND PIXELS HOMEPAGE 9BOTH OF MY BLOGS. IF YO CLICK ON IT YOU REACH PRO BLOGGER BLOG (NOT NECESSARILY THIS ONE WITH A BOXED CAPTION STATING THAT YOU REACHED THIS BLOG BECAUSE YOU SEARCHED FOR NEW ERA AND PIXELS HOMEPAGE. THE ORIGINAL LISTING STATED THAT THE COMBINED STATS OF BOTH THE BLOGS ARE VERY LOW. FOR PROBLOGGER INFORMATION WE DO NO INFORMATION. YET THE LISTINGS ENJOY PROMINENT POSITIONS IN ALL KEYWORDS. WE OFFER PIXEL RENTING ON BOTH OF THESE BLOGS. OTHER PIXEL SITES MAKE YOU ENTER INTO A FIVE YEAR CONTRACT. A FIVE YEAR 5000 PIXEL CELL WILL COST YOU $5000 FOR THE LIFE OF THE CONTRACT WITH NO GUARANTEE THAT YOUR INVESTMENT WILL PRDUCE TRAFFIC. PIXEL RENTING AT NEW ERA WIISP AND PIXELS HOMEPAGE WILL COST YOU 450 FOR A MONTH. NO FURTHER OBLIGATION. YOU WILL LOOSE ONLY $ IF THERE IS NO TRAFFIC EXCEPT WE’LL KEEP YOUR AD FOR ONE AND TWO MORE MONTHS. PLUS YOUR AD IS INSERTED WHEN RECEIVED BUT YOUR RENT STARTS OB THE FIRST OF THE FOLLOWING MONTH.

    PROBLOGGER SHAME ON YOU FOR NEEDLESS BASHING TO PROMOTE YOUR BLOG. SHAME ON YOU .

  20. aS LONG AS MY COMMENTS WILL BE MODERATED BY PROBLOGGER MAY IN STATE THAT HIS PARENTS MIGHT BE MIGHTY PROUD THAT THEIR SON PROMOTES HIS BLOG BY BASHING PEOPLE OR BLOGS HE DOES NOT KNOW. IF THEY ARE PROUD OF THEIR SON SHA,ME ON THEM TOO.

    WHEN PEOPLE LOOK FOR STATS THEY SHOULD GET STATS. NOT BASHING. I USED TO HAVE TOP SITES STATS. BUT THE TEMPLATE IS DESTROYED AND ONLY THE PIXELS PORTION OF THE BLOG IS INTACT. SO I CAN’T GET THE STATS ANY MORE NOR CAN I POST ANY OTHER CONTENTS. LET THAT BE A LESSONS FOR THOSE THAT BUY PIXELS. THE LIFE OF THE PIXELS COULD BE VERY SHORT. NOT FIVE YEARS. BUT ON PIXELS HOMEPAGE AND NEW ERA WISP THE LIFE OF THE PIXELS IS ONLY ONE MONTH NOT FIVE YEAR. WHY AM I WRITING THIS PORTION OF THE COMMENT RELATED TO THE LIFE OF THE PIXELS. IT’LL BE SEEN ONLY BY NASTY PRO BLOGGER AND HIS NASTY MOTHER.

  21. Darren Rowse says:

    Satish – I am not really sure what you’re talking about but piecing together your angry words it seems that you’re complaining that I rank for the words ”new era wisp stats” in Google?

    When you do a search for that Problogger is ranked in the top 10 or so.

    The page that ranks well for it is this one.

    The reason it ranks well is because you left a comment using those words – not because of anything I’ve done. Read through the comments and you’ll see it’s not me ‘bashing’ your site – you’re the only one who mentioned it.

    I’m sorry if this upsets you but I cannot be held responsible for ranking well for words that you use in your comments can I?

    In terms of me moderating comments – I have a moderation system and when comments come in while I’m asleep (like yours) it takes a few hours for them to be approved. This is to combat comment spam but any legitimate comment gets approved.

    I don’t know why you have to bring my parents into this – they are nice people who love their son. Please leave them out of it.

    If you have any problems with ProBlogger or what appears on this site please email me. You don’t need to resort to this type of comment to get a response. All you’ve done is make me angry and less likely to take on board your concerns.

  22. Zolt says:

    In try not to look at any websites that I’m working on too much except for when I have to and I’m adding new content.

    But blocking you own IP is a good idea if you’re just starting out and not getting many visitors to get an idea of your tru stats.

  23. PCSO says:

    Haha! I’m guilty of this!
    Now I am trying to redo it.
    Thanks for the tips…any stat counter site suggestion?

  24. SEO India says:

    Ya really good advice. Now i follow these tips. Thanks.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] In other news, Problogger and fellow b5er Darren Rowse linked to my article, which was awfully good of him to give some attention to such a little blog (even if I did tip him off, and even if the comments that have been coming in so far aren’t all that impressed), so thanks Darren and a big hello to anyone who finds themselves wandering these halls as a result. You can find out more about me on my about page… [...]

  2. Blogtweaks says:

    More accurate Google Analytics

    Are you frustrated because you cannot 100% trust Google Analytics’ numbers? Well, first of all, forget the idea that there’s such a thing as “100% accuracy” with web statistics – but here’s an idea if you’re using WordPress as a…

  3. jotsheet says:

    AdSense publishers should block ads…

    For purity of stats and to be safe, AdSense publishers should block ads….