How can I authenticate my blog's hit rate?
December 11, 2010 5:15 AM   Subscribe

According to Posterous, I have had around 2,000 hits on a website I am working on in the last 32 days. According to Google Analytics, I have had exactly 125. What gives and what's reliable? Also, can anyone recommend a good book or website about fully utilizing Analytics?
posted by parmanparman to Technology (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
neither is totally reliable IMO. if you have you're own webserver, something like AWStats would give you an exact figure, as it parses your raw httpd logs, but its not a simple task to set up unless you're familiar with httpd.conf.
posted by Mach5 at 5:56 AM on December 11, 2010

I believe Google is showing you visitors. I'm not aware of anywhere in Google Analytics where you can get a traditional hit rate. If you have 8 images on a page, every visitor will create 9 hits. 1 for the html or php file, and 1 for each image.

Although I'm surprised Posterous would give you a raw hit rate. I thought those went out of style in 1998.
posted by COD at 6:03 AM on December 11, 2010

Also, I'm under the impression that that Analytics tries to filter out bots, spiders, & the like. (Not sure what Posterous does.) Even if all you have is respectable search engines spidering your site, they can still be a huge proportion of all hits or visits, and even more so if some of the illicit bots & spiders are probing your site--as they seem to do as soon as it is indexed in major search engines.

All this makes it fairly difficult to tell what proportion of hits and/or visits to your site are the results of real visitors vs bots of some sort. Different ways of resolving this issue may be one reason you get wildly different answers out of different tools.
posted by flug at 7:15 AM on December 11, 2010

I use StatCounter, which is a free bit of javascript you put in your site's template. It seems to only show actual "pageloads" -- not bots or hits or anything, which I confirm by just loading the site on different computers and the #s seem to add up.

It's my understanding that Posterous would want their customers to think that a lot of people look at their site as the power of some undefined audience would keep you using their service. So they may be using "hits" (# of resource loads) and not filtering crawlers & etc.
posted by neustile at 7:44 AM on December 11, 2010

Best answer: I have a Posterous blog with StatCounter installed, and I noticed a similar discrepancy to yours. Posterous seemed to be wildly inflating the figures. I had recently started this blog and had barely promoted it at all (I only linked to it once from my other blog), yet it was showing over 1,000 hits per post. StatCounter shows my all-time "page loads" for the whole blog as less than 100.

I can't think of any incentive for StatCounter to understate your traffic. But there is an obvious incentive for Posterous to overstate your traffic: so you'll think, "Yay, my Posterous blog is really popular, I'm going to keep blogging on Posterous!" So I totally disregard Posterous's stats and just look at StatCounter (or, in your case, I'd just look at Google Analytics).
posted by John Cohen at 9:17 AM on December 11, 2010

According to this, the diff is that Posterous is counting hits through Posterous readers and RSS feeds.
posted by beagle at 9:28 AM on December 11, 2010

Response by poster: I meant visitor, not hit. I didn't realize the difference.
posted by parmanparman at 10:45 AM on December 11, 2010

google analytics will only trigger if the browser has javascript enabled for the g-a domain.

With addons like noscript, a lot of browsers fly with javascript partially or completely disabled, There are also addons that specifically disable g-a tracking.

All this traffic is invisible to g-a. Same applies to most other tracking services.

If you have a half way decent hosting provider, you should have access to your raw logs. For the truth about what really happens on your site, take a look inside there some time. G-A makes things nice and easy, but cannot give the whole picture. Missing from g-a are the script kiddies, the bots as well as some potentially interesting traffic from users who don't like to be tracked.
posted by w.fugawe at 12:32 PM on December 11, 2010

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