35W Bridge Reconstruction And Why Politicians Suck
Agenda | Minnesota Recruiters Fall (un)Conference

Let’s Talk About Web Site Statistics | Some Analytics Work Better Than Others

I am frequently asked how many visitors my blog sees in a day, week or month. I always share the information, it’s not like it needs to be a secret. I may not always share how visitors get to me, other web sites, or blogs, or what keywords they are using on a search engine. That would be more help than I am willing to give. At least out in the open like this.

Before sharing the graphs below I have a disclaimer to make, I have not used the blog to its full potential. I bet between infrequent posting, not commenting on others blogs and not getting incoming links from career related sites that would link to me if I ask I am probably utilizing about 35% of the potential.

Sad really but I am working on it. I have been posting with some greater frequency than I had earlier this year.

The stupid part is I know that the more I post the more good things that come from the effort like candidates, free PR and greater traffic. One would think I would work more on it but I never claimed to be the sharpest tool in the shed.

The first graph is from Site Meter. I use it on a daily basis to check visitors and referrals. Note that the November ’07 statistics are measured through November 22 not November 30:

MN Headhunter Site Meter Stats 11-07

For more in-depth analysis I use Google Analytics. I do not have a graph to share because I could not figure out how to save the image. It shows similar traffic patterns although it shows between 175-250 more visitors for each month than Site Meter.

I think that is because Google Analytics is capturing traffic to each of the blog pages (Nerd Search, IT Jobs, Volunteer and Recruiting Jobs) where Site Meter is only grabbing from the main page.

It also could be that Google Analytics is that much better at what it does.

Regardless, as I have been blogging more I have had more traffic. Duh.

If you are wondering what the spikes are, Dec/Jan/Feb saw a spike in traffic from my writing regarding the firing of then University of Minnesota Head Coach Glen Mason and the greater interest in Gopher Football. Lots and lots of people were looking for information on who the new coach would be and for the most part I was the only one writing about it on a regular basis.

The other spike is in August and that was regarding the 35 W Bridge collapse. I had quite a few incoming links that were sending me a bunch of traffic.

Both were non recruiter, career or IT related but I also had a spike in the number of resumes sent during those times. Apparently Minnesota IT professionals are into football and breaking local news like most other people. (OK, maybe not so much Gopher football) That is the magic about writing a local blog. (More on that next week)

OK, so now to my mini rant. I was sent an email by a well known career blogger asking what happened to my blog traffic. I said what do you mean I have been having consistent growth the past few months. He was shocked to hear that.

And then I found out he had looked at my Alexa statistics:

MN Headhunter Alexa Stats 11-07

Well yeah, if you look at that graph my blog looks dead. Alexa relies on use of their toolbar to measure traffic. Go back to that January spike and look at the Alexa graph. It spiked way more than it should have and the reason I believe for it is a lot of the incoming traffic was coming from college football bloggers most of whom use Alexa. So of course that spiked more than it should have.

The Alexa graph is a 3 year look at the blog. The spike in August of 2006 is from the Northwest Airlines debacle of their laying off employees and their now famous Northwest Airlines List Of 101 Ways To Save Money. I was featured in quite a few national blogs, business sites, and NPR.

One last tool is Compete.com:

MN Headhunter Compete Stats 11-07

Their tool is doing a much better job at tracking visitors to my site than is Alexa. Their monthly visitors are lower than what Site Meter or Google Analytics show but I think that is because Compete.com only counts a user one time a month. So one visitor coming back once a week, or four times a month, is only counted once. Their overall trend is better for sure.

So there it is, a quick explanation on site traffic, statistics and using analytics. And proof that yes, my blog is doing just fine.


Ed Kohler

Interesting stats. One way to get a shot of Google Analytics would be to grab a screenshot of the graph, then crop it down in a photo editing program. Slightly painful, but it would work.

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