October 20, 2011, 6:00 am

Fascinating Findings From My Stats Experiment

by: MD    Category: Alternative Income
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Simple Spending Strategy

How often do you check stats? How much time do you spend on looking over all of your metrics?

Chances are that you won’t share the real answer. This is because we all spend far too much time on looking at stats and going over random business metrics. It’s all good because everyone one of us is guilty of spending too much time on stats.

I recently tried an experiment where I wouldn’t check my specific blog stats and I would go on Twitter once per day for a week. Meaning that I wouldn’t check where my traffic is coming from and I wouldn’t be killing time by reading random tweets for far too long. At the end of the week I would see how many visitors I had, but I wouldn’t go over the traffic sources or any other information to see what was bringing in the readers.

I picked up some fascinating findings from this stats experiment. I share them below:

[Just a quick update: Once in a while I’m going to try an experiment and then share my results here. The experiments will vary from concepts related to blogging to completely random ideas. Please feel free to suggest anything in the comments section.]

You know the deal with creating content.

Okay I’m not going to drop the terms “epic” or “passions” since I’m sure that you’re sick of them by now. Nobody sets out to write lame content or to write articles that suck.

Let’s be honest because when it comes to content we all know what we should be doing. How many of us are actually doing it? Likely very few. We get caught up with keyword research, our own egos, and writing about random stuff that doesn’t help our readers. When we focus on readers it allows us to put out content that will help solve their problems instead of filling up the internet with more content.

There’s too much noise.

For one week I decided to take Twitter off my Blackberry. The constant notifications and updates are excellent in theory. In reality I get too distracted and consumed with stuff that doesn’t matter. When I focused  on just my writing for extended periods of time I realized that I was able to get much more real work done. I was able to write more, research more, and check out my favorite blogs. Simply put, there’s way too many ways that we get distracted online. It’s phenomenal how much writing we can get done when we eliminate the distractions and focus on what we do best.

Metrics can be crushed with one outlier.

This specific week there wasn’t much that I missed in terms of stats and traffic. I did learn that traffic can completely controlled by factors far out of our reach.

All it takes is one outlier or one random event to throw off our metrics in a positive or negative direction. The recent Panda Updates from Google have dramatically impacted some blogs and their traffic. Out of nowhere some blogs had their traffic cut by some drastic amount. While working diligently to provide quality content, some personal finance bloggers were hit by the update and their traffic still hasn’t rebounded.

On the other hand, all it takes is one big link from an established blog and you can set traffic records. This random event will favor you and the beauty is that you never expected it. All metrics can truly be crushed with just one outlier.

The obvious flaw with this experiment is that I wasn’t able to see where the readers were coming from. The positive was that I wasn’t worried and distracted by the stats.

Have you ever tried to experiment with your stats? Have you ever gone without checking stats? Any cool findings?

(photo credit: john pastor)

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I am embarrassed to admit how often I check my stats. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the things I need and want to do for my site. Checking my stats [a ridiculously number of times] per day doesn’t help me focus. So, you’ve inspired me to conduct a mini experiment. I won’t check my stats until this time (9:26 AM) tomorrow (10/21/11) morning. *sigh* This is gonna be tough.

Guilty as charged!

I thought you were going to make a point about how not checking stats actually improves your traffic though and you didn’t end up doing that.

I’m sure it would improve your traffic in the long run though because focused work is always beneficial!

“I was able to write more, research more, and check out my favorite blogs.”

I’d be curious to know what your favorite blogs are!

Surprisingly, I have been checking my stats less and less often. I would check them a few times a day. Now, maybe once a day. I still check a couple stats every morning. I have seen more time to write. I wrote two posts today! One guest post and another one for my blog. I think I like this idea a lot better. More productivity.

I’ve been checking GA a lot more often lately for no particular reason…. I should cut back, but it seems harmless. 🙂
The simple dollar included my site in his roundup and my numbers shot up like crazy the past few days.

I don’t check google analytics too often even though I have some alerts set for a specific traffic level. I look at alexa all the time because it is staring me in the face!!!!

btw, simple dollar included me in a round up and I got tons of visitors as well!!!!

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I use twitter heavily. And this is because I use Twitter I recommended one of my articles to GRS who in turn re twitted the same. Three days later I am sitting with about a thousand visits on my article. GA says all direct visit. I don’t agree all of a sudden so many users discovered my blog and came by directly….god knows which site linked my content.