Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lies, -- Lies, and Statistics

We small-time bloggers pay a lot of attention to statistics.  As I approach my 7000th pageview, I'm watching, checking in periodically to see how many hits I've gotten.  I get very excited about a day with 60 or 70 pageviews.  Wow, I must really be hitting the big time, right?!

Alas, the statistics page also includes a reality check.  I look at the sources of most of those hits, and realize a sad truth: there aren't people behind them.  A truly amazing number of my "referring sites" have a .ru extension--Russian computers, doing some kind of weird search.  Are they robots who drop in on every single freaking site on the Web each day?  Whatever for?  The Ninja Librarian has no ambitions involving Russia.  One thing I can be pretty sure of: they aren't avid Russian readers of American children's books dropping in to see what pearls of wisdom will fall from my fingertips today.

Dang.

We small-time Indie writers live and die by statistics--how many books did I sell?  How many likes on my Facebook page?  How many people added my book on Goodreads?  The Stats page here at Blogger reminds me that Benjamin Disraeli (or maybe Mark Twain) had it right.  Three kinds of lies, and the worst is statistics.

Part of me wishes there was a filter, so I could see how many genuine visitors, not search bots, I have.  But part of me knows that would be depressing in the extreme.  So I'll go ahead and celebrate when (tomorrow?) my view count tops 7000, and I'll plan on doing something special when it hits 10,000.  After all, a little over a year ago when I started this blog, I had one reader, and even the search bots didn't bother to find me.  It must be some kind of progress!

Coming Friday: a real post again at last--another Chuck Wendig flash-fiction challenge!

4 comments:

  1. I had a blog a while back that got hit up by Russian bots/search engines all the time-- was weird. I do get a lot of hits that are more about bots than real visitors, but truly I decided to let the stats go, concentrate and writing articles that engage readers and take pleasure in the conversations in the comments. The rest isn't meaningful. But it IS hard when we know our industry is so numbers-driven.

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  2. Oh, how frustrating for you! I must admit when I saw 7000, I thought WOW!, having taken 3 years to reach 3,500, half of which is in the last six months (thank you LoveMG!)

    Wordpress seems to screen out these; I don't know whether it's part of the very effective Akismet spam filter on comments that also filters views. I've never thought of it, really. If you can dig deeper into your stats you may find a ranking of hits by country - you could eliminate the russian ones then :)

    The bots probably home in on 'Ninja'. I know I get more page views when I tag 'vampire'. Hmm, maybe I shouldn't tag vampire or ninja in the next book... but then it also brings in interested readers. Sigh.

    Yeah - statistics are best ignored, except when they work in your favour :D

    Jemima from Jemima's blog

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  3. You two are so right--it is, or should be, about the writing. But it's hard, when so often there's little to tell us if we are reaching anyone, aside from those stats.

    Jemima, yet another reason why I may want to switch to Wordpress. Or maybe I should just stop clicking on the stats :-p It is interesting to see what search terms brought people (or at least search engines) to the blog.

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  4. And sometime in the last day it did pass 7000. Now, wouldn't it be cool if those translated into book sales? There's a statistic I could get behind!

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