Metrics & Measure: Pageviews, Visitors, & Quantifying Your Site

You’ve been blogging for months now.  You’re developing great content on a regular and consistent basis.  You’re building your community by actively leaving comments on other sites, and some of those people are coming back and leaving comments on your site.  You want to grow your blog, but what’s the next step?  Tracking and quantifying your site.

First, a disclaimer– don’t become fixated on numbers.  Once you’ve got tracking software in place, it’s SO easy to become fixated on numbers.  Check your numbers once a week while you’re growing: any more than that and you’ll focus too much on numbers and not enough on your site.

 

  • Feedburner / BlogLovin’ / RSS sites.  You want to make it as easy as possible for readers to regularly read your content.  Two ways to keep track them are through Feedburner, which aggregates RSS feeds, like Google, Bloglines, Yahoo, so you can keep track of them in 1 place, and Bloglovin’, a third party site where you can reader all of your favorite blogs at once. 

    Both sites offer you the ability to see how many subscribers you have and offer some statistics– though I find Feedburner offers more statistics, in addition to email subscription options!

  • Google Analytics is probably one of the most popular and commonly used statistics sites.  Google, as a whole, offers a really comprehensive platform for bloggers– from Blogspot and Feedburner to Picassa and Google Webmaster, Google Analytics and Google Affiliates– you can really do it all through them alone (though I find it better to mix and match for my own needs!).

    It’s important to make sure you’ve installed in properly.  For years I had issues with Google Analytics not registering my data correctly– it was because of this that I found alternative sites to use (which you’ll see below).

  • Quantcast is one that I tend to check monthly– to get a quick overview and detailed information on my demographics and what percentage of my traffic is global vs. national.  When putting together a media kit, the demographic information that Quantcast can provide is fantastic– from income brackets to age brackets and educational levels, it’s the information your advertisers are going to want to know. 

    For my site, I can say that my average viewer is a woman aged 18-34 who is a college graduate, has no kids, and has a household income of $60-100,000 a year.

  • Statcounter offers the same core analytical and statistical information that Google Analytics does: pageviews, major keywords & search terms, visitor time on site.  It also offers you great tools like IP look up, in-depth “came from” data (where people are visiting you from).  I find the layout for Statcounter clearer and more intuitive to use.

    I love how detailed links like “Recent Came From,” “Entry Pages,” and “Recent Keyword Activity” are– the information it provides is clear, in-depth, and invaluable.

  • Internal Stat Counters: Blogger and WordPress both have plugins that allow you to monitor and track your stats from within your dashboard.  This is convenient for day-to-day tracking and to give you a quick glimpse at what’s going on on your site for a particular day.

The best part about all of these options– that they’re free.  You can track your pageviews, demographics, keyword searches and more, without spending a dime.  BUT it’s all valuable information that’s necessary if you want to make a dime.

I like to use multiples in order to gain a more accurate portrait of my sites traffic– I compare my WordPress stats to Statcounter and Google Analytics monthly, to make sure that I’m providing as close to accurate data as I possibly can. 

What sites do you use for measuring your site?  Have you found greater preference for one over the other?  Do you absolutely hate one site and only use another?

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30 Responses

  1. Natalie

    I love Google Analytics, it’s given me a few things to think about in terms of how I blog and organise the content on my site.

    Thanks for the link to Quantcast, I really ought to put some kind of media kit together one day!

    Reply
  2. weesha

    great post! Google Analytics has always been my favourite option. It’s easy to use and give you in depth information about your readers- where they come from, what posts they like the most, etc

    Reply
  3. Jesse @ 1920s Fashion and Music

    I use both Quantcast and Google Analytics (GA) on my sites and appreciate what both of them do. GA is not user friendly, there are many metrics that I have absolutely no clue what do do with. That said GA is essential to seeing the relative worth of certain keyword phrases that people use to arrive at my site.

    If you use Adsense to monetize your site GA is essential to seeing what pages are making money and which are not, this will help you direct traffic (and remove ads) from high traffic/low revenue pages to pages which make more money. I like quantcast for the demographics feature, but really don’t see how knowing the exact demographics of my site will help me shape my content. Most of that comes from what is making money and user feedback.

    Reply
  4. Madeleine Gallay

    Lazy me. Having accidentally deleted my googleanalytics account, and google will not undo, I’ve come to rely on blogger Stats which is reasonably comprehensive and you don’t need to leave the blogger environment. I do sitemeter as well.

