OpenFiction [Blog]

And then there’s Google Analytics…

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on June 13, 2007

The numbers I report for tOFP each month are based on the Webalizer reports available from my web hosting service. A while back I signed up for a Google Analytics account, and got a message back that Google had suspended the issuance of new GA accounts because of demand. I only noticed recently (as I was playing with iGoogle) that I had in fact been granted an account and so instrumented my site pages with the required code.

Google Analytics recorded a total of 391 visits last month (although I did not instrument the blog) which is way lower than what Webalizer reported. I’ve suspected for some time that Webalizer overcounted visits by a wide margin, ever since I implemented Cluster Maps on the blog. Cluster Maps has recorded more or less 4,000 blog visits in the past year, far fewer than the Webalizer reports would have me believe.

So this means I’m not as famous as I thought I was, which is depressing given I didn’t think I was all that famous to begin with. Really it’s another example of why any and all web data needs to be taken with a shaker of salt. My other observation is that once again it proves that web analytics are less about absolute numbers and more about trends (unless of course you are trying to sell ads). Regardless of the actual numbers of visits to tOFP, the trend has certainly been going up, which is a healthy sign. And based on the search terms used to find the site, at least some of those visits are from people interested in fiction. If I help even a dozen people a month to write a little better, or even inspire them to just write a little more, then I am reaching more people right now than I did in my five years in the classroom. Interesting to consider…

3 Responses

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  1. […] One year ago today, I added Cluster Maps to the blog (see left margin). In the past year, Cluster Maps picked up 4,384 visits to the blog with a really exciting geographic spread. Some of the clusters are in places that make sense from my OCW Consortium contacts (Venezuela, Japan and Thailand, for instance), and it’s nice to see some visits from Sub-Saharan Africa as well. I’m including the expanded map in this post to show where visits have been recorded in more detail. […]

  2. […] I haven’t really had the chance to dig into the numbers much, but last month was a banner month for tOFP, with nearly 20,000 visits, as Webalizer counts them anyway. But going with the theory that the trend is the important thing, it must be good news. 66 copies of the tOFP [ Print ] edition as well. […]

  3. […] Numbers for tOFP still look healthy, with more than 18,000 visits reported by Webalizer. I continue to be impressed by how different the Webalizer stats are from the Google Analytics readings. I’m attaching the two Google Analytics reports for the same time period, which show a combined 515 visits. […]


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