Sorry if you’ve clicked on this post expecting some advice. It’s really about the apparent uselessness of WordPress statistics other than acting as a flannel to massage our egos.
Every day I look at my stats, not the bar chart that shows how many people have clicked the wrong link and ended up at my blog by mistake, but the words and numbers. I mean what is the point?
What is the point of telling me, for instance, 15 people have visited via a search engine, but then don’t tell me what the search terms were. Search engines no longer track search terms (with one or two exceptions), so I can’t make use of this information. Eight people found me using Google, one using Bing. How is that helpful?
On Sunday, four people were referred here via Facebook. To read what? It doesn’t say. They’ve been coming from Facebook for a couple of days now. Does this account for a surge in the popularity of my Ghosts of Motley Hall article? (It’s spiked in popularity.) The stats don’t say.
Last year a rock guitarist poll went through the roof. My stats gave me no clue why. It was only when Delain’s guitarist Timo Somers left a comment about him sending his fans here via his Facebook page that the mystery was solved. WordPress stats told me nothing.
The post stats are useful, but interpreting the figures is a different exercise entirely. In recent days my Arthur Daley post became popular. The death of the actor who played the character of Arthur Daley explains some of the post’s popularity. Likewise, my post on the Malandanti is a regular feature on the stats page. I suspect this is because a successful author has a series of Malandanti books and his fans are accidentally coming here.
I know the picture of Faora-Ul from Man Of Steel is popular because the stats tell me people keep clicking on that one image. (Obviously I’m not the only one who thinks she was the best feature of the film.)
I suppose the most informative aspect of the stats is the information they don’t give: no one comes to my blog via Twitter or Goodreads. No one clicks through to Amazon or Smashwords. Instead my stats suggest the blog is haunted by all these lurkers with their anonymous search terms, fans of Antje Traue and someone else’s Malandanti.
How useful are your stats, and have you used them to improve your blog’s popularity?