Recently I've been experimenting with Blog Explosion...
...and Stat Counter. Here are my thoughts.
First of all, the two programs do fundamentally different things. Blog Explosion, as probably at least half of my visitors know, is a website/community that helps drive traffic to your blog. (If you're not using BE, click on the link in this post and sign up for it...you will get a lot more traffic to your blog).
Stat Counter provides free tools like a visitor counter, statistics, message boards, and other tools for websites.
Where the two converge is in the area of tracking statistics. While Blog Explosion offers site stats, it is limited to visits within the BE community. This was not clear to me when I signed up for it, and I was somewhat baffled when I was told that 100% of my visits came from BE.
Looking for something a bit more robust, I signed up for Stat Counter's free system, and have a greater sense of who is coming to my site, where they are coming from, when they are doing it, and how long they stay.
According to BE, I had 449 unique visits, 100% of them coming through Blog Explosion (later I learned from their tech support that they only track within their community, which leads me to wonder why they offer the statistic in the first place).
According to Stat Counter, I've had considerably more people coming to my site (over 800 unique visitors during my first week using the counter), from various sources (the chief ones being TJ Allard
, Bitter Daze
, the Moderate Voice
, and Google searches).
So lesson one
is that if you want a more accurate count on the number of people using your site, you cannot rely on Blog Explosion.
, however, is that BE is very effective at what it is designed to do, which is bringing visitors to a blog. Stat Counter confirmed, although with slightly different numbers, that traffic was coming to my site. In addition, Stat Counter told me a good portion of my blog traffic was coming from the "view member logs" button on BE.
Viewer length (above) is a demonstration of the kind of detailed information you can get from Stat Counter.
from my Stat Counter experience, specifically from the viewer length feature it provides, is that BE members don't tend to stay for very long. Based on only one week of tracking (which is not a good enough sample), it's possible that only one out of every 100 viewers might stay later than 30 seconds and ever come back. It is a judgement call for one to decide if that ratio is worth it, or if building traffic more organically is the better way to go.
Blog Explosion stats (show above) are presented well, but do not show the full viewership of your site.
is that BE, and blogs in general, is a global experience. Stat Counter sites have shown that people from countries all over the world, including countries as diverse as the UK, Greece, Serbia, Columbia, Kuwait, and Japan are using the service. While the vast majority of the traffic comes from America, we should all be aware that what we write has global consequences. How the world views America may in some part due to what we write in our blogs. Considering some of the stuff I've seen via blog explosion, that can be scary.
is that Google is a very powerful search engine. I recently posted stories on TJ Allard
, and Oliver Stone's Alexander
, all of which have brought traffic to this website through Google. In fact, if you do a search for "Nominal Me"
on its engine, I'm the #1 choice. These visitors tended to stay longer and explore more than your average BE viewer, but there was much less of them.
So what does this all mean in terms of buliding a website? Services like BE are great, but the best way to build traffic is by writing interesting stuff and building a fan base organically.
The real power of BE is based on your own interest level. Do you really like blogs? Do you like exploring other people's lives and ideas? If so, you will find great stuff out there, and BE is a great place to find it.
If you want better information on who is coming to your site, then Stat Counter is a great place to go.
In the process of really looking at other sites, and finding gems, your website's traffic will grow as well.
In the end, it's not about the 100 people coming to your site for 30 seconds, it's the one that will stay much longer.
[This being said, Stat Counter has been down for a 24 hour period. It's very frustrating, but in the long run the service is worth it.]
a blog entry on Blog Explosion's features.
is a link to Blog Explosion.
is a link to Stat Counter.