I manage a few different sites. Over the years of blogging and setting up other websites, I have been introduced to many different types of trackers to monitor the amount of people visiting a website. I have standardized on Google Analytics for everything only because the data is accurate and it shows me really what’s going on with my site.
Not all analytic tools are created equal
I have come across many sites that use SiteMeter for their analytics. These same sites brag extensively on getting 2000 – 3000 visitors a day. SiteMeter is nothing more than a hit counter and though they have some fancy graphs and technodribble, they really do not provide real data on unique visitors.
SiteMeter makes no attempt at hiding this and says so on their own blog: “SiteMeter does not currently track Unique Visits/Visitors. Our measurement is defined as a Visit. The basis of this measurement is calculated on a 30 minute time period, from the last page viewed.”
Now for the uninformed, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but I’ll explain. There seem to be a lot of implausible blog traffic numbers floating around lately. Part of the problem is confusion between “visits” and “visitors.” If I visit the Contra Costa Times 10 times on a given day (which is not unusual), that counts as ten visits but I’m still only one visitor.
Many blogs run with that same mentality and actually brag about high traffic numbers when in reality these are just the same dozen people visiting the site over and over again. Some blogs get an influx of 10-20 comments after a new post is made and in order to see new comments, you need to refresh the page which using SiteMeter counts as another “visit”. There are some sites that I’ll hit refresh on 30-50 times a day to see what new thread has been created on any given topic, that doesn’t mean that 30-50 people have come to the site.
The reason I post this is simple. If as a blog owner you are going to brag about the 3000 hits a day you get to your site, make sure you know what you are talking about. If you are a site owner and know this, you are lying to your readers. Use a tool that will show you true metrics of unique visitors. Google can, SiteMeter cannot.