Tracking Visitors to Your Site

by updated 2011/03/26

Monthly Visitor CountsA few years ago when this site and I were younger, I used to pretty well keep track of the visitor count.  Like many new bloggers, I equated visitor increases with site success.  I always felt a bit odd about this as having a heavily trafficked site was not one of the reasons I started.  I had been writing for a while and articles were scattered all over the web.  Many I had lost track of, others had disappeared when the sites they were on stopped functioning.  So I figured having my own place to put writing would keep a chronological history of articles in one place.  In reality, because it turns out Google hates duplicate content, I ended up only with unique articles on this site, still allowing things I wrote for other sites to stand alone.  I do have more control over my outside content though because I always link to it somewhere on this site.  Then because I use a broken link checker here, if any of the sites containing my articles goes away, I am notified.  I then republish the vanished articles here without concern over duplicate content. This does not happen that often, but you might be surprised at how many sites get taken down every year.

A similar problem is sites that stay in place but cease to be updated.  Those are harder to keep track of by my policy is if the site has not been updated in a year, and of course I am aware of it, I republish the here or on another currently active site.  Over the past year or two, this has pretty much been the only tracking of site and article information I do.  Except for my addiction to seeing what search phrases people use that land them here.  I really don’t keep track of page rank, visitor count, etc. anymore.  However I frequently get requests for advertising here that ask about these things.  Usually I am not interested in the advertising because of questionable or unrelated products or services, but yesterday one came in that seems like a good fit.  Interestingly they seemed to know a lot about visitor count, page rank, and so forth for this site.  One of the things they mentioned was what they called a “really nice upward trend in site visits.

So, I took a look at this site’s stats and produced a graph for the past 2-1/2 years or so and saw what they meant.  The graph is shown above and even though the total monthly visitor count is nothing too impressive, the overall trend was nice to see.  Two plus years ago monthly visits were at about 6,000.  Now they are at about 15,000 and as you can see from the graph the trend has been consistently upward.  I suspect this is mainly a result of there being more content here over time rather than any kind of increase in the quality of that content, but it is still interesting to see… and I guess relevant to some potential advertisers.

Anyway, getting back to the title of this post:  If you have a website, do you track visitors?  Or like me have you pretty much just ignored the numbers?

Will Sig
1 Binky

I was a bit obsessive about visitor count and other stats when I first made my sites, but now I hardly ever even look at the stats anymore.

I have seen some of those third-party traffic reporting sites, and at least for my websites, they seem to be wildly inaccurate.
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2 Will

Yeah I only use Google Analytics or the built in WordPress Stats which seem to be pretty close. I remember trying a few other tools years ago and the numbers were all over the place.

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3 Tony McGurk

Yes I too was obsessive about the number of visits I was getting but I don’t bother anymore. The main one I find interesting is the search terms people use to find my blog. “Sexy Sheep” is still one of my top searches. There’s some weird people out there. Or a lot of lonely Rams searching for love online

Drats caught by the Humaness check box again. Here I go for the 2nd attempt. Box is checked. Clicking submit now

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4 Tony McGurk

Yay It worked!!! I knew I could do it if I really concentrated…

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5 Anonymous

I’m trying to measure the effectiveness of a promotional campaign by tracking the number of visitors to a particular site. I don’t own this website so I can’t add a site counter. Any ideas?

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