In response to my post on Andrew Sullivan’s pledge drive, a commenter asked about my traffic to help guage the costs of running a blog. HostingMatters, my site host, says I had 6836 unique visitors, 19,010 visits, 62,752 pages, and 239,423 hits last month, consuming 4.17 GB of bandwidth. Site Meter, on the other hand, says I’ve only had 59,330 unique visits since I installed my counter.

Some of the discrepancy comes from the fact that I intentionally exclude visits from my home and work IP addresses from my Site Meter count so as not to inflate my stats. Still, I’m curious about how the various bloggers out there are keeping track of their traffic. Is “unique visits” excluding the blog author the way most are doing it? “Hits” pure and simple? Something in between?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. The big inflator is bot traffic – probably 2/3 of the traffic that visits a website.

    I run my own server out of my house – so I just look at the log file. ;^)

  2. James Joyner says:

    Good point. Kathy Kinsley did my initial setup for me and locked out a lot of the bots by some means that I’m unaware of. I still get a lot of search engine traffic although, for reasons I can’t figure, almost none from Google.

  3. I let the polite bots visit (they’re supposed to read and follow the directions of what they can and cannot visit found in the ‘robots.txt’ file in your document root directory). If they cannot play by the rules I ban their IP addresses.

    Google has polite bots, I give ’em the run of the place.

  4. jen says:

    I exclude my home and work IPs in Site Meter. Pure hits on my webhost, only because I haven’t taken the time to figure out if I can do more with it.

  5. Paul says:

    I tell my clients that any numbers from anyone else are worthless in comparison to your own.

    Your numbers are only good as they relate to yourself over time.

    A cynical but accurate analysis of the value of web statistics.


    And exclude yourself.

  6. CGHill says:

    Bots chew up about 14 percent of my bandwidth, a figure I think is probably typical; they don’t run the Site Meter script, so they don’t run up the meter.

    My count is based on viewers. If you read one page, nine pages, 99 pages or 999 pages, you’re still only one viewer. Approximately one-third of my viewers come in from search engines, and one-quarter have no source indicated (which usually means they have the page bookmarked). Of the 42 percent or so that remain, about half come in from other blogs, and half from sources that have linked one particular page on a more-or-less-permanent basis. ( sends me about 20 people a day looking for Henryk Górecki or Chuck Woolery.)

    I have concluded from all this that I have about nine or ten daily readers and 125 or so who come in at least three times a week.