Large websites count traffic. They count it. They report it. They measure page views and unique visitors. They hope and believe that attached to every view is a real pair of eyes that came to their site organically for an authentic experience. They hope and believe the reader came for their unique content.
I sat in a room with hundreds of women (mostly) at BlogHer12, one of the largest and most informative conferences surrounding women who blog and engage in social media, listening to how to engage search engines in finding their site, so readers can enjoy their writing, their projects and join in the conversation.
For five years now, I have worked for national/international website supported by advertising. I work with development and SEO teams, audience development specialists and other brains who read the metric, deep dive into analytics and report their numbers. The advertisers are just as scrupulous, looking at every number.
But I must admit, there are so many page views and so many numbers that you begin to believe it’s all interesting and real. And even if a tiny percentage are simply weird contacts via spiders or bots, it doesn’t really matter.
But, the site you are on now, if you are really here and reading it, is my own portfolio site. I have no interest in attracting advertisers. I am just sharing my work and some personal ideas. But, because I am in a blog system there are metrics attached. The server provider, FATCOW, updates the statistics monthly.
I have ranged from 2,000 page views per month to over 7,000. I assumed readers found me through Google, based on my work at Forbes.com, WorkingMother.com, ballooningnesteggs.com and now at Howdini.com. I am also published on The Broad Side and have advocated via social media for Hope and Heroes (@hopeheroes), Hat Box Foundation (@hat_box) and others. I have commented on major events and conferences (Blogher12, The Executive Women’s Conference of Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce, and others), along with mentioning events and membership organizations. As an author, my books are listed on major booksellers. And then there is LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.
So, somehow, I assumed that the world was finding its way to my Internet door.
For the first time in months, I actually opened the Fat Cow analytics beyond the first page, down to the referring domains. In all of it – all thousands of page views – only a handful were from LinkedIn, Twitter and obvious places. The rest were from bots and aggregation sites in foreign languages. How many .ru sites feed traffic to me? How many other countries is might sight listed in? I cannot read Cyrillic but there is a book cover on the site described in Cyrillic script.
So maybe my ego is shattered or maybe this is just a lesson in web 101. Metrics don’t lie but the World Wide Web is just that – world wide – and each site is just a piece of sand on an ocean beach.
So if you are reading this, I hope you find something interesting and you let me know. It’s better hearing from you than counting pages tapped by bots (whatever they are).