I care very little about the stats for traffic on this blog. I care some and I do keep meaning to ask for access to the Google Analytics information but not enough to do a lot about it. For my work blog I do care and care a lot. Largely that is because my boss who determines things like raises, bonuses and good stuff like that cares about it. I’m not solely numbers focused so don’t get too hung up on that. But since I am also crazy about statistics I watch the numbers closely for that reason as well.
One of the things I always hoped for was that I would build up more of a regular audience. That is to say people who read regularly either by RSS subscription or hitting their favorite link. I track this a couple of ways. Analytics tools show direct traffic, referral traffic and search engine traffic. The percentage of traffic from search engines (which tends to be one offs and not regular visitors) is going down. It was 60% and is now around 50%. I also use Feedburner for subscriber information. The good news is this appears to be happing. Feedburner reports an average of over 400 subscribers (I like the 7 day average for this) for example. This is wonderful.
The bad news is that the total traffic is going down. What’s up with that? Well the clue is that the percentage of search engine traffic is down. So while I am getting more regular readers the total readership is down because search engines are sending me less traffic. And I have no idea why. Technorati shows many fewer in links than it did a year ago. I peaked there are over 100 sites linking in and now it is down to 25. Scary. Why is that? I don’t think I am less interesting. Rather I wonder if a lot of the in links were spam links and Technorati and the search engine companies are doing a better job of filtering them out. (BTW I’m seeing a good number of search engine traffic from Bing which makes me happy. Try it out if you haven’t.)
I hear from other bloggers that their traffic is down as well. Could it be that search engines are not driving as much traffic to blogs as they used to? Or are they spreading it out more? What is going on? Anyone else looking closely at their blog stats and seeing similar things?
Anyway in the short term I think I have to think about how to tell this story to my boss so as to properly set his expectations. Assigning meaningful metrics to blog activity is not a science. Some would say it is not even a good idea.