How God Screwed With My Website Statistics
A single all powerful God does not exist – it’s an absurd concept. Instead there are thousands of mini gods. Every mini god has a single responsibility and special power.
There is the god that makes sure that your dog takes a crap on the sidewalk when there are more then four people around. There is the god that makes sure that the grease stain on your shirt does not come out with tap water and hand soap. There is the god that makes sure that there is always an old lady in front of you in the ATM line.
Lately the god that makes sure that I get disappointed paid me a visit.
Every morning I check the statistics of this website: how many visitors, how much money has been earned.
This morning task is similar to pulling pubic hairs – painful and tearful. The difference is that because this website is about statistics it is something that I need to do every morning.
I have come to expect no change. The sun rises in the east and revenue is less then a dollar. Lightning is followed by thunder and a new post is followed by a no change in traffic.
But then one day I was surprised. Traffic more then quadrupled. Search engine traffic was way up, referent traffic was way up. Normally there are 150 visitors a day – suddenly there are 600 visitors.
I was so happy. Finally, the god of justice has arrived. All the hard work is paying off. The snowball is rolling – it can only get bigger and bigger. I was so happy I clenched my hands together and released a quick laugh.
But I was mistaken. It was not the god of justice that visited my website. It was my old and dependable friend, the god of disappointment.
Looking closely at the website statistics I started to notice problems:
Why Did My Website Revenue Not Increase
The first problem was that my revenue did not increase proportionaly. One would expect that if you have four times the traffic then you will have four times the advertisement clicks. Nope. According to Google Adsense the number of page impressions did not increase. As far as Adsense is concerned there is no increase in traffic. Strange.
Why Is Google Analytics Not Reporting An Increase In Traffic
Because website statistics are so important to this website I use two sources. AWSTATS which is a server based traffic tracker (means that every request to the server is tracked). And Google Analytics which is a browser based traffic tracker (means that only requests from internet browsers are tracked).
Normally there is a correlation between these two trackers. They are not the same, AWSTATS is always higher, but when one go up a so does the other.
But AWSTATS quadrupled and Goggle Analytics did not budge. It is at this point that I spotted the god of disappointment outside my door just about to ring the doorbell.
What Is My Most Popular Webpage?
Why was AWSTATS reporting such high traffic? What page was geting all this new traffic?
According to AWSTATS my most visited page this month is 404.php. This page appears when the page being looked for does not exist.
The increase in traffic was due to spam bots, not an increase in real visitors. Some jackass out there created a spambot that likes to visit my website. Since it is looking for a page that does not exist the 404.php page becomes my most popular page.
Statistic Havoc Caused By The Spambot
Because of the spam bots my AWSTATS (server side) stats have become useless. Here are some interesting but wrong conclusions based on the spambot tainted statistics.
- Number of unique visitors in July = 1882. Number of visitors in July = 14138. Therefore each visitor visited the site an average of 7 times.
- On Aug 8 there were 534 visitors and 3676 page views. Which means that on average each visitor views 6 pages per visit.
- Medical and financial sites are linking to my website.
- So far this month 40 people have found my website by searching for “earn £437 every day”.
If any of the above were true then I would be happy. But they are a misrepresentation of what is really going on. They are based on statistics poisoned by the activities of the spam bot.
Conclusion And Lesson Learnt
You can never completely avoid the disappointment god. He is diligent and will always be around. All you can do is to make things difficult for him.
Use more then one source for your website statistics.