Thursday, August 9, 2012

What's in the Numbers?

Today I promised to share what I've learned about the stats for this place. I did not promise to share the actual stats. They're nothing to write home about, folks. They have ticked up slowly and steadily over the past five years, which is nice and really all that I expected. 

I'm not building an empire here. I just want a "home away from home" where I can share some thoughts (though I've learned which ones not to share), share some recipes (though there are many who do that so well), share some crafts (ditto), share some photos (ditto), practice writing skills (oh do I need practice), and enjoy getting to know people from many different corners.

Remember, these points are what I have learned here. I have no idea if they would be what you learn there. So we're off —

1. Titles must not only be informative, but catchy. We hear it all the time and it can be proven. When I don't have a good title, my stats drop. I can tell that it's going to happen and sometimes still can't do any better for myself than some of the lame titles I've used. I think about titles a lot. There are some of you out there who remember that $ex in the Garden post. Ahem... Well, let's just say, I had a lot of visitors that day and learned a good lesson.

~A custard dish filled with juicy, cold watermelon and eaten using a pickle fork because pickle forks are sharp~

2. A pretty picture is far better than a "keeping it real" one, especially if it's first up. I try to plan accordingly. Not pretty? Not as many people. Period. Just think what would have happened if I reversed the order of the photos today.

3. There is no correlation between number of visitors and comments. I have had very high numbers with low comments and, alternately, high comments with low visitor numbers. We can let it go at last. I'll say it again—just because there are a lot of comments does NOT mean that there were any more visitors than usual and vice versa.

4. Some days of the week are best for visitors. My best days? Tuesdays and Thursdays. I don't know about your best days. Saturdays used to be horribly bad and are now in third place.

5. Variety really is the spice of life. This is true for me across the board and for all areas including word count. When I use a lot of words and no pictures (or few pictures), I'll have more visitors than if I use a lot of words AND a lot of pictures. I try not to do two posts in a row that are about the same length or that have about the same number of photos or that are about the same topic. (If you read here, you know that I've failed on this a few times even lately. I'm still learning.) My goal is to alternate between word dense and photo dense. Of course, I always aim for pithy.

6. Many people who land here do not read my posts. Time is precious. There's a lot of great material out there. I'm considering selling Cliff Notes for A Haven for Vee in my Etsy store because there will be a test. Well, if I had an Etsy store or a test. =D

7. You can know

a. where your readers are from (what state-what country)
b. how they reached you
c. how long they stayed with you (don't be tricked by those one hour visits if the reader stayed on one page...that one was just plain stuck...probably off doing dishes... definitely not reading the blog)
d. where they went when they left
e. how interested they were in your photos
f. if they followed your links.
g. if the same readers are returning even if they never comment
h. which posts are the most popular
i. which ones have been pinned
j. which blog sends you the most traffic — Thanks, Judy!

8. If you have an upsetting visitor, you can learn that person's IP number (his or her address on the internet). In fact, I highly recommend it. Take a photo, keep a record.

9. I have learned not to fret over the inevitable ups and downs. If I have an opportunity to go and do, I will. In doing so, I will have chosen the better part. I do not become grief-stricken if the numbers tank. It's really only when they reach zero that I become distraught.

~Sob~

In all fairness, Site Meter, a free online service and my favorite stats program, has been having troubles changing servers. Many bloggers are unaffected; I happen to be one of the affected ones. Perhaps afflicted is a better term term. < insert a twitch >

10. Time of posting matters. Apparently, I have trained my readers to expect a post between 7 and 8 am. If I'm tardy, the numbers will be down enough for me to know the reason. It probably has to do with work schedules or something.

11. Finally, the most important thing I learned about stats came in the form of a comment from Abby just two days ago: "I'm here ~ not just a stat but your friend."

If you read all the way through this post, you deserve a medal. Thanks so much. Questions? 

Love Vee

41 comments:

  1. Goodness gracious me oh my! You have blogging down, to a science! I am amazed. I am.

    All this keeping track of things. And making changes (to your blog), due to changes in your over-all-noticed-stuff. And...

    Whewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww... You do a lot of work, on this! Who knew???

    Me, I just post.

