I’m sure you have experienced it. Regardless if you run a website or not, I am sure know what I am talking about. In fact, statistics are a waste of time in our lives. We follow stats at work, for the stock market, at the weather channel and I personally also follow the statistics of my blogs. We are surrounded by stats but don’t seem to be that much smarter, right? So are statistics useful or are they a waste of time?
STATISTICS ARE A WASTE OF TIME
The Problem with stats is not the data by itself but (as is the case with many things) the people looking at them. They are a waste of time because people don’t understand how to use statistics. They forget 2 very important facts:
#1 Statistics are very useful when you look at a large volume of data
#2 Statistics must be analyzed and not be taken to the first degree
In order to prove my point, I’ll share with you 2 examples (one from work and one with my business).
Stats are a waste of time example #1
I work as a financial planner in a bank. This is considered to be a “sales” job since my main task is to bring more assets under the bank’s management. We have weekly reports combined with rankings. WEEKLY STATS! So the goal is to produce long term growth in my portfolio but I am judged on a weekly basis! As is the case with any place where sales are involved, you will have some amazing weeks amongst very calm weeks. And sometimes, when you are lucky, you will get 3-4 weeks in a row with steady numbers.
So the weekly report by individual is not very useful since you need a larger sample of data (a month at least) to validate a trend. And the global weekly report is not better since it is taken to the first degree (our region had a good week or a bad week). It should be analyzed to see who is on an up trend and who is constantly not bringing in the numbers. In the end, most people take time to look at the report on a weekly basis but don’t do much with it. Therefore, this is just a big waste of time right there.
Stats are a waste of time example #2
That’s even more true with a website. How many times do you log into your Adsense account or Google Analytics to see your stats? TOO OFTEN! I actually look at my Adsense stats 5 times a day and look at my traffic on a daily basis. Sometimes, I cheat and I look twice in the day to see “how the day is going”. Then again, same results:
– I need more days of stats to see a trend
– Individual statistics doesn’t bring me anything as I just smile or frown depending on the days!
Ideally, I should look at my Adsense stats on a weekly basis (to make sure my impression works properly and that all my sites are on) and my traffic stats on a monthly basis. I’m definitely pretty far from my time optimization goal! The proof that not looking at stats work is definitely Financial Samurai who looks at his stats once every 6 months!
The good news is that I am now able to restrain myself concerning my income stats. These are being compiled on a monthly basis (accounting rules oblige) so I don’t look at them throughout the month. In the end, this would not give me more info anyway!
Here’s a trick
This is what I am going to implement as of now; when I look at my stats, I will take action on them. This means, I will not only look at my current day but look at the trends, at which sites are going well, which sites are not and use the stats to take action (tweak SEO, modify ad layouts, research other keywords, etc).
This should restrain my envy of looking at my stats since I am making a promise to myself that I will work on stats instead of wasting 5 minutes looking at them with a smile like a kid in front of a shopping mall during Xmas time!
How often do you look at your traffic stats? Do you find this time is being used properly?
Am I the only one with the stats problem?
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