Are your site metrics getting you down? I mean really getting you down, depressing you each time you look? Are you measuring your worth by the number of ad clicks you got today? It’s not surprising, if you’re working for yourself online, but it’s a slippery slope into a new type of addiction that can and does cause depression.
Being a web worker is such a new profession, and the external factors preventing success so numerous, that few studies have been done regarding how website performance can cause depression. It’s unlike a traditional business, where you have a relatively greater amount of control over your forecasting your revenues.
More than a few bloggers have expressed the concern that building a stable, revenue-earning blog takes a serious commitment but can be emotionally draining, and that it’s difficult to rely on stable income. You have several factors to be concerned about:
- Coming up with fresh content.
- SE (Search Engine) “penalties”, or having your blog be ignored by SE spiders.
- Having content stolen by scrapers.
- Ranking lower in an SE than a social media site that uses your content simply because the story submitter used the exact same title.
- All of the above, simultaneously.
This sometimes fuels the need to constantly check your site metrics all day long. But unless you’re doing something about your site performance on a given day, checking your metrics obsessively is kind of like watching the proverbial kettle boil.
In other words, it doesn’t matter. Heisenberg’s Wave Equation aside, checking your metrics does not change them. All it does is give you temporary highs or lows of emotion. Here are some suggestions:
- Focus on trends over time.
- Review short/ medium/ long-term trends for your blog/site, which is far more valuable than knowing what you earned at 5 pm today.
- More specifically, use data “windows” of 30-60-90-etc days and run moving average windows on various metrics (pageviews, clicks, revenue). [This is something I’ll get into in the near future.]
- Trend information can be used to choose future actions for your blog (such as adding more content, adding specific content, changing the direction of your blog, or dumping your blog and working in another niche).
I use a combo of site metrics tools including Performancing’s PMetrics, Google Analytics, Sitemeter, and various WordPress plugins. Each has its own strength, but I really most on PMetrics and sometimes Google Analytics. I know that many people have their eyes glaze over when the subject of statistics comes up, so I’ll do my best to cover trend analysis as simply as possible, with diagrams and sample spreadsheets, in upcoming posts here at Performancing.
What do you use for checking your metrics? Do you obsess about the daily numbers? Does it help, at least emotionally, or does it make you feel worse?
I am a spaz when it comes to this. I put adsense on every page of all of my sites and then I obsessivley check the stats at least once an hour. I do not even pay attention to the earnings anymore, it tends to just be pageviews that I obsess about.
I have been doing this for a couple of years at least and it is crazy. I think the only way to nip it is to convince myself that i would be so much better served by writing an extra post, or get another few links instead of worrying about page views.
And don’t even get me started on the clickbank, CJ, AdWords, Get Response, and Joe
Bucks stats that I seem to love to check over and over again.
pMetrics — How often do you get to play spy? Way addictive and a great way to learn instantly what your visitors are looking at/for.
pMetrics Spy – tracking the real-time activity of your visitors (priceless) -> I’ve made thousands off this feature.
When I’m not checking analytics, you’ll probably find me in the Stats tab of my blog’s backoffice, or on feedburner, or on 103bees, or checking my adsense stats, or checking my adbrite stats…the list goes on. I post fresh content everyday, which can be a real strain, and yet the growth id agonizingly slow. This time could probably be better spent writing reserve posts, but I have learned some helpful things. Here’s what I’ve found stat engines are good for
Analytics – Determining the real value of social bookmarking traffic (not much).
103bees – Finding new niches through keyword research
b2evo (my blog) stat engine – Seeing in real time what pages are being visited, and which old content is still popular
Feedburner, Adsense, Adbrite – Getting a realistic yet depressing perspective
It’s inded very essential to have tools in place in order to monitor performance of different parameters of blog/site so as to gauge what’s needed to be done to improve overall output.
Very well said and eloborated.
Especially the Spy feature, which is mega addictive. That is, if you have a site with enough traffic coming in
pMetrics makes it very hard NOT to obsess given that it gives live feedback.
I try not to, but I usually wind up checking pretty often. It does help me to see when things aren’t working as well as they should be, like page views on a forum going down. But looking at the same forum each day counting the number of page views isn’t as productive to me, which I guess is the point of your post.
I’ve got awStats on my server and use Analytics as well, although I use Analytics much more. awStats gives good information, but I like the Google layout better. The best feature of Analytics for me is that it’s not updated immediately which forces me to wait between checks.
If I was going to get upset about traffic, I’d have to get some first to get upset about
I use a combination of the free version of Sitemeter, Google Analytics and the free version of PMetrics. Between them I can get a look at what’s happening right now and a good view of trends. I do check stats at least once a day but that is mainly because I’m curious. My blog is too new and too low profile to worry about whether or not x number of people visited or viewed y number of pages. I’m more interested in where the traffic comes from rather than how much (or little) there is.
I can see how it could be addictive, especially if my livelihood depended on it.
I use Google Analytics, and I check up every night just before I go off to bed. If the numbers aren’t great, it sort of casts a pall on the rest of the day! My blog is just a couple of months old, and the climb upwards is steady, but slow, which means I don’t need to check that often.