    The words I want, the length I want, the pics I want, the topics I want, the....... EVERYTHING as I WANT.

    OK, I am a lazy blogger!!! -grin-

    But betcha' I'm in the majority. ,-)

    Gentle hugs,
    "Auntie"

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  2. I am waiting patiently for my medal.

    When I was posting a craft a day last year my numbers were amazing! Now that life has thrown us this curveball my numbers are down. But thats ok because the ones who are around now are the ones that count!

    This was great, thank you.

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  3. I will keep this pithy also! This was a great post. Thanks for all the information. I'm going to go over and look into site meter. Thank you! I love all your photos, they truly are beautiful!

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  4. Confession time, I never look at my stats. I am guilty of slipping in and out of blogs reading the current post, sometimes I comment and sometimes I do not. I often check out links that interest me. Your blog is one of my favorites and I do read your posts.

    You really have a plan and insight into your blogging process. Like most things I do in life I fly by the seat of my pants, maybe I need to give this more thought.

    Interesting food for thought here today.

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  5. Vee - Reference #7-g. I'm one of the lurkers that never comments. HAHA! I seldom update my blog but I look forward to visiting with you every morning before I go to work and I miss you when you're gone for several days. I love reading about your life in Maine, your grands and Beloved. I have witnessed your faith and learned from it. You are a blessing to the lurkers!

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  6. I am one of your visiting friends that visit at every post, comment on most. The only time I don't comment on your post is if I am late and running out the door.

    I have a couple of stat readers and mine all give different stats on the amount of visitors...lol

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  7. Hi Vee
    Well, you've got me thinking about some of your observations. I guess it all depends on why a person blogs in the first place and what they expect from it.
    Rarely do I check my stats and I'm happy to get at least a couple of comments - it means someone is reading my posts. A 0 would be depressing to anyone!
    The Followers gadget has become a competition for some, personally I am humbled that someone finds my blog interesting enough to want to follow. That number certainly doesn't reflect the number of comments does it?
    The biggest positive aspect I've found from blogging is how you can connect with someone. These are the blogs I visit regularly and want to leave a comment on. (like yours)
    Judith

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  8. I'm a winner!

    Great post ~ very informative and helpful. I always learn a lot from you. You do have writing skills and a sense of humor. It's a good thing my blog is private. It seems that my posts are always very rushed...and it shows. A visit here gives the feeling of visiting with a good friend.

    You had me hooked when you mentioned your Etsy store. I didn't know you had one and then as I read further, I learned that you don't. I was on my way to visit ~ already looking for the link!

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  9. I read to the end, should I send you my address so you can send my medal. Wait, just read the fine print, you're not actually giving a medal, we just deserve one. Thanks Vee for this informative post about blogging and stats. Thanks as well for mentioning my comment and linking to me. Regardless of the stats, if we help, encourage or brighten one person's day, it's worth it. ~ Abby

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  10. I always comment when I visit one of my followers, even if it is just to say hi, here I am for a minute. I don't worry much about stats but I do think it is fun to see who has visited me and from where.

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  11. You must be gifted with a natural talent for organization, Vee!

    I know I'm not! ;-<

    But seriously, these are interesting things to think about. And if I can remember them, maybe I can use some of your good ideas.

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  12. You can save the bronze for me. I read almost every word but skimmed over a couple. The wordpress site meter is not as sophisticated as the one you have. Is it a blogger thing?

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  13. Wow you really know a lot about your visitors. I've never really checked out most of those things. Very interesting.
    I like what Abby said and feel the same way. : )

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  14. Vee, you win the gold medal for blogging with intention (excluding those who are trying to sell something). I'm impressed.

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  15. I guess I haven't paid that much attention to what Sitemeter has to offer. I didn't know about (e) and a few others. How do you know when they are interested in your photos?
    I blog because I enjoy the interaction with people from all over the country. I don't worry overmuch about the other stuff. I'm not a great writer, so I don't expect too much in the way of followers although it's certainly nice to have a few. I appreciate each one.
    Thanks for all the info!

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  16. Boy, you sure know all about this. I go to my stats on blogger...and I basically am stagnant. Oh well, I can't be any more exciting than I am!
    Thanks for the info!!

