Looking back over 2006

Average number of unique visitors to www.danielharper.org: 1,879/month
Total number of hits for 2006: 228,899
Number of unique visitors in December (up until 5:00 p.m. on the 30th): 2,520

The main page of “Yet Another Unitarian Universalist” got about 13,750 page views in December, 2006. In general, the blog gets about three quarters of the total page views for the whole site.

I don’t bother tracking how much traffic individual blog posts get (such figures tend to be misleading, since you have no way of knowing which posts someone reads when they just access the main page of the blog). Based on reactions from readers, I suspect that the nine-part series on Teaching kids how to be religious got far more traffic than anything else I wrote this year.

Looking back over the past year, what really stands out is hearing from readers of the blog. I look forward to your comments, your email messages, and the occasional in-person conversations — that’s what makes it interesting and worthwhile for me.

3 thoughts on “Looking back over 2006

  1. Administrator

    Jean — Most web hosting services provide this information for you. Since you and I share the same Web hosting service, I can tell you precisely how to get this information. In your Web browser, type in a URI like this:


    This will bring up a dialogue box asking you for your username and password. (Your username and password were sent to you by your Web host when you first signed up for their service — if you’ve lost this information, either check your old email files, or send email to your Web hosting service explaining that you have lost your username and password.)

    Once you’ve logged in, you get directed to the Cpanel interface — Cpanel is site management software used by many Web hosts ( * instructions for Ensim below). Click on the icon that is labeled “Statistics,” and you’ll see that in the navigation menu on the left there’s a link to “AWStats.” Click on that link, and a new window labeled “Statistics of: http://www.yourdomain.org” will pop up in your Web browser. In this new window, you can use the menu at left to find out all kinds of information about your Web site. A short list of the most interesting statistics, and what you can do with them:

    (1) “Search keyphrases” — gives you the top search terms that directed people to your Web site. I check this once a month, and if I see that I’m getting a lot of referrals based on one key search term, I will find where that occurs in my blog, and maybe add a little more to that blog post to entice people to read further in my blog.

    (2) “Refering sites” — gives you the top sites that refered people to your Web site. You can click on the links for the sites that refered to your site and see why they linked to you — and here again, maybe add a little to whatever post attracted the attention. (If you use WordPress, or other good blogging software, you’ll get a list of blogs that referred to you on you Dashboard, but WordPress won’t show you non-blog links to your site. Furthermore, just because some other blog links to your site doesn’t mean nayone actually follows that link to visit your site, whereas the site statistics show you the sites that actually send you visitors.)

    (3) Monthly history — shows lots of info about the current month. I look at numbers of “Unique Visitors,” which indicates how many individual IP addresses accessed your site. The number of actual people who visited your site is less than the “Unique Visitors” number, because one person could visit your site from their home computer and their work computer, and register as two different “unique visitors.” Also, if someone accesses your site using AOL, or using a computer linked to the Internet through a university computer system, they will register a different IP address (and thus reigster as a different “unique visitor”) each time they visit. –At least, that’s how I understand it, I’m sure geeks in the audience will correct me if I’m wrong. In any case, you can probably assume that your actual human readership is 20-50% less than the “unique visitor” number.

    (4) HTTP error codes — this shows you where people run into that dreaded screen that reads “Error 404: Page not found.” I check the top five or ten errors each month, and see if I can figure out what link in my site has gone bad. Most often people get error messages from by blog because when I entered in a link to another Web site I made a typo — so then I find that blog post, and correct the typo. This kind of maintenance does a lot to lower user frustration with your site.

    Those are the top four things I look for. If you’re bored, take the time to look through the rest of the statistics — some of it is a waste of your time, but all of it will help you better understand how your site functions.

    * Instructions for finding statistics on the Ensim site management software: Log in as above. When you get to Ensim home page, you are immediately presented with site statistics. For (1) above, click on “Top search strings”; for (2) click on “Top referrers”; for (3) click on “Pages per month” and look for “Visits” in the table; for (4) I believe you click on “Analog” under “Reports” in the left-hand navigation menu, and then scroll down to the very bottom of that screen.

    Perhaps people who host their blogs on Blogger, AOL, or similar hosts can leave comments about how to access statistics for those blog hosting services.

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