Hoboken411 Tech Zone: Web Stats

12/1/2010 Update:

Hoboken411 Traffic Milestone

Hoboken411 reached 90 million total pageviews last month! And traffic for 2010 has already surpassed 2009’s figures by over 30%.

8/27/2010:

A little “geek talk” this morning. With Hoboken411 being online for 1600 days and serving several million pageviews to readers each month, I’m happy to share some insight about the web stat-tracking world…

Tracking your online presence and reach

One great aspect of the internet and technology surrounding it – is the fact you can see what and who your audience is. By using one of many website statistic tracking applications available (such as Google Analytics), you’re able to delve deeper into who you customer is, what kind of technology they’re using, how long they visit and what pages are popular.

All this statistical information means different things to different people. Online shops, for instance – can use these tools to determine which advertising campaign resulted in the highest “conversion” to sales. That is probably one of the single most important reason to use an analytic application. Other sites also use this information to inform potential advertisers what their reader demographics are, where they come from, and more.

Having your own customized code installed on your web server is the only way to accurately track your reach.

Alexa and other traffic sites & toolbars

Back in the day (well over five years ago), browser “toolbars” had a brief moment of popularity. Everyone and their brother developed one – AOL, Yahoo!, MSN, and countless others – including a company called Alexa. It didn’t take too long (in respect to the technology world) for many computer users to realize that these toolbars were a giant waste of time. They slowed PC’s down, often allowing spyware and malware into your system.

The reason many of the big online entities such as Yahoo! and MSN developed these toolbars, was to keep readers within their network. Easy access to email, a built-in search bar, and the like.

Today’s modern browsers (like Chrome or Firefox) essentially limit any necessity for a toolbar. Alexa’s hook was to try and develop some kind of global statistic collector – so that website traffic could be compared, and so on. The problem is – everyone needed to have this virus-infected toolbar installed on every computer they owned in order for it to be of any use.

Since hardly anyone uses this Alexa Toolbar – the statistics are downright inaccurate. If one out of a thousand computer users have it (and even that’s a stretch) – how can they tell what the other 999 web-surfers are doing? It’s a flawed science, hands down – especially in localized, niche markets. So most people don’t care to use this fruity toolbar, because no one cares what kind of traffic the sites that they read get. Content is king.

If you still think Alexa is in any way accurate, just Google the words “Alexa Inaccurate” and see how many hits you get. If the data was accurate it would be valuable. Alexa stats are absolutely worthless. Don’t take anyone who cites Alexa statistics in their discussion seriously. They are obviously uneducated amateurs.

Google Analytics your best choice

Lastly, there are many free and premium stats packages out there – and Hoboken411 has dabbled in quite a few (for performance testing, and more.) None of the “free” packages were any good, because I exceeded the monthly traffic before day number one. Other “start-up” tracking companies showed great promise because of incredible feature sets – but were unreliable for a production server environment.

In the end – Google Analytics, while not the most comprehensive service, is still the fastest and most reliable if you like keeping track of general statistics.

I recommend it for any small business in Hoboken that has an online presence. And feel free to email me at Hoboken411@gmail.com if you have any questions or are looking for advice – and I’ll try my best to help!

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1 Comment on "Hoboken411 Tech Zone: Web Stats"

homeworld
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Alexa is just as accurate as the Neilson TV ratings, in other words, not accurate at all.

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