Thursday, September 01, 2005

So What Does Almost 50,000 Hits Get Ya?

Peter Winkler, who comes to us from Valley Village, CA, asks in a comment:

I'm curious about what tools you are using to determine the number of hits your site is getting. How do you know? And do you know how much time someone who views your site is spending reading it? Also, which site are you counting the hits for: the blog or the novel? It would seem that the hit count on the novel would be the most important data.

Glad you asked.

Both this site and Beyond You & Me have hit counters. In fact, the novel site has 2. One measures raw hits. You could, if you had the time, reload your browser page 10 times in a row and it would record 10 hits. But the second one is from eXTReMe Tracking, and it monitors a blizzard of facts about visitors, including who referred them, whether they are unique visitors or not, etc. So I'm carefully tracking the number of people who come to the site. That answers your question about tools, Mr. Winkler.

As to how much time someone spends on the site, I don't know the answer to that. There are tracker programs that do, like Opentracker, but those devilishly clever folks want $16.95 per month. Trackers don't answer the obvious question, though: whether someone coming to my site is staying to read, or simply looking for some dirty pictures, x-rated prose or some other pleasure. And there's a deeper question: whether nearly 50,000 hits will translate into book sales. At anywhere from $10-$16 apiece, books aren't as easy to peddle as free reads.

That, Mr. Winkler, is the frontier from which no one has yet returned. If things continue this way, we may soon find out; one solution to the problems of publishing alternative fiction is to publish it myself and take advance orders from a website. It wasn't what I signed on to do, but what the hell?


Blogger Shirazi said...

I agree with you About Me blurb.

1:50 AM, September 02, 2005  
Blogger W. S. Cross said...

Thanks, much obliged!

2:27 PM, September 02, 2005  
Blogger Peter L. Winkler said...

Thanks for the response. I don't see the hit counters. Are the results confidential? I think it would impress agents and editors if they could see the data themselves.

I use Site Meter, which is free, and which provides a pretty detailed disaggregation of the numbers, including an average time spent per visit number, which is what you could use for your novel's site.


7:41 PM, September 02, 2005  
Blogger W. S. Cross said...

I looked at Site Meter, and they do not allow "adult content." Well, Beyond You & Me is quite adult in subject matter, and I reference other sites that are adult in content, so I won't be able to follow your suggestion.

2:48 PM, September 05, 2005  

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