A feature that I’ve long wanted is finally here: Feed Stats. You can now monitor your feed statistics with WordPress.com.
Go to the Dashboard > Feed Stats tab and there they are.
There are two charts for you to examine. I’d like more specific information than just these charts, but in general, these statistics will prove interesting. Now remember, this new feature is new and subject to change and evolution. The statistics reported are also marked as estimates, so the reports might not be completely accurate, but probably close enough to help you see trends. If you would like to speak up about how they can be improved or changed, use your Administration Panel Feedback Button and let the developers know.
The first chart is similar to the graph chart for blog statistics found in a neighboring tab. It lists your blog feed statistics for the past 30 days. What this means is that is counts how many times your feed links for your blog are “visited” by users reading your blog feeds.
Two things are not shown in this chart and information. One is how many of these people actually clicked on a feed link and visited your WordPress.com blog. Also, it doesn’t show how many people subscribe to your feed. Services like Feedburner count each subscriber to your feed through their service. Feedburner allows me to showcase this information such as in the Feedburner link in my sidebar here.
If they are using a service which reports how many people are subscribed to your blog, then you can get that information, but if they are using a web browser feed reader, then there is no way to know. You can only guess based on the average number of feeds over a long period of time. Because of this fact, I’d like to see the chart track 60 or 90 days, both in the blog and feed statistics. Long term measurements often help more than 30 day counts.
So the above chart offers statistics showing you how many people are actually using the feed link, like monitoring how many people are visiting a specific post or web page on your site, except you don’t know what they are looking at, just that they are looking at your feed. This is good information on tracking usage and popularity of feeds.
The second chart reports on the number of users using a specific feed tool to monitor and read your feed. This is a little more interesting.
On my pie chart, it shows that the majority of users of feeds through their services are accessing through Bloglines. A slightly smaller majority are using their web browser, possibly using something like Firefox’s Sage feed reader or another integrated web browser feed reader. A surprising number of users are still using NewsGatorOnline, a service that’s been around for a while. Nice to see it still active with all the new feed reader competition.
If you hold your mouse over the pie chart, it will show you, like it also does with the bar chart, the percentage number of users representative of that feed reader from among all the feed readers visiting your blog.
Warning: When revisiting the pie chart of feed readers, do not memorize a color and associate it with a specific feed reader. As of right now, the colors change so one time Bloglines will be light blue, the next brown, and who knows what next. I’ve asked the developers to keep the colors consistent so we can glance at the chart and think, “Ah, I’m getting a lot of hits from Bloglines today” or “Bloglines has sure dropped off today.” Recognition by distinctive color not fine print is critical to the success of such charts.
How does this information help you?
The blog statistics tell you how many people are actually visiting one or more pