On November 1st, A View to Hugh quietly celebrated its 2nd birthday and during its years of life, this blog has received many visitors. So in this holiday season, we’d like to thank you for being a regular or occasional visitor. Have you ever wondered how many others of you in the blogosphere have been to this site during the first two years? Well, 323,012, if web statistics can be believed!
“How many visits has A View to Hugh received in two years?” would seemingly be an easy question to answer, but it isn’t. Let’s use an analogy to show why. You may take a trip to see family and stay with them for the holidays. If so, let’s say during your stay that you go to the grocery store, the shopping mall, church, and a friend’s house, and that each time you left each of those places you went back to your family’s house, your primary place of visitation.
When you return home and people ask you what you did for the holiday, you would likely say something like, “I visited my family”—that is, you made one trip to visit your family. But if Webalizer, a Web usage statistics program, was keeping tabs on your comings and goings, you went to your family’s house five times—your first arrival and each time you went back to your primary visitation place. Every time you entered your family’s front door would be counted as a “hit.” (In other words, if your family’s house was the home page for a View to Hugh, you made five “hits.”) So, our 323,012 total includes not only initial hits on the blog’s home page, but all hits to the home page.
Counting all those hits is useful to people managing Web servers. For those more interested in gauging readership, however, that tally is meaningless — especially since we know that it includes hits made by computers “crawling” Web sites, such as Google indexing for faster search results. To counter that hyperinflated number, Webalizer tallies “visits,” defined as “a sequence of requests from a uniquely identified client that expired after a certain amount of inactivity.” (The are a host of other issues related to Web statistics, but for fear of putting you to sleep, if you want to read more I’ll refer you to Wikipedia and Google where you may search the terms “Web analytics” and “Web statistics” some restless night).
Going back to the example of visiting your family: once you got there and entered any door, all your subsequent departures and returns, running in and out of the front and back doors, etc., would all be counted as one “visit” after you left their home and didn’t return for a predetermined length of time.
If you recorded all of your family visits over the course of your life, you could make a chart to see how they fluctuated over time. That’s what the chart above illustrates for A View to Hugh: the trend for the number of visits during our first two years (blue line) in comparison to our sister blog, North Carolina Miscellany (red line). At the end of two years we’ve surpassed 25,000 visits per month. That number is still inflated compared to the actual number of individual people reading the blog. (Ever read an entry on your computer at work then check it out again at home? There’s two visits!) What the chart does show without a doubt is the continual growth of interest in A View to Hugh, the library’s most frequently visited blog. And for that, we again express our deep appreciation to you, our readership.
P.S. If you did venture into deeper reading about Web analytics, the chart above uses the “total entry pages” calculation.
P.P.S. Happy holidays!