Feed The Burn

I started blogging back in 2001 primarily as a hobby and have continued doing so to this day. At times, I’ve considered adding ads to the site in order to try to recoup some of the costs associated with hosting fees, domain registrations, etc., but in the end have decided against it. While I primarily blog as an outlet for my writing instincts, I have often wondered who, exactly, is reading the wonderful flowing prose piffle I call “content”. I initially joined The Truth Laid Bear’s Blogosphere Ecosystem (and Sitemeter in order to meet the Ecosystem’s requirements) to see just how many people were linking to my site (answer: not very many). However, I felt as if I was getting an incomplete picture of my “typical” reader, so in the interests of finding out just such information, I’ve installed a couple of useful WordPress plugins in order to get a better handle on who exactly is accessing my site.
First off is this Google Analytics plugin which painlessly inserts the Javascript necessary to track visitor hits into my pages’ headers. Why did I join with Google’s stats program if I already had Sitemeter serving that function? Simple: Analytics provides a far more detailed breakdown of my traffic patterns than Sitemeter does, at least without my having to pay. I’ve left the SM stuff in place so that my Ecosystem rank doesn’t get affected, but for the most part, I’m going to be counting on Analytics to help me understand where my readers are coming from.
Feedburner logo
The second plugin is Ordered List’s Feedburner plugin, which allows me to seamlessly redirect all of my feed hits to my unified Feedburner feed. While Analytics tracks all hits made to my site via web browsers, it can’t track all the hits I receive on my feeds, nor can Sitemeter. Both rely upon Javascript to send stats back to their respective motherships and feed readers can’t be reliably depended upon to interpret/execute JS successfully, so I turned to Feedburner to help me get a better handle on my feed stats. The stats I get back aren’t as detailed as the GA or SM stats (no IP addresses or referrers, for instance), but they do give me overall readership numbers and an idea of the various feed reading tools that people are using to access my content. Additionally, whereas in the past, I had to maintain up to four separate feeds, the new Feedburner feed is a unified “intelligent” one, meaning that a web browser, an Atom-, RDF-, or RSS2-compliant reader or even a WAP browser can all hit a single URL and be served up information in a format that’s accessible from their platform, with no worries on my part.
I’ve tried running my own stats packages in the past – BAStats, StatTraq and WP-Stats, as well as all manner of Apache log parsers and, when it comes right down to it, the WP plugins slowed down my site and I was sick of walking through logs myself, so I’ve been more than happy to hand that off to someone else. Sure, I lose some granularity in stats, but I’m willing to do so in order to spare myself some headaches.
So what does this mean for you, good readers? Well, if you visit this site with a web browser, nothing. The site will remain the same to your eyes. To those of you hitting here via feed readers, you will notice the addition of email, del.icio.us and Technorati links to the bottom of each feed entry. Other than that, precious little will change.
Thanks, as always, for stopping by.

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Doug
Husband & father with youngins; Presbyterian; Will devops for boardgames; Dadjoke Enthusiast; Longtime WordPress user; The failure mode of “clever” is...

7 Comments

  1. I probably count as 3 users, since I hop between IPs all day.

  2. I applied for Analytics so we’ll see how that goes.
    I downloaded and activated FeedBurner but I can’t seem to figure out how to create an account and edit whatever file it says to in the readme. Any help?

  3. DOH, and i signed up for a gravatar like 3 days ago and uploaded the image. They said I would get an email confirming that I could use the image and I never did and it doesn’t appear to be working.

  4. Hey, can you help setting me up with the gravitar thingy?

  5. […] Feed The Burn at Literal Barrage Says: January 21st, 2006 at 5:17 am […]

  6. Yeah, ummm, Akismet seems to have fallen down on the job today, for some bizarre reason. A LOT of those types of comments have made it through. Dunno what’s going on…

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