The Vault Regulars

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Do you check stats

 Last week when i was out with the East Lancs Plodders, i got chatting to Martin Bamfield about blogging and the why's and wherefore's of stats.
I look at stats occasional but not that often that it makes any odds to what i put in my next post. 
 Martin asked if i looked at what posts readers refer to most, which i didn't. I had no idea whatsoever. I had never actually looked at that statistic.
 He bet that readers looked at gear reviews more than walking topics. I couldn't argue against that assumption but i hoped that it might be 50:50. 
When i got home i checked out Martins assumption and was a bit shocked to see he was absolutely right. It wasn't even a close run thing.

 So for all readers who poopah gear reviews, take a look at the above stats. 

 I am not sure whether readers are saying they like gear reviews better or that more people search google and other search engines for gear and my blog gets highlighted. What ever the reason is, of which i have no control, i hope readers do find it interesting.

 It would be interested to hear what other bloggers think and how their posts are performing in respect of the Gear v Trail.

BTW Martin, it was September '09 the first post. Doesn't time just fly.


Martin Rye said...

Top 2 for me are the Trailstar post and then Insights into reducing pack weight. You know I am anti light kit and the like according to some , yet write about reducing pack weight :)

Alan there are those who connect with your blog and those that come for one thing. Kit will get visits the rest will be the ones you want to connect with. They value your trip reports, views and what you are up to.

AlanR said...

Hi Martin, You write what you want and people either like it or they don't. I think any article about reducing pack weight is a valuable read whether it's called light kit or something else.
There are folks who read my scribblings who's opinions are that doing kit reviews, in some way detract or lower the standing of the blog. I disagree. My gear reviews are only done after i have asked stringent questions of the supplier of the kit. I try in the main to have given the kit a good testing although i do do the odd "out of the bag" first thoughts. I think i have enough experience to know what i am talking about. I did hope that some trail posts would have made it into my top 10, but i suppose that's the nature of stats.

Hendrik M said...

Gear Reviews get most views because people research kit online before going shopping, so it is a valuable source of information for people before they spend their money on it. Often they come to your site because of a gear review, but return for the trip reports et al.

My most popular post? The interview with Fritz Handel from BushBuddy! Then my Russia trip report and also the first Nordic Lightpacking trip report get still a lot of views, on the gear front the MSR Hubba HP is still often read.

AlanR said...

I agree Hendrik. Just like others, i check gear reviews before i buy. I don't have the cash to make mistakes or to buy just for the hell of it. Its good your trip reports are high.

Martin Rye said...

Kit reviews do not lower a blogs standing. I always like kit reviews as long as the person got out and used it. Not riding a bike to work telling us a jacket is good for the mountains. But kit will score high. Also its how google ranks stuff and the like that will bring traffic to a blog. But in the end chasing stats is boring.

AlanR said...

Shows you what i know. I definitely don't chase stats and i don't have a clue about google ranking stuff.
I meant lower the blogs standings in some peoples eyes not necessarily from a statistical point of view. Just thought i had better make that clear.

Phreerunner said...

Interesting. I think it's the subject matter that attracts people other than 'friends and family'. Visitors come mainly via Google, I think.
By far my most visited page (2,600) is one about the Dales High Way. I think that's because of a link from the Dales High Way website. Then come a boot review and then a rucksack review. 4th is my entry about a missing hillwalker. The rest of my top 10 comprises two more gear reviews, two walk reports, a bike ride around the Cheshire Ring, and my posting about the traditional birthday celebration for a Maltese one year old, which incidentally also includes the only blog photo I have ever sold.
So with 4 out of my top 10 being gear reviews that's 40%, whereas gear reviews comprise roughly 2% of all my postings.
Much as I thought, Alan, not that I'm really bothered, but those stats could be used by suppliers of free gear to justify their marketing strategy (or not, in the case of critical reviews).
Martin B

Anonymous said...

Hi Alan. My top two pages are my TGO Challenge index pages for 2011 and 2012 but they've been linked to on other sites and are bound to get a high number of hits. The next three pages on the "hit list" are all kit reviews, and I've only written a few of them - so they get a much higher percentage of my site visits than I ever expected.

Phreerunner said...

What constitutes a 'page visit' may be a moot point. Google stats give me over 10% more page views than Statcounter. A further (very rare) scrutiny of the 'Traffic source stats' indicates that over 25% of all my page views come from Google searches. So arguably site popularity is as much an indication of how interesting is the subject matter in respect of searches as it is an indicator of regular viewers, who may not be recorded if they simply use Google reader to view the sites they follow.
We are small beer however compared with some sites that get as many visitors in one day as we have had in the lifetime of our 'hobby'!
Martin B

AlanR said...

Very thorough Martin. I think i can go back to what i thought originally, Stats are pretty meaningless and apart from the milestones of total hits, which i suppose is just a nice number to see every day, i will resist the temptation to get obsessed. I don’t really care. For me, the comments i get are far more important.
But what i do find strange is why people take the trouble of “Following “ the blog but never make a single comment. It’s about communication.

AlanR said...

I’m glad your TGO pages are top Gibson and then i expect your listing is much like mine.

James Boulter said...

Just checked my top ten posts and thankfully only three of them are gear posts. Funnily enough the number one is my 'Gear' tab, people must be a bit disapointed as there is nothing really in it and its way out of date! I may even delete it and replace with a TGO Challenge tab at some point. My trip reports page for backpacking gets a lot of hits now.

