Fun With My Blog Stats

One of the great things about WordPress, and one of the main reasons I switched my blog over from Live Spaces, is the Dashboard.  The statistics that it shows you are really helpful in understanding what you’re writing about that people actually find useful. (Or at least click on.  There’s no beating comments for real feedback.)

I thought it might be interesting for you subscribers out there (and thanks, guys and gals!) to see which of my posts have gotten the most hits since January when I moved over from Live Spaces.  I am constantly surprised by the changes in the rankings.

Top Posts
  1. IE8 and the Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar 152 views
  2. Why Won’t SharePoint Designer Recognize IE8? 108 views
  3. Displaying the First N Words of a Long Rich Text Column with XSL 104 views
  4. “Failed to load the workflow” Message in SharePoint Designer with Vista 99 views
  5. SharePoint Web Services as Data Sources for DVWPs 93 views
  6. Rolling Up Content in SharePoint Using the Data View Web Part (DVWP) 93 views
  7. Error When Trying to Delete a Master Page: “Server error: This item cannot be deleted because it is still referenced by other pages.” 79 views
  8. Rollup Data View Web Parts Revisited 67 views

The first two posts in the above rankings aren’t very pithy at all, but talk about the fact that the IEDT is built into IE8 and an error that I’ve been getting in SharePoint Designer, respectively.  Number 3 is one that I actually am sort of proud of that gives you a nifty little XSL template I wrote.  5, 6, and 8 are posts about the trusty DVWP, which is at the core of my development interests.  4 and 7 are just little workarounds for a couple of SharePoint and Designer issues I had run into.

There are days when I see a really strange bunch of hits on some old, seemingly useless post.  For a few days last week, my post about How to Fix Recurring Meeting Workspace Error: ‘g_InstanceID’ is undefined got a bunch of hits.  I wondered if maybe there was a new hotfix or something that might have caused this error to be triggered in a lot of places, but I didn’t see any indicator for what might have spiked the interest anywhere.

If nothing else, watching my statistics points me to places where I can do some housekeeping.  A lot of my old posts don’t have tags in WordPress because I got lazy after I moved over from Live Spaces.  I also recently learned the cool WordPress trick for displaying source code painlessly from my buddy Pete Sterpe, so if a post is getting a decent number of hits, I’ll go and implement this so that the code can be more easily copied.

Even better is to watch traffic to see what all of you out there in ‘Netland might want to hear more about.  My DVWP stuff consistently gets a good number of hits, and I hope that it is helping folks out there.  I don’t post for vanity or to become famous; I really do want to provide good tips and tricks, if not downright solutions, for those of you who manage to make your way to my blog.  I love developing with SharePoint and I just want to spread the word!

If there’s something that you’re struggling with or something that you’d like me to blog about more, drop a comment on this post and let me know.

Bumping Up Your Blog Stats: A Good Thing?

I’ve been watching my blog stats go up lately with a lot of hits from and  I’ve done some research into both and I have a few opinions I’d like to share.  (Note that you can see your blog hits here at WordPress by going to your Dashboard and then Blog Stats: currently http://[your blog’s name]/wp-admin/index.php?page=stats.)

First of all, make sure that you know why you are blogging.  In other words, what’s your blogging strategy?  At one end of the spectrum (let’s call this the orange end), you may by trying to make yourself heard in the world or to impress your family or friends.  On the other end (let’s call this end purple), you may be trying to promote yourself professionally or share your genuine expertise on some topic.  On either end of the spectrum you may also want to monetize your blog, i.e., figure out a way to make money from people reading it or from hits.

Next, decide what hits mean to you.  How do they contribute to your strategy?  Does a high number of hits indicate success against your strategy?  Hits simply indicate that one of the pages in your blog was loaded by something somewhere.  WordPress (this platform) attempts to exclude hits from yourself for you, as do many other platforms.  So a hit indicates that a page was loaded by *something* (note that it doesn’t have to be a person) other than you, but it doesn’t indicate that anyone read the page.

Now that you have those two answers in mind, here’s what I think about the two Web sites above and any others that come along.  If your strategy falls on the orange end of the spectrum, then bring on the hits, baby!  You’ll want as many hits as you can get.  If your strategy is more toward the purple end, then maybe those hits aren’t so good after all.  The Web sites above (I am not mentioning them repeatedly so that they don’t “notice” this post too much) will bump up your hits, no question about it.  But if you want your blog to get you real page reads and some good discussion in the comments, then those aren’t the hits that you want.  You want real people reading the words you are putting in their browser windows.  The sites above can’t promise that (and they don’t), but they can boost your hit numbers.

In case you are wondering, my blog is more of the purple variety.  I want to (for the most part) post real solutions to real problems, generally about Microsoft SharePoint at the moment, and to help real people solve real problems.  I also want to raise the level of discourse on the topics as much as possible by making my posts as correct as possible.  Maybe I sound a little lofty or high fallutin’ or prima donna-like in saying this, but it’s *my strategy*, not necessarily yours.  You went through the mental exercise of articulating your strategy above (right?) and it probably is different than mine, which is perfectly fine.  But for me, the sites above aren’t much of a help unless they bring me a new visitor who solves a problem or someone who subscribes to my blog until they see something that does help them to solve something.