Jan 13 2005

I need better user statistics

I just set up FeedBurner on my site to start tracking readers.  I should have done this a long time ago (where long time = 7 days ago when I started my blog).  I’m pretty bummed with the stats that are available on TypePad.  By pretty bummed, I mean that the stats are essentially useless.  They don’t have any information on click-through nor do they tell me either what aggregators are  hitting my site (although I can see a little of this in the referrers section, which is pretty much the only part of their statistics that I find useful) and they definitely don’t tell me how many underlying readers there are for my site because they can’t surface information on how many customers each aggregator is pulling for.    I’m going to write a future
post on the vanity of blogging, but suffice it to say for the moment that I (and most bloggers that I know) check my stats pretty regularly.  Its not that I’m specifically trying to vie for a large audience (although it’s nice to know that the work I put into my site is being seen by others), but I’m still interested in how many people are reading what I’m putting out there.

So FeedBurner will help this problem, but the way its works is to essentially alias my site through their system.  That’s fine, but anyone who has already pulled my site into their aggregator won’t show up in these stats since they aren’t pulling from the aliased site (they don’t exist as far as FeedBurner is concerned).  I could solve this, I suppose, by hosting my own domain, using MovableType (or some other software) instead of Typepad and redirecting all of my site traffic through FeedBurner.  Then again, the reason I’m using Typepad in the first place is so I don’t have to do that.

I’m just venting. Brad told me the very first day I started blogging to set up FeedBurner and, as I sometimes do, I basically pushed off his advice until it became very clear that he was completely right and now I blame him for not locking me in my office until I set it up a week ago.  Seriously, though – setting up FeedBurner right away would have allowed me to capture the information I want.  By waiting a week, I basically lost information on several hundred readers that I can’t recapture until I either create my own site or until TypePad improves their stats.

So if anyone from SixApart is out there listening – sharpen your statistics and make them into something that’sactually useful for your users.

[end of rant]