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  17. Really? They hop from 'my front porch' over to your haven? Who would have known. I used to look at stats...now I rarely log in...and never really try to analyze them. I don't even know if my sitemeter has been acting up lately.

    I'm with Abby...more than a stat. I'm a friend!

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  18. Will it be a gold medal? :) Wow, I didn't do as much research, I did not know you can tell how long someone stayed on your post! I do notice topics on my blog get more visits than other topics. And of course I consider myself a friend! xo

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  19. I love.this.post. You are a hoot. I definitely feel spied upon. lol
    But, since it is you...I'm ok with that. Sometimes I leave you a comment and other times my brain is just not enough in gear to type anything that would even remotely make sense.

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  20. Vee, this post confirms the fact that you are a curious, analytical person who loves to learn and get to the bottom of things. Am I right?

    Thanks for giving me something to think about. I try not to pay a lot of attention to stats (I only have the blogger stats), but I must confess that I look at them far too often. I suppose I should say rather that I try not to let stats influence what I write and how I write.

    I love Abby's comment.

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  21. Interesting post. Glad to see there is something meaningful in the numbers and that they don't drive the overall content of your blog (which is lovely and the reason to visit!).

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  22. I wanted to stop by before I left for the airport, as I don't know what time we will be home, Since dh is standing at the door waiting for me,and I must leave, I have two things to say.... Great posting! and I am with Abby, you are my friend.
    Hugs,
    Sue

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  23. Enjoyed your posting on stats! On what could be a dry article on such a dry topics, but you've entertained, informed, and generally made us glad we came to visit!

    BTW, found similar experiences on what works, what doesn't.

    So when do I get my gold medal..mmm?


    Always love to visit here.... it's a home away from home!

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  24. Or write a column like this and your stats will go up. I don't understanding the commenting thing. I've done this for five years and it's always the same 10 or so people that comment. Not that I don't love them now. My daughter writes great posts - I wish I could write like her - and she never gets a comment. I don't understand why some blogs go viral with comments and others just hang in there. Would I like to write a blog without comments? Heavens no. That's the whole fun of blogging. I just wish there were more. Another question on my list for when I die.

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  25. Wow, that's a lot of analysis! I think you can out-analyze me and that is taking it to a whole new level, LOL. I have several statistic engines running, but I haven't ever tried site meter. Evidently, it tells you more than what my current stats tell me, such as where a visitor goes after their visit. Interesting!

    You will, undoubtably, have a stat that a visitor stayed on this post for well over an hour. Guilty! DH called me to dinner, then there was cleanup, then he insisted that I sit down for a this-that-and the other discussion before we go out of town. In the meantime, I didn't close out your page because I wasn't finished reading it!

    I have concluded some different things about my visitors. Namely, mine want to see my photos. The images are primary and, sadly, my words take a distant second. My kitchen photos from 2-1/2 years ago continue to drive the women of the blogosphere wild and I get hundreds of visits each week just for those couple of posts.

    Thank you for all of your insight! I don't fret too much about the statistics. To me, blogging has all been about personal discovery and friendships!

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  26. Bronze, Gold or Silver? I read the whole thing and want the Watermelon not the medal.
    Amature blogger here. I know nothing of stats, just having fun with the special folks I found on here.

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  27. Very interesting!! I don't have a clue as to the rhyme and reason of blogging. I keep a journal and the fact that others read it and we have got to know each other is icing on the cake. I try never to write anything I would be ashamed for anyone to read.....and other than that - I write about my day/life/experience.

    I was touched by the comment of one who says she has learned from your faith. There is a scripture that says something along this line...."We cannot speak of those things which we have not seen and heard." You speak from your heart. You share your heart with your reader friends. You touch OUR heart. We all learn from each other. That's all that matters.
    I would rather have a dozen readers with whom I have become good enough friends to think of and pray for than thousands of 'views.' I only care about my friends' 'views.
    And, YOU, my dear, are a totally lovely person and I am blessed to have found your blog and follow you in life. Real life. AND, I am equally humbled that you and John care enough about me and mine to hold us in prayer when Harrison was struggling to live not so very long ago. And the prayers y'all prayed as Amber went through that tough quad pregnancy. Real people. Real life. I count you and your blog a true treasure!

