Real Estate Blog Traffic, How Many Hits Should I Expect ?

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Blog Visitor Statistics – Don’t Drink The Kool-Aid

At Bloggers Connect 2007, a woman from the audience during the panel I spoke on (Show Me The Leads) asked a great question.

A question that I hear everyday.  A question that I know every new and soon to be blogger is asking: “How many hits should I expect to get to my blog?”

I was surprised to hear the answer by one of the panelists:
“After a couple of months, you should be getting a couple of thousand a day.”

As far as I know, based on most statistic metric counters, there are only a handful of blogs in the real estate blogosphere that can boast that they are generating visits in the thousands per day.
Statements like these are reckless and misleading.

There is a need for a common measure of traffic to a website, and that measure should be that of the “unique visitor”.  Where the (ahem) confusion lies is in the distinction of the following:

Visits – The instance of someone coming to your site.
Hits – The instance of anything visiting your site.
Page Views – The instance of someone clicking on a page in your site.
Impressions – The instance of your site appearing in a search result.
Unique Visits – The instance of someone coming to your site once, in a limited time frame.

Because all of the above represent some sort of traffic measure to your site, the answer to the question above can be leveraged by using any of them.  However, the question that the novice in the audience was hoping to have answered was “How many people can I expect to visit my blog?”  We all knew exactly what she was asking.

Let me show you an example:
Tomato Client, Gena Riede: SacramentoRealEstateVoice.com operates a well visited blog.

Google-AnalyticsGena’s statistics as recorded by: Google Analytics, Sitemeter and Webalizer
This past week: 8/3/2007 thru 8/8/2007

Visits according to Google Analytics: Ave Visits: 217 per day
230, 198, 199, 247, 209, 219

Page Views according to Google Analytics: Ave Pages: 547 per day
490, 567, 534, 579, 547, 566

sitemeterVisits according to Site Meter: Ave Visits: 213 per day
226, 194, 196, 243, 205, 215

Page Views according to Site Meter: Ave Pages: 537 per day
480, 557, 525, 568, 537, 554

webalizerVisits according to Webalizer: Ave Visits: 933 per day
886, 949, 968, 1005, 871, 919

Page Views according to Webalizer: Ave Pages: 2412 per day
2289, 2323, 2270, 2453, 2635, 2503

(And the most fantastic stat of them all)
Hits according to Webalizer: Ave Hits: 14,586 per day
14440, 14574, 12565, 16247, 14992, 14697

OK – so what’s going on here?

Why are Google Analytics and Sitemeter so close, but Webalizer so much higher?
Well, it’s not perfectly easy to explain, so if you need to know, read on carefully and I’m sure the rest will pan out in the comments.

There are only a handful of blogs in the real estate blogosphere that can boast that they are generating visits in the thousands per day.

As explained by an expert from an Official Google Analytics Expert Consultant:

“Google Analytics [and Sitemeter] are JavaScript page tag based web analytics programs.”

Your “visits” are going to be IP address generated only.  The default window for a unique IP visit is 30 minutes.  This means that humans are the only “visit” being counted.

However,

“Webalizer is a log-file based analytics program.  Webalizer will track everything that hits your site, SE bots, page scrapers, translation bots, and much more leading to vastly inflated numbers of irrelevant visitors.”

Webalizer Terms Explained

So what’s my answer to our novice’s question?  “It depends.”
Your site’s traffic will depend on many factors:

Location, Topics, Networking, Marketing, Participation, Frequency, Talent, Reputation, Etc.

The better answer is:

If you are serious about blogging, and aiming to make it a valuable effort, then you should aim to always be improving your reach.  Your “visits” should grow steadily because of your tenacity, improvement and experience.

And the reality is, almost all of us will never experience thousands of “unique visits” a day.