Once you have created your new WordPress.com blog, you will need to add your new blog to your Google web masters account, generate and submit a site map, and register with search engines. After you have published a few posts and attracted some visitors some questions will begin to arise.
Visitor tracking questions
- Where did your blog visitors come from?
- Which search engines did unique visitor hits or returning unique web visitors come from?
- What path did they take on your site?
- Which browser and which operating system do your visitors use?
- How long are your visitors on your page per visit and how many pages did they view?
- What time of the day did they come?
Hits, Page Views, Unique Visitors
What is a hit? In web analytics, a hit is any request for a file from a web server. By request means a hit calculates page content delivered, all images to complete that page, and any additional files that need to be loaded to make the web page you are looking at, appear the way it does.
What is a page view? A page view is a request to load a single page of an internet site that results from a page request from a web surfer clicking on a link on another HTML page which is pointing to the page in question.
What is a unique visitor? A unique visitor is access from a single IP to a web server that generates page views and hits during a particular visit. When a visitor has cookies disabled, there is no way of establishing if they are a unique visitor or not.
Every free hosted WordPress.com blog has WordPress.com Stats as a free feature. Let’s examine what the WordPress.com stats program delivers.
WordPress.com Stats – Every time a visitor views a URL on your blog, the web browser loads a small smiley-face image from the stats system. The action is logged and the logs are summarized every few minutes to update the graphs, charts, and lists. The following are not counted:
- Visits from registered users of the blog when they are not logged in.
- Visits to uploaded documents and files.
- GoogleBot and other search engine spiders.
Additionally, wordpress.com bloggers may choose to use free third party stats counters on their blogs, provided they are not javacript counters.
UPDATE > Activemeter is no longer available.
Sitemeter – Site Meter’s comprehensive real time website tracking and counter tools give you instant access to vital information and data about your sites audience. With our detailed reporting you’ll have a clear picture of who is visiting your site, how they found you, where they came from, what interests them and much more.
Sitemeter tour – This report lists the total number of visits, average number of visits per day (visits this week / 7), the average length of a visit this week, the number of visitors today, the number of visits this week (not including today), the number of page views, the number of page views per visit this week, the average number of page views per day (page views this week / 7 ), the number of page views today, and the number of page views this week (not including today). The ‘week’ time period on which these are based is the previous 7 days (not including today) and does not start on any particular day of the week. The ‘week’ time period will change each day.
Sitemeter is not a real time stats program. This is what I get from sitemeter on my wordpres.COM blog:
Recent Visitors by Visit Details
Detail Domain Name Visit Time PageViews Visit Length
Recent Visitors by Entry Pages
Recent Visitors by Exit Pages
Today’s Visits and Page Views
Previous 7 Days
Previous 30 Days
Previous 12 Months
Today’s Visit Depth
Daily Visit Depth
Recent Visitors by Location
Detail Referring URL
Statcounter – A free yet reliable invisible web tracker, highly configurable hit counter and real-time detailed web stats. Insert a simple piece of our code on your web page or blog and you will be able to analyse and monitor all the visitors to your website in real-time!
- Free, Fast, Responsive, Quick loading and Reliable Service.
- Invisible Tracking – no ads on your website.
- Accurate real-time website statistics with detailed visitor tracking and analysis.
- View Live Demo
When experimenting with all of them what my co-admin found was that there was absolutely no consistency from one to the other most of the time. One day Sitemeter would say there were 100 hits more than Statcounter, and Activemeter would show 100 less than Sitemeter.
The largest discrepancy was over 200 hits (Note: The blog in use for testing was getting only 450 hits per day). There was also had a 3 day period where one of them showed hits in the teens (12-19) – not wordpress stats – while the others were still showing up around 400-450. At the end of a three month testing period, there was a 26% discrepancy between the lowest and highest totals.
Here’s the bottom line
Sitemeter, Statcounter, wordpress stats and all the others will never agree. Each one of them decides how and what they will count as a hit. Some count page views and some count unique visitors. Therefore, use any of the stats counters only as a general guide to hits.
Understand that an application that is not running on the same servers your blog is on is going to be susceptible to wild fluctuations. This is because all hits have to be transferred over the internet to different servers, and there are literally thousands of things that can go wrong between the server your blog is on and the server at the stats place.
Also be aware of the possibility that the software or hardware at the stats place may be broken and not recording, or counting things as intended.