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Blog traffic comparison

Via Atrios, I see that TTLB has a new feature, which is a ranking of blog traffic based on Sitemeter statistics. There are numerous caveats that come with this – not everyone uses Sitemeter, not everyone makes their stats public (both of which Bear mentions), and Sitemeter’s “average per day” number refers only to the last seven days – but given that there is no single accepted standard for monitoring traffic, I’d say Bear’s done a nice job.

I’ve always had a password on my Sitemeter stats, for reasons that I no longer recall. Given that, and given that I’d have just missed Bear’s top 100 with my current numbers, I’ve reset the security level on my stats back to Normal, meaning that they’re visible if you care to look.

Here’s a hypothesis: People who do much better in the traffic rankings than they do in the Ecosystem have a lot of non-blogger readers who bookmark their site, while those who do much better in the Ecosystem than in the traffic rankings have expended a lot of energy getting other bloggers to link to them. Getting other people to blogroll you is certainly a way to build traffic to your site, but some links are worth more than others. It’s not necessarily the highest-traffic sites that send the most traffic your way, either – I find that on the average, I get the most regular traffic from blogs I read every day. Of course, the initial listing is affected by the sites that don’t have public Sitemeter stats or otherwise got missed this time. As was the case with the resurrected Ecosystem, we shouldn’t draw any broad conclusions until we’re sure all of the data is in hand.

So, am I overly obsessed with this sort of thing, or is this normal blogger behavior?

UPDATE: Whoa! In the comments, I noted that I see almost no search engine referrals in my Sitemeter stats, though I see plenty of them in the report that my web host provides. Jeff Cooper solved the mystery for me – Sitemeter only shows referrals for pages that have their code on it, and my archive page didn’t have it. I went and added it in, and boom! Many Google and other search engine referrals. Now for the next question: I presume that these used to be “unknown”, rather than being totally new referrals. Is that true?

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7 Comments

  1. Jordan Barab says:

    I am similarly obsessed with stats, although I fall into a slightly different category. I get a relatively small number of hits from links. Somewhere around half of my hits come from searches and the other half from bookmarks.

    But then my Blog (Confined Space: http://spewingforth.blogspot.com/) is probably more “fact” oriented than most, as in addition to providing news and opinion related to workplace safety, I also provide resources. But it is interesting to compare with other Blogs (such as this one) that get virtually no traffic from searches.

    By the way, I got to this via a link from Suburban Guerrilla

  2. Funnily enough, while this blog gets almost no Sitemeter-listed referrals from searches, my old Blogspot blog got (and still gets) a boatload of them, as you can see. I know that I get search hits – it’s clear from my host-provided stats as well as from the oddball comments that pop up in old posts – but for whatever reason, Sitemeter doesn’t show most of them to me on this blog. Go figure.

  3. Jeff Cooper says:

    Charles, do you have the Sitemeter code in the template for your archive pages? I didn’t see the little Sitemeter logo in a quick look at your archives. Sitemeter will only record hits to pages that have the Sitemeter code. That might account for the failure to record hits from Google.

  4. Jeff, I didn’t realize that. I’m adding the code to my archives now. Thanks for the tip!

  5. Jordan Barab says:

    One more issue of interest. While Instapundit gets about 42,000 hits every day (roughly 41,950 more hits than I get on an average day) my average visit length is over 3 minutes per visit, while Instapundit’s is only 26 seconds. Also, I get almost 2 pageviews per visit, while he gets only 1.3. So there!

    I’m not sure exactly what significance this all has except that people seem to be taking more time to read my blog than his (although this has something to do with mysterious the way Sitemeter counts time.)

  6. Jordan Barab says:

    One more issue of interest. While Instapundit gets about 42,000 hits every day (roughly 41,950 more hits than I get on an average day) my average visit length is over 3 minutes per visit, while Instapundit’s is only 26 seconds. Also, I get almost 2 pageviews per visit, while he gets only 1.3. So there!

    I’m not sure exactly what significance this all has except that people seem to be taking more time to read my blog than his (although this has something to do with mysterious the way Sitemeter counts time.)

  7. Alex says:

    My understanding is that Sitemeter lists time as 0 if you just go to and stay on the home page. So I think their time stats should be taken as meaningless.

    One more point on meter/ecosystem discrepancies: the ecosystem treats all links as equal but, in terms of generating traffic, they are far from equal. You can have a large number of blogroll links from smaller blogs that are worth less than a single link from a popular blog.