Tracking Tracking Tracking How much is too much

Tracking Traffic

Tracking Traffic

A couple of Observation about Tracking Traffic

How many different traffic tracking systems does one blog need?   It seems like everyone wants to track my traffic and report on it.

  • Feedburner
  • MyBlogLog
  • Google Analytics
  • Hittail
  • Woopra

These are a few that come to mind without even thinking about it.

I take a look in my footer.php and find I’ve got java scripts for tracking systems up the wazzo (sp)   and with every system that is added it seems the load time for my blogs gets slower and slower and slower.

I have a simple HTML static website that loads like a rifle shot. (only hittail on that site)   Every page, click BANG, click BANG, the page is loaded.   But the blogs.   I look down in the lower left hand corner of the browser and it can take 30 seconds or longer as I read a laundry list of URL’s passing before my eyes and most of those are tracking.

Starting today, I’m going to eliminate some of these and see if I can improve the load time on the lab and the business blogs.

Goodbye Woopra

Last in First Out. Woopra is cool, I’ll give it that.   Both times I’ve bothered to open it there was a wealth of information there to look at and digest.   It is a data junkies dream come true.   But DO I REALLY NEED ALL THIS DATA? I don’t think so.   Maybe in the beginning it was good to know how things were progressing and to look at from different points of view.

Woopra is slow enough I see it all the time in the bottom of the blogs doing it’s thing before the site can load.   It is now gone.   A couple of times a year I might miss it.

I wish there was a way to turn off tracking with Feedburner and MyBlogLog as well.   I never look at those stats.   As far as that goes I never look at Google Analytics either.   I’ve never been able to figure it out or how to set it up.   I’m not much on charts or graphs.   I do have it running on three of the blogs, but have only logged in twice this year and still couldn’t make sense of any of it.   It could easily be the next to go as well.

Hittail is the one I use daily, almost minute by minute some days.   Do I need it?   Yes, it is quick and fast and gives me the snapshot of moment by moment traffic to the various sites.

I like mybloglog visitor widget to see who has been dropping by for a quick read, but honestly I don’t NEED it on site.   I never look at the stats and finally while researching for this article found I had 61 contacts waiting for approval.   I didn’t even know I had to approve them.   Since Yahoo bought them out I think I’ve been to my account a total of Once counting today.

Diabetic Example:

Diabetics are supposed to test their blood several times a day to see how they are doing and serve as a reason not to eat chocoalte or anything which contains sugar.   A good rule of thumb, my rule of thumb, as been “If it tastes like it was pre processed by a horse it is safe to eat.”   Is it important to meter, yes it is.   But what if I had five different meters so I could see how I was doing on each and maybe find one that produced lower reading, or I just decided to take the lowest reading as “The Good One”.   I would be sticking and drawing blood 20 times a day to get essentially the same results.   It would cost me for test strips, batteries, time and Oh yeah, blood.

One metric is enough to get the job done.   There isn’t any reason for us to make our blogs load slower just so we can have one more metric of our traffic.

Time to Check the Footer

Take a look in your footer.php or where ever you put your tracking codes and ask yourself if you need all these tracking metric or are you just bleeding bandwidth from your site and making your readers wait.

BTW, they also slow down posting and editing and anything else you do on your blog as an author.   When you hit the save or save and continue button, just look in the lower left corner of your browser and see if you don’t see some of those flashing by.

Comments

  1. Dave you are starting to think along the same lines that I do about the “junk” (my fancy term) that people add to their blogs. There is little reason for it and all it does is make the visitors experience less then pleasant.

    Blogs that load slowly are quickly removed from my reading list. No matter how good the information is I am not willing to wait around 30 seconds each time I change pages.

  2. Ken,

    My thoughts exactly. I’m always looking for ways to make the blogs load faster. Even considering going back to static pages.

    But not right away : )

  3. Not sure that static pages is the best way to go for the way you use this blog, BUT there are a ton of real estate sites that are on blogs that would benefit greatly from doing so.

    What I think most bloggers forget about is navigation and ease of use for the visitor. They add all the cool junk to their sites because the rest of the cool bloggers are doing it. Then the site becomes a mess and nobody can find anything.

    Worse the site starts taking longer and longer to load (as you addressed above) and people get sick of waiting around and leave.

  4. Dave – Google Analytics is difficult to learn and interprete. After spending some time rereading and rereading and visiting the blogs, it does start to make sense.

    Load time is extremely important to the site visitor as Ken points out.