As a blogger and reader of blogs I find gear posts very tedious to write and even more tedious to read. The only time I will read gear posts is if I am researching a specific bit of kit. Otherwise if a gear post comes up in Google reader I simply delete it.

The two posts of mine that get the most Google search hits are a backpack I did across the Rhinogs and a day walk above the Chew Valley. They seem to get a steady trickle all the time now.

AlanR said...

Hi James,
My view on gear posts differs from yours James. But if all our blogs were the same format it would be boring.
Posts about the gear i make myself, i particularly love posting and sharing.
Gear that is sent to me for review varies depending on my own interest in it although if a company has sent me an item to review i will do the best i can to give a fair assessment. Good or bad.
I also like to find pieces of kit that's not mainstream and probably the majority of readers have not seen before and therefore again i love to share that information.
I hope that's why my gear hits are high on the stats.
The Rhinogs are in a fantastic walking area and i think we might be going there in March.

Anonymous said...

Hi Alan, it's Judith not Gibson. I think he's "a foot in" and I'm "around" the hills. Wordpress and Blogger never speak nicely to each other.

James Boulter said...

Indeed Alan, its good that there are a wide range of blogs out there with different formats. We don't all buy the same newspapers!

I agree on the non mainstream kit reviews, far more interesting that a review of a bog standard fleece for example. Your stats speak for themselves, you are definately doing the right thing to continue drawing people back to your blog.

AlanR said...

I appreciate that James. Thanks

-maria- said...

I occasionally check my stats (only the ones that Blogger provides, nothing more sophisticated). By far my most visited page is about the Cumulus sleeping bag. It gets a considerable amount of hits each week even if the blog otherwise was hibernating. So it must be people searching for information before they buy (or people who are just daydreaming, like I sometimes do).

On the other hand it seems that there are some subscribers to my blog as well because after each update there is a peak in the stats. The readers seem to be mostly from Scandinavia, UK, Central Europe, Russia and the US. But I agree with you: I value comments, and would gladly receive more of them. I try to leave comments when I read something I like but sometimes get frustrated when the communication is only one-way (no response whatsoever, not even in the author's own blog).

My biggest problem with my blog are the long breaks every now and then. Once again I try to keep it updated regularly and may end up writing more gear reviews if it seems there is nothing else to write. While the life is busy at the moment, and much of my spare time goes to supporting friends who have great sorrows in their lives/a lot of things going on, the blog and belonging to a network of outdoor bloggers also gives a lot of energy.

While the stats are not that important and sometimes months can pass without me checking them, they have kept the blog from dying: as I see there are visitors even in the silent times and peaks when I update, I still see a purpose in keeping the blog alive. Without any readers there would be little point in writing a blog. (It turned out to be a lengthy comment!)

AlanR said...

Thanks Maria, I don't mind lengthy comments. Your blog is excellent and your walks are fascinating. As somebody who doubts if he will ever get to Finland, i always enjoy reading yours and other bloggers from there.
I am jealous of the way that your mountain organisations look after walkers in the way of huts, wood etc etc. And they make no restrictions either as far as i can tell.
Keep up the good work.

Oldmortality said...

For what it's worth, the pattern seems to be the same even on my own ultra-low traffic blog. This may seem surprising, as I tend to take a tongue-in-cheek attitude to gear reviews. Indeed my most read post by a long way was what might be described as a "spoof" gear review, and my top ten includes posts where I whimsically included a reference to "Gear" in the title although the subject was actually something else !
Make of that what you will.
Or not

Anonymous said...

OM, mine is also a low traffic blog, but the 'most visited' stats surprised me: I'd never looked at them before, in fact I rarely visit my own blog - to be honest, I find it a bit dull. My all-time top 3 were a very early (and short) piece about a sudden spell of winter weather, a rant about Donald Trump and a quick rundown of the Severn Valley Railway autumn diesel gala. Fourth place was a gear review - the Golite Peak.

Some of the pictures from the diesel gala made their way onto places on the web I'd never heard of. By what means I have no idea.

afootinthehills said...

It might be a low traffic blog Dave, but it's high quality and that's much more important in my view.

I don't check stats either.

Anonymous said...

You are a very nice man, x

AlanR said...

I like your wit. I laugh often.
You are right about the Berghaus gear but i agree with what Martin said about why he thinks Berghaus media are bombing the blogsphere.
Its funny how spoof posts get good hits. I did one in New Zealand and couldn’t believe what happened.

AlanR said...

Woops. Apologies Judith. I must start wearing my glasses when i reply from the phone.

AlanR said...

Hi Oss,
Yes that has happened to me too. Numerous photo’s have ended up in tourist literature. The odd company have asked if they can use pics but the majority just nick them. Wrong.

You have a good blog, i must say.

markswalkingblog said...

Alan, my most popular two posts are gear posts. One is a long term review of the Vaude Power Lizard tent and the other a review of the Hilleberg Soulo. There are more readers of these two posts from other parts of Europe than the UK, maybe reflecting the popularity of these brands on mainland Europe. A lot of my gear posts seem to be high up on Google rankings, so I guess that is what drives traffic to my site. Gear reviews will help your stats, but that is not why I write them up.

AlanR said...

Thanks Mark, same here.

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