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  28. Thanks for an informative post! I don't have sitemeter, just blogger, and some of my stats make me raise my eyebrows. There are some spam sites that try to falsely raise your numbers and entice you to click on them. So I don't put much stock in the stats if they look fishy. The thing I enjoy most is making personal connections with others, and that would be very difficult if you had thousands of followers. I don't think you have anything to worry about -- lots of us love you:)

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  29. We all read at different speeds, too. I read incredibly fast...and type very fast, too. I know that I skip some of the text which leads to misunderstandings sometimes. I also have people misunderstand my posts. I still have a lot of people that think I can walk out my front door and walk to the beach! I love the variety of your blog...and I feel like we are kindred spirits.

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  30. Hi Vee,

    Wow, this is sooo informative; thanks so much for sharing!! I had heard the thing about our titles and the first picture in the post, but had not heard about the other info. This is certainly a lot to think about, as I am interested in growing my blog (for all the good that's done me). I feel like my following is growing at a snail's pace; actually a snail is probably outpacing me at the moment. :)

    I enjoy your blog very much, and your photos are really good. I always look forward to your note card party, as well. I hope you have a great weekend, Vee!

    Denise at Forest Manor

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  31. I'm not a stat either.....I'm a friend, too! Great insights, Vee. You are a true rock star.

    blessings,
    karianne

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  32. This is one of my all time favourite posts Vee! Your insight and analysis of your blog visitors is so interesting to me. I just have blogger stats and I check them way too often! I so wish more of my viewers would comment - I just love it when they do! That being said, I like your comment about blogging being a "home away from home" and that's all that really matters.
    I have so much to learn.........in the meantime I will enjoy reading your posts and try to do as I would like to have others do unto me - the golden blogdom rule ;). Keep up the good work Vee!

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  33. Great stuff here...I have been posting so willy nilly here people have likely lost interest!

    I will get my act together and using your tips will hopefully be a better blogger!

    Deanna

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  34. Oh yes, I am your friend, too. :P

    Vee, you put a lot of time and thought into your blog and your posts are always interesting to read. I don't always get around every day to visit everyone that I adore (you are one!!) but when I do get the chance, I am never disappointed. And yes, there certainly are "haters" out there and how smart of you to take a picture. I've never thought about that one.

    xxo
    Becky

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  35. WOW This is a lot fun infromation..and tips.. Thanks
    Hugs

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  36. Hi Vee. I guess I am one of those who read your blog but do not always leave a comment. I have been interested in your posts lately because they have been the same thoughts I have been experiencing of late. I am coming up to my third blogging anniversary and have wondered what I can or should do to make it more interesting. I appreciate every comment. Thanks Valerie

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  37. This is just the best post Vee. I haven't looked at stats for my own blog for ages and I probably should. I do pay attention to the MGCC blog though and like you...pay attention to details.

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  38. I am amazed that one can know so much about a blog visitor, Vee! Your site meter must be more sophisticated than the one I use, but I admit I haven't examined my visitor numbers so closely for a long time. I just know I am grateful for each and every visitor that shows interest and leaves a comment. It has been nice to make friends with so manyy peiople from around the country and the world!

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  39. Very interesting post! I love your idea of having the prettiest picture first.

    I have less comments now with twice as much traffic!

    One huge thing you do that I love is keep your paragraphs short.

    No matter how much I want to read something, if the prose is all one huge paragraph, I usually stop reading a blog.

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  40. I made it to the end and will be through the beginning and the middle too. I really enjoy all our time together Vee!

    I think that I may just have to check out my stats.

    Enjoy your weekend!
    Leann

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  41. Great post Vee! Thanks for all your research on this topic. I used to look at stats a lot when I first started blogging but rarely do now. I have noticed what makes my blog 'tick' for others and what days are best to post too, along with topics, photos etc. It does make a difference when I change it up a bit. Pam

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Thank you for commenting! If you ask a question, I will answer it here in case anyone else was wondering. Reply boxes are provided so that you may feel free to interject a thought on any comment. I do love good conversation!