Web Statistics for Blogging Website

Web statistics

First of all, let's explain what a blogging website is. WikiPedia tells it like this: "A blog (a truncation of "weblog") is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (posts). Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page." Tools will capture website statistics.

A blogging website uses pages to organize and present information about a business and collects user feedback by adding a contact form. You can also say that blogs have articles that are organized using categories and tags. On the other hand, websites use pages to organize and display content.

The web administrator (responsible for maintaining and updating the blogging website) needs many things to run such website and one of them is the web statistics or (as Google calls it) web analytics. It tells exactly when, where, how many times people visit the site, for how long, what they do and for how long. Also it's important where the visitor comes from, what computer the visitor is using, what kind of screen, etc.

In this way the webmaster can adapt the blogging website accordingly. This is extremely important.

Statistics and Analytics from Google, WordPress, Matomo. Matomo, Piwik, Woopra, GoSquared

Web experts, Internet itself, the hosting companies advises everyone who wants to start a website, whatever it is, to use web statistics or specifically (Google) analytics.

So you open an account with Google analytics and add your site to the (very complicated) Google analytics. If your site is already on WordPress engine (and hosting like this one), you have already web statistics from the web statistics page build in WordPress.

So far, so good.

You start to add a couple of posts in your blog and see if that has any impact on your site.You wait 24 hours for Google analytics, but WordPress displays the statistics already after a couple of minutes.

You look at the WordPress statistics, and what do you see? Views: 0. Visitors: 0.

After 24 hours, you look at the Google analytics, and what do you see? Views: 0. Visitors: 0.

It changes of course when you publish your articles or blogs into the social media and search engines. Your site starts to receive visitors.

Wow! Your statistics and Google analytics shows visits! Wow!

But ...

Why do the WordPress and Google Analytics shows different numbers!? WordPress shows 13 visitors and Google Analytics shows 27! And 15 unique visitors!? WordPress statistics reports 17 pageviews and Google Analytics reports 20 pageviews.

Are those statistics accurate?????

You contact the support of Google Analytics, and what do they say? Nothing. They ignore your attempts for those questions.

You contact the support of WordPress, and what do they say? No, it suppose to be the same values!? And that's about it.

As a good, logical man (or woman), you add a web statistics package fully under your control. And guess what!!!!??????

Your web statistics package captured about 3,000% more website traffic than the WordPress statistics and the Google Analytics! But with such package you can also detect the scripts, robots, scanners, bots, hackers (trying to "sniff" your server ports).

It becomes better. You add an ad-engine to your site and display simple messages (as I do here), which refers to the site itself. They are like ads (advertisement), which are not filtered out by the advertisement blocking plugins of your browser. And what do you see? In their separate statistics of each ad you see the number of impressions. It reports 192 impressions. Each impression is a page view.

How is it possible that Google Analytics reports 20 pageviews and WordPress reports 17, but the advertisement engine reports 192? And by "accident", my own website statistics package reports 192 pageviews (by human traffic), the same as the advertisement engine!

Web statistics

But why?

The question is why are there differences between WordPress statistics and Google Analytics? And why are there so many differences between those two and my own (local) web statistics under my own control?

The support

I asked those questions to WordPress support (their manager actually). After two hours talking, I shall summarize it.

"We don't know". "Your web statics do not work correctly". What he did say was that the WordPress statistics excludes everything what's not a (human) visitor and it counts only unique visitors and pageviews. The rest is totally ignored. That information is not documented to the public.

I did the same with Google analytics. No answer. I tried 13 times and no answer, totally ignored. So I went to a bar I know that Google specialists are visiting (Corona shutdown? What shutdown?). So with a beer I found a specialist (an engineer). And guess what he said?

I shall summarize it for you (it took me three hours).

"We work with a quotient, which indicates the value of the site. If the quotient is high, we send more traffic and we cover more website statistics then if this number is low(er)."

With other words, the Google analytics isn't a reliable! Manipulative!

And why is it not reliable?

When your blog or website contains posts or articles, which are not "politically correct" according the standards of Google (or WordPress, Matomo. Matomo, Piwik, Woopra or GoSquared), you can be ensured that your blogging website will not receive (much or any) traffic from the search engines and the web statistics. Those companies collect website traffic and have your data into their databases on their computers, not yours!

My own website traffic engine has all data on this website (locally) and is under my full control. I can see what the traffic is and label or categorize it accordingly and it's real-time too. With all other engines, it takes at least several hours or a day (or longer) before the statistics are updated.

The experiment

I asked my students (thirty of them) to access the site and to browse exactly for 30 minutes. They suppose to start with the little project exactly at 20:00.

And indeed, at exactly 20:00, 26 students accessed the site (I could "see" them with my web statistics), two others accessed the site at 20:05 and two at 20:07. They all left the site at 20:30 (one left 20:38)! I could see every step they made in the site, each page they accessed, I could see how long they stayed on each page and of course what kind of computers and mobile phones they used.

The result

I waited 24 hours and looked at the WordPress statistics, and guess what? I could trace only three of them. The WordPress statistics counted five users for the day (two others from China). Google analytics indeed was able to capture more visitors from my group. All six of them (one from China, the rest from the US!???). According its data they accessed only one page and after less then a minute they disappeared. Everything else those engines ignored.

For every webmaster running a website, I strongly suggest you repeat this test with your own web statistics and/or analytics before you can truly trust your products. You'll be surprised with the results.

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