My WordCamp 2010 Breakaway
WordCamp Philippines 2010 was nothing short of awesome. And yes, this is a very belated entry.
This year’s WordCamp Philippines found me babbling about WordPress statistics at the Advanced Track for the breakaway sessions – talking more about bananas and the tumbok shape of normal distributions more than anything else relevant – but I’m writing this post for the benefit of those who:
- Were not able to attend my WordCamp breakaway;
- Agreed with Bariles’ opinion of me being a rockstar at night (although the rockstar should still be Matt Mullenweg), or;
- Attended my WordCamp breakaway but just weirded out by my incoherent mumbling, and making suggestive gestures with a bottle of drinking water.
The two-banana analogy is useful here: say, I want two bananas. I can get two bananas from the same bunch, or two bananas from different bunches. The same is true with blog statistics: one can get statistics from one source, or statistics from two sources. For all intents and purposes, I’m a two-sources guy. Whenever I get the chance, I get my sources from as many sources as possible.
Don’t get me wrong: personally, I don’t spend a lot of time reading statistics, but that doesn’t mean I don’t give a hoot about statistics. When I put my statistics in a larger frame of context, a blog is not – in Ayn Rand’s words – the motor that will change the world. Many factors come into place: spam bots, crawlers, passers-by, and the great majority of the world’s population not having access to the Internet.
Statistics help taper content, making sure that I write more about things relatively meaningful for my audience without sacrificing the freedom to write about whatever the hell I want to write about. For those into earning and events, it’s helpful to suggest that the people behind paychecks or PR probably look at your stats more often than you do. Statistics are useful where they’re useful: if you don’t find much use for ’em, you may want to make the task less rigorous and less religious.
Quite a number of people asked me – and continue to ask me – about what is the “most reliable tool” for measuring traffic. Some people swear by Google Analytics – which kind of turned off some of the attendees when I said WordPress Stats is usually sufficient for a parenthetical overview without having to dig through potential TMI (like putting everything in array, plotting it, and measuring deviation) – but it really all depends on how much time and effort a person is willing to expend on reading through data. I don’t know how this all comes together with Misty’s view on things, but let’s leave it at that.
The general rule, for me, is to have both sets of data on hand, weed out the possible sources of unwanted traffic, and take an average that’s slightly below the total value: giving weight to the preferred source of statistics. I myself would give more weight to results from WordPress Stats, having that discipline necessary to visit my blog only when I’m logged on to either. That would give at least 10% more weight to WP-Stats for me. For people like Mabelle, that would give around 60% for data she scores on Feedburner/Analytics, 25% for WP-Stats, and the rest for other sources. Again, I need to underscore the need to standardize measurement in the Philippine context… but that’s another story.
As far as “measuring traffic” goes, it is once again dependent on whether you see traffic as a liability or a potential asset: at the end of the day, what matters is that you have the insights necessary to realize and materialize conversion; untapped traffic, more often than not, makes blogging a chore.
Anyway, that’s enough babbling. I’d like to give shoutouts to Avatar Media and the rest of the WordCamp Philippines organizers, my fellow speakers and bloggers, and all the attendees who put up with the meandering discussions of a long-haired guy in an Iron Maiden shirt.
* – Photo credits: Sarah Cada