Stats are open again…

Note, 3-15-2010:I’m looking for a way to enable open stats on WordPress as well. Stay tuned…

GoStats, ignoring me

Every now and then I make my stats viewable, regret it, then close them again, but at any rate, limited stats for my current counter are open again; my last counter’s stats (it broke – my counters for this blog break all the time) will be open indefinitely.

It’s kind of neat to look over past stats, see which pages were most popular, try to figure out why, and so on, so if you geek out on that sort of thing, go for it. The last counter, which I probably installed in 2008 because they break so frequently, has stats going back to spring of 2006 (carried over from Sitemeter several times, since I switched back and forth through about mid-2008).

The stats are accurate within a few thousand visits and page views either way, as far as I know. When my GoStats counters break I just run estimates for the missing days based on averages for the current week and add them in myself. I try to be fair, so my figures might run a bit low, and I don’t record my own visits (Scout’s honor – not that I was ever a Scout). Also, tracking is HTML-based, not JavaScript-based, so that, too, means lots of missing stats.

GoStats has been a funny stat company to do business with. They wooed me right from a comment section of this blog back in 2007. They argued with me when I said I was a Sitemeter fan (despite the problems I had canceling a paid Sitemeter counter at the time, which I wrote about here) and they wouldn’t take No for an answer. Just to make them stop leaving comments I ran their counter and a free Sitemeter together for a while.

GoStats has great graphs and ways of breaking down your traffic that Sitemeter doesn’t have, and they offer an invisible counter for free, so I got kind of hooked. But since it takes me a long time to make up my mind (sometimes, it takes me years) and since my GoStats counters kept breaking (I have a Support Request archive as long as your arm – it’s unreal how many times my counters have broken) I kept switching back to Sitemeter.

Now when my counters break they don’t even answer my Support Requests – and I kind of don’t expect them to. I know their advice will just be to make a new counter, and they know that I know it, so I wait a few days to make sure no one responds, then I run an estimate for all my missing stats and start over.

That’s why this time there’s an old and a new counter. Normally I delete the old counter once it breaks but this time I thought, why not keep an archive? I think this year’s visits have been good, considering I haven’t promoted the site on Digg in years, and have never promoted it on Reddit, StumbleUpon, or anywhere else significant. The most promotion this blog gets is when I include the URL in a comment signature. I limit myself to relatively few sites to comment upon, and I think almost everyone knows me on those, so they’re sending me few new visitors.

All that considered, I think this blog is doing OK, and I’m glad for that, since I only want it to reach the people who actually need it (although I still dream of it somehow taking over the world the way, you know, TechCrunch has).