    I check Alexa rankings once in a while, not completely understanding it.

    Reply
  5. Haute Haus

    Wow, this is very helpful! I’ve been looking for a good site for my blog’s statistics for some time, now that I’ve gotten more of a following.

    Thanks,

    Jessica
    HAUTE HAUS

    Reply
  6. Rachael

    I’m definitely a Google Analytics girl but I do find that Bloglovin’ and Feedburner offer some interesting things I wouldn’t get otherwise!

    Quantcast also is a great one, as you mentioned!

    Rachael
    Style Every Day.com

    Reply
  7. Treacle

    I use SiteMeter and (more recently) Google Analytics. SiteMeter is good for stats at a glance, but now that you’ve suggested Quantcast, I’m going to check them out too. Thanks!

    Reply
  8. Jennine Jacob

    I’ve always found it helpful to use a few analytics services because I don’t think one is bullet proof. Google Analytics is my favorite, then again, I’m a Google fan!

    Reply
  9. lisa

    Ooh very informative post! I use Google Analytics, Feedburner, and Bloglovin’. Blogger’s new Stats functionality is a pretty good comparison point for the numbers I’m getting from Google Analytics too.

    Reply
  10. Sandra at Debutante Clothing

    I loathe analytics but I know they are important. Here is my dilemma. I have my domain name (www.debutanteclothing.com) point to my blog’s url (www.debutanteclothing.com/news) because at one point I had a home/splash page. Should I place my analytics code on the .com page or the .com/news page?

    What do you think?

    Reply
  11. Fajr | Stylish Thought

    Great information for beginning bloggers. I used use Statcounter when I started and upgraded to GA. I like the interface and the millions of ways you can segment the data and link your other Google products.

    Reply
  12. HauteWorld

    Fantastic article. When I first started my blog, I relied on GA, then added Sitemeter and StatCounter to get an actual idea of my ‘real’ stats. I prefer the latter, because of the detail it provides, though I’ve always been surprised by how much the stats vary depending on which tracking site I look at. Blogger’s internal stats monitor is easy to use as well. While I use Bloglovin and Feedburner as well, I rarely check to see how my blog’s doing on those sites.

    Thanks for the Quantcast link! I’m currently revising my media kit and the demographics info will definitely come in handy.

    Reply
  13. joann, sidewalk chalk

    Thanks for putting this together. I’ve been using Google Analytics for awhile, and just recently added Get Clicky. Thanks for the Quantcast info — I’ll definitely have to try that.

    Reply
  14. LoveBrownSugar

    I’m a HUGE proponent of Google Analytics. Amazing and comprehensive, I can even see what countries my readers come from, which I thought was super cool and valuable.

    Reply
  15. Kaiami

    Thanks for the post! I’ve been trying to use Google Analytics, but it hasn’t been working out for me. I’ve been stuck at 0 pageviews for two months.

    Reply
  16. Extremestylenow

    Great advice I just started my own fashion blog Extremestylenow.blogspot.com . Please follow me and support my blog 🙂

    Reply
  17. Street Style

    Thanks for the info. I’m definitely going to check out those other sites. Also, have you noticed that Google Analytics has extremely lower stats than other stat software? I noticed that for Sweet Fuzz, so I’m a little confused exactly what my stats are and which software to rely on. Thanks for the other options!

    xoxo [email protected]

    Reply
  18. Marissa

    Yes, having two or three stat platforms is the best advice — it really is amazing to see the discrepancies sometimes!

    Reply
  19. Arash Mazinani

    Will check out quantcast it looks like it provides really useful information. At the moment I use analytics and my hosting companies own built in services both combined seem to give most the information I need at the moment. But quantcast sounds really good.

    I also use mouseflow, it shows you heatmaps of your blog showing where people are scrolling and what they’re clicking on.

    It even records visitors browsing on your blog so you can see what they have been clicking on and doing while on your blog.

    A free account gives you 100 recordings which can easily get eaten up, to make it a useful tool you’d need pay for more recordings. Still a cool tool to have though.

    Reply
  20. Bella Q

    I can’t seem to figure out how to install google analytics properly…third time trying and I think I’ve messed something up on my template (oops) so I use sitemeter and I like that. But you’ve mentioned others I want to check out.

    Stats are great because of them I learned a huuuge amount of traffic comes from of all things, facebook. So I’ve upped my facebook posts, and increased my traffic.

    Great article and thank you.

    Reply