Thursday, 31 July 2008

What Happens To Your Blog Visitor Stats During Summer?

This is the second Summer I have been blogging and I get the sense that something seasonal might be going on with my visitor statistics. On average they tend to be lower than at any other times in the year.

I'm not sure what might be driving this. It might be akin to what we call the Silly Season and blogs like all forms of media hit a 'dry' patch during the Summer months.

Now that's an interesting thought because often I blog about events in the news, so if the news media are having trouble with inspirational ideas that would seem like an obvious connection.

Mind you I can't see how the people and events that make up the news consciously decided to take the foot off the gas in Summer, and just glancing at the BBC website there doesn't seem to be a problem with things to report. Today its headline is the gruesome story of child abuse on the island of Jersey, and there are a host of other news items.

Alternatively I was wondering if sub-consciously my mind is pre-conditioned after decades of routine to think 'yeah holidays!' and therefore my 'inspiration' and 'writing stamina' genes switch off for a while. It could of course be the 'heat' (disturbing really because that means globally warming equals lower and lower blog visitor stats)

There could, of course be absolutely nothing in it.
Most of the blog stats that are produced provide what Statistical Process Improvement experts call Run Charts i.e. they simply show the quantity of instances on a particular occasion. What they don't show are Control Charts that indicate what can be taken as 'normal variation' for a given system. This is worked out by applying standard deviation limits. What this means is that, peaks and troughs that I might have regarded as exceptional and attributable to some special factor e.g. great blog post, use of catchy title etc, are nothing of the sort! They are just what is to be expected. That said there will be exceptions and the Control Chart will highlight those.

So,in order to really focus on what blogging tactics and contexts really have an unusual impact we need to analyse our 'run stats' with 'control' stats. Anyone from Google Analytics reading this?

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