How God Screwed With My Website Statistics

Written On Day: 588
Hand of God

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.
    Website Statistics.JPG
  • 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.

Are You Really Working Hard On Your Blog? Or Do You Just Think You Are?

Written On Day: 553
Work Hard

You hear it all the time – to become a successful blogger takes a lot of hard work. Seems logical enough, like everything else in life, if you want something with big rewards then it will take hard work.

To become the CEO of a large corporation is hard work. To become a movie star is hard work. To write a book that becomes a New York Times bestseller is hard work. And so of course, to become a successful blogger takes hard work.

But what does hard work mean? To dig a six foot hole in the desert sun is hard work. To carry a piano up ten flights of stairs is hard work. To copy the entire dictionary under candle light is hard work.

So when the advice is: to become a successful blogger you need to do a lot of hard work – what does that mean?

What Most People Think Hard Work Means

Some confuse hard work with time. They believe that doing something for many hours a day means that they are working hard. They say, I have been working so hard – I work on my blog from 7pm to 1 am every evening. For them hard work means spending a lot of hours working on the blog.

Then there are those that believe that simply doing something, anything, relating to the blog means they are working hard. They do not specify what they are doing because it is not important. They say: I am always doing something to my blog therefore I work hard.  For them it is important that they are working on the blog and irrelevant what they are doing.  If they are doing something to the blog then they are working hard.

Finally there are those that think working hard means finding the time to work on the blog amongst all the other things that need doing throughout the day.  They have a full time job, 2 kids, and a dog with a broken leg.  Their days are busy at work, feeding the kids, and rehabilitating the dog.  The fact they also manage to work on their blog for 2 hours a days means that they work hard.

Spending lots of time on your blog, doing something to the blog and being a busy person does not mean you are working hard.  Working hard by carrying a heavy rock up a mountain everyday for 6 hours a will not help you become a successful blogger, neither will these forms of working hard.  They seem like hard work, but they are not and so will not increase your chance of having a successful blog.

What Does Hard Work Really Mean?

Working hard has nothing to do with how much time you spend on your blog, or how busy you rehabilitating your crippled dog.

Working hard means doing things that are hard to do. To succeed with your blog you need to do the things that most people do not do because they are hard.  Most people are lazy and gravitate towards the easy road – most people have failing blogs.

Everybody can change the background color, leave comments on other blogs, visit forums, submit low quality articles.  Doing these things might help your blog a little bit but they will not make you success.  Becoming a successful blogger is hard work – if you are doing easy things then you will not succeed.

Think of the thing that you keep putting off.  The thing that you know you should do but always find an excuse to do something else – something easier.  That thing is the hard work.  That’s the thing that will increase your chance of becoming successful.

By doing actual hard work, work that most people do not do, you raise yourself above the masses.  Most people would rather spend the whole day leaving comments on blogs, then spend 2 hours doing concentrated and mind twisting work.

Writing a guest post is an excellent example of real hard work.  Guest posts have to be good or they get rejected.  You have to think, write, rewrite, rethink.  Not everybody can write a post good enough to be accepted.  Its hard work and easy to avoid doing.

Writing comments on other people’s blogs is simple cruise control work.  No thinking required.  Read the post, something pops in the head, spit it out and hit submit.  No risk of rejection.  No stress.  Its so easy anybody can do it.  And that is the problem.  Leave comments on blogs if you enjoy it, but do not consider it as working hard on your blog.

Fortunately differentiating between imagined hard work and real hard work is not difficult.  Just ask yourself, I am doing something that most bloggers do not do because it is difficult?  If the answer is yes then you are really working hard and the rewards will come.

Any Comments?