    It seems sometimes we get so caught up in the technology goodies that we forget about the site visitor’s experience.

    Sometimes I have to question how much business not traffic is brought to our sites via all the goodies.

  5. If users don’t want to visit your page b/c of load time, then analytics are a moot point. More so, the advent of “widgets” in the past few years has really taken its toll on load times. After a while, knowing what is happening on your Facebook, Twitter, Last.FM, and other pages just isn’t worth it. Glad to see you taking a stand.

  6. Glenn,

    I figure at this point I don’t need analytics. I’ve gotten along fine without them so far, they are turned on here but I never use the results. I have never seen Google slowing down the load time so I leave the code in place, but honestly don’t think I need to and anyone that isn’t using analytics has no need of the tracking code.

    Adam,

    I agree I think a lot of load time issues are widgets and plugins. Widgets next to tracking tools.

    I try out a bunch of widgets and plugins here at the lab that I wouldn’t use on my business blogs. Sometimes they creep in but I try and keep them out.

    The biggest widget I think I have to part with is MyBlogLog. It is for personal fun. There is nothing gained by my readers by having it on the sites. It just lets me know who dropped by from the “club”. Not worth the load time in my opinion.

    But it will be a part of the lab since this is just a hobby blog : )

  7. I only use one tracking system and thats Google Analytics. Too much of one thing is usually bad. But your blog always seems to load fast for me.

    Thanks
    Gymbo

  8. “It seems sometimes we get so caught up in the technology goodies that we forget about the site visitor’s experience.”

    Agents need to remember that just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

  9. Dave – think I would have a fit without knowing something about my site’s traffic. Maybe just a junkie with stats 🙂

    Ken – well said.

  10. Solid blog and I appreciate the conversation on tracking.

    I am a tracking junkie and need to get my self off of the drug. I can look at the GA charts for ever. I don’t think I could ever take that off of any of my sites. I am just addicted.

    Hit Tail is by far the best tracking software that I have come across. I have only been using it for like two or three weeks now, but cannot believe how I did with out it.

    I believe they are changing Hit Tail and it will no longer be free to new people that sign up, but all of us that all ready have it will be able to continue using the software for free. Yay us!

    I stumbled on to Hit Tail as I was learning and reading the book, the Long Tail. Good book, but once you get the concept it is a bit of over kill learning the history and following all of the examples.

    Overall, I enjoy your site and will be dropping by more frequently.

    Thanks,

    Freddie

  11. For tracking I mostly just download my log file and then upload it into different analyzer programs. It takes a little longer but it cuts down on code bloat and load time.

  12. James Wheelock says:

    I agree with this post as from what I have seen when it comes to blog loading times they have all been rising rapidly as time has marched on. This is my first blog and I have decided to only use feedburner and google analytics, which by the way slow a site load plenty on their own.

  13. I only use 1 means of tracking (Google Analytics). A lot of those others that you mentioned, I’ve never even heard of. It provides enough information that a novice like me can at least have a semi-clue as to whats going on. But you are correct, a slow loading site will turn a lot of people off. They don’t like waiting.

  14. I use gostats to track my traffic…it’s free, it’s detailed…can’t complain and haven’t really needed to use any other. 🙂

  15. I agree that too many tracking stats gum up the workings of your site, and can discourage visitors from returning due to slow load-time. I use Google Analytics and am not up to speed on all its bells and whistles but like what I do use. Minimizing the use of widgets also helps with loading a site. Thanks!

  16. I’ve just gotten into blogging and is using a fairly new blog system called Habari. I’m still confused about the tracking, the pinging and the avatar widgets. The only thing I understand is adsense. 😀

  17. @John – Hi, are you from Camas, Washington. I use to work and live in that market. Just curious how things are going back there. And wondering if there are any recent changes around my old neighborhood Parker Estates.

  18. I really like Google Analytics – great free stats programme.

  19. Lake Erie Real Estate says:

    I only use Google Analytics and the stats that google adsense give you. I think Google Analytics covers everything that is important to me. I hear web trends is all good.

  20. Charles, (Lake Erie. . .)

    I’ve stayed away from adsense on my business blogs. It might be ok to monitize your RE blog. I know if I visit a monitzed RE blog, I’m gone pretty quick. Just personal preference and it signals to me an attitude I don’t want to work with. Again, just personal preference.

    I could monitize the Lab, it isn’t looking for future clients and it certainly doesn’t provide any valuable service, throwing some money making ads on it just might help pay the bills.

    Wait, do I have any bills for this site? I better go check on that.