Statistics and Lies

As a blogger and one-time student of statistics, I’m drawn to the wonderful information provided by  Just what do these statistics tell us?  Are they as reliable as we’d like?  I’m going to start by looking at the colourful map showing where visitors come from.

WP 25-03-2013 map This map shows all visitors recorded here since the blog started.  Impressive, isn’t it?  A global audience is something I had never imagined attracting.  If you’re wondering, it’s what’s called a “heat map”, the colour rising in intensity according to the number of visitors.  There are figures to go with it, indicating the actual numbers for each country.  But how meaningful is it?  What I don’t know is whether these figures include visits by Spammers.  I hate to say this, but several of the countries are known to be linked to nefarious activities on the internet.  So I have to think that there is definitely some room for caution in accepting what’s being said.

Now, having said all that, the other statistics start to carry a distinct uncertainty.  In the “TAGS & CATEGORIES” pane, WordPress advises: “If you tag your posts effectively, this panel will show you which topics get the most traffic. Snapshot generated from your top posts over the past week.”  Sounds great, but if the figures do include visits by Spammers, then it becomes difficult to assess the report.  There’s no guarantee that you’ll have a clear view of what tags and categories are genuinely drawing visitors to your blog.

There are statistics included which are more reliable.  The number of followers, for example. But even these have to be treated with caution!  They are not guarantees that such folk are active readers.   Even if they do read your posts, it doesn’t mean that they read them all.  Of all those numbers, the most reliable are those from Akismet, reporting how any potential Spam messages were blocked.

The statistics reported by WordPress may not actually be lies, but they can’t be relied upon as being the truth.  In reality, they are, at best, a rough guide to how a blog is doing.

~ Steve

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About Steve

An author since the age of 13 years, writing again dominates my activities. My "Imagineer-ing" blog is my primary site. Also: Beginner knitter since November 2010. Favourite knitting techniques: cable and lace. Beginner cross stitcher. Beginner jewellery maker. With the promotion of self publication and all the other work that has been going on here, Dad decided around 2am this morning (22/11/2013) that it was time to begin his next adventure. He was seen off earlier the previous evening by myself, my brother, my sister in law, and my sister, as well as his wife (our mum), and an enigmatic being known only as A Lorraine. After this time of story telling, laughing, crying, joking and mickey taking, we saw how tired both mum and dad were, and we decided to leave them under the (sometimes) gentle care of The Lorraine. When Dad found the timetable for his travels, he let Mum know gently, which woke her from her drowsing, then, with the same gentleness he showed in this universe, he boarded his favourite mode of transport, the Interdimensional Steam Train, and set off with a smile and a wave. For those of us closest, that smile was a reminder that his pain has ended, and the wave, an indicator that he will pop in to all those that knew him, from time to time. Usually at the most inconvenient and in opportune moments he can. While we are sad that he is no longer here, we are happy he now has no pain, and is experiencing more extraordinary things that his writers mind will be frantically weaving into a new story. Posted by Son Damien

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