How accurate are they?

I’ve recently added a couple stat counters to my sidebar.

But over the past week, I’m cynical about how accurate they are. They all give me different numbers.

Sitemeter:

VISITS
Total 75
Average Per Day 32
Average Visit Length 1:11
Last Hour 3
Today 10
This Week 65
PAGE VIEWS
Total 120
Average Per Day 53
Average Per Visit 1.6
Last Hour 3
Today 14
This Week 106

But look at this:

Blogflux:

Unique Visitors Page Views
Today: 7 Today: 13
Last 7 Days: 200 Last 7 Days: 339
This Month: 207 This Month: 352
Total: 207 Total: 352

.

Now the reason the total is larger for Blogflux is that I set it up a few days earlier. But overall, it tells me that I’m getting fewer hits than Sitemeter says.

Both of which are less than my WordPress Stats:

Blog Stats

Total Views: 22,366

Best Day Ever: 271 — Thursday, April 10, 2008

Views today: 74

Totals

Posts: 329

Comments: 1,186

Categories: 44

Tags: 21

Now, I’m sure there’s a good reason for the difference and it probably has something to do with IP addresses, but I don’t know enough about computers, networks and the Internet to figure it out.

Thoughts anyone?

10 thoughts on “How accurate are they?

  1. I think WordPress sometimes counts my own surfing within my blog even though it says it doesn’t. The IP addresses are the only way to know the unique visitors and I’d say that it is the most accurate count of individuals. I’d view the others as more of a hit counter, than a count of individuals.

  2. Nathan is right. It’s all about how the counter filters IP addresses. Unique visitors should be 1 IP address per 24 hour period per visit.

    You do get pinged by some networks and bots that skew your hit count. Savvis, Google, and others with hit you up with 20 to 100 hits in a few minutes or less when they are updating databases. I usually find those IP addresses and block them since they are not real traffic. I find that Google Analytics is the most accurate this way. But really confusing if you are not used to it.

  3. I don’t think I can use Google Analytics with a .wordpress.com blog.

    That’s pretty much what I was thinking though. Unfortunately, it still doesn’t make sense – I’m getting different page view numbers for both blogflux and sitemeter as well and as far as I can tell, that shouldn’t change.

  4. I agree with Nick.

    Just say no to stats and don’t get addicted to numbers.

    I look at the WordPress stats to see what people are searching for and where people come from.

    I didn’t even know there was a total down at the bottom until you guys mentioned it. I don’t like to look at it. Maybe it’s because it’s so small. But when I become a famous blogger I still won’t look at it.
    Jeff

  5. I use my stats to keep track of what people find interesting on my blog, where they have come to my blog from, and what links they check out when they are moving on.

    I’ve looked at your data again. It actually doesn’t look that varied to me. If you check the results after a full month for all of those counters you can get a more accurate comparison. I’m going to take a stab at analyzing the data you posted:

    -you probably average 300 unique visitors in a given month.
    -you probably average 10 unique visitors on any given day.
    -On average people only visit one or two pages per visit.

    The accuracy of those guesses would vary quite a bit depending on the duration of the samples and some other things. You’ll get a better idea over time though.

  6. Numbers are everything! Okay, not really, but they are interesting to know.

    As someone who has tried to build in some code into his own blog to do this, it is not as easy as it looks. Like Drew said above, search engines can (and definitely will) skew your counts. And it’s not just common search engines. I think my stuff is being crawled by about 15 different crawlers at this point, and those are only the ones I can recognize. For those who don’t hide what they are doing, the user agent string is a great indicator of who they are. Yahoo, MSN, Google and many others actually declare. But many don’t.

    And I would be surprised if you couldn’t use Google analytics. As long as you can stick there little javascript snippet somewhere on your template, you’re good. Since I don’t know anything about WordPress, though, I can’t tell you how to do it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s