5 thoughts on blog statistics

I haven’t yet worried about stats for this blog, but for our (academic) library blog I keep a fairly close eye on what websites/websearches our readers are coming from and what they’re doing once they get here.

My favourite tool for blog statistics is StatCounter.com – it gives you huge detail on the latest 500 hits for free, and it’s invisible. A few random things I’ve discovered as a result:

  1. A google search for the name of our blog, or for the name of our library plus the word ‘blog’, brings us up at the top of the results – and people are finding us that way.
  2. A really effective way to get hits is to post information on the blog on how to research the first assignment of the first year of university for a class of 700 students, and get the lecturer to put the link up on Blackboard for them. We were getting well over 100 hits a day while that assignment ran – in the high two-digit figures of distinct visitors – about 10 times as many people as usual. And a month after the assignment was due, we’re still getting people coming from that link.
  3. Another good way to get hits is to give a tutorial, then post a summary of the tutorial afterwards, and send the link out to them. Okay, if all this did was get hits it’d be worthless – might as well just send them the summary directly – but some of the people do browse around some of the other categories, and may even return another day…
  4. Our statistics are slowly growing. We usually get 10+ hits a day now, even though I’ve weeded out as many library staff as I can identify as staff, when it used to be less than 10 a day even including staff. Sometimes it’s even 10+ people a day….
  5. The stats showed that someone had put a perfectly reasonable search term into the blog search box. I looked to see what results they’d have got and discovered it was just a dead end “0 results” results page, which didn’t seem very helpful, especially since I knew there was bound to be information about the topic somewhere on the main library website. So I wrote a hopeful email to our wonderful IT people, who wonderfully obliged me with this modification (note the “library website” link automatically brings up results for whatever search the user tried on the blog. AskLive is our virtual reference, now running on a Meebo chatroom).

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