Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Sunday, 23 March 2014

One million blog views on this site (but not really)

I regularly publish my blog stats (more or less annually) just in case anyone wants to have a bit of a nosy at them. It's not clear how instructive they are but I think the most interesting thing is just how spectacularly misleading the view counter is that I have showing on this site. Here's what it said just now:

1. Blogger counter widget
Although I can't remember when I added that counter I don't think it started at zero, I think it had some idea of how many times my site had already been visited.

2. Google Analytics
At some point I also added Google Analytics to this blog but it was at least a year after I began blogging so presumably it ignored the first year, possibly two of my blogging.

3. Blogger stats (matches widget)
At another point in history Google also added Blogger stats to everyone's site - and these seem to be in line with the counter...

You also get a little graph that shows you how traffic varies.

I know it says 'May 2007' on the X-axis but I didn't even start the blog until June 2009 so the months are a bit confused there.

So it sounds like my blog gets around 2,000 views a day (which could be 20 people each viewing it 100 times or 100 people viewing it 20 times, or even 2,000 people viewing it once), resulting in over a million views overall.

In fact it's nothing like that and about 2/3rds of the daily views shown above can probably be accounted for by Google bots and spiders. The more realistic stats can be found from Google Analytics which tells me how many people are really visiting.

Whenever a new post is published to this, or any blog, there's no need to tell Google about it - it will automatically index the site, and re-index it. In fact within about ten minutes of me publishing this post the chances are it will show up in Google. Blogger is owned by Google so it's not too surprising that Google sends its blog-indexing tools to index its own blogs.

I do get plenty of traffic from real people, but nothing like as much as the counter claims. Here's what the site has actually had, since June 2010, according to Google Analytics. The stats are dramatically lower but believed to be much more accurate.

Almost all of my traffic comes from people having a question about something that I've answered on my blog. That's partly why my bounce rate is so high - the majority of people spend only half a minute on my blog because they want to know X and hopefully find it within the first paragraph of my post, then leave. There are still people spending several minutes on certain posts but those views are swamped by the sheer volume of people searching for a technical solution to something - my top post has been viewed 114,000 times but the second most popular post has been viewed 24,000 times.

Further reading
Blog stats for this blog - latest edition (updated Jan 2014) and overview
Some other posts I thought you might like

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Comment policy: I enthusiastically welcome corrections and I entertain polite disagreement ;) Because of the nature of this blog it attracts a LOT - 5 a day at the moment - of spam comments (I write about spam practices,misleading marketing and unevidenced quackery) and so I'm more likely to post a pasted version of your comment, removing any hyperlinks.

Comments written in ALL CAPS LOCK will be deleted and I won't publish any pro-homeopathy comments, that ship has sailed I'm afraid (it's nonsense).