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

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