Because I need to write this down.
Web server stats are inaccurate and misleading. They do not tell you how many people view the content on your web site in a given month, in a given day, or in a given year. There are only two things web server stats are good for:
- A number to show managers who tell you, "I need to see numbers to determine how synergized our forward-looking web costumer relations vision is!!!"
- Determining server load.
Many web savvy users use news aggregators, like Bloglines, to consume content. Using such software, the viewer never actually visits your site. The software does but not the reader of the content. In the case of Bloglines, 9700 people might read your web site's content via the service; but it only appears in your web server stats once every couple of hours or so as it polls your XML feed.
Additionally, your content may be duplicated in other places — planet.case.edu, as an example pertaining to the Case Blog system. So, according to my stats for the month of September, I have had 2685 unique visitors. This doesn't include:
- the 21 bloglines subscribers to my RSS 2.0 feed
- the 7 bloglines subscribers to my Atom 0.3 feed
- People who read my posts on Planet Case
- the bloglines subscribers to Planet Case's XML feeds who read my posts there
- the newsgator, netnewswire, rss2email, a LiveJournal crossposting thingy I didn't even know about, FeedOnFeeds, etc., etc., etc. bots that all poll my RSS or Atom feed and replicate the content elsewhere.
- that same amount of different polling bots for the Planet Case feeds.
- any other web sites that replicate my content
- any other web sites that replicate the contents of Planet Case
- Etc., etc. So on and so forth.
Just had to get that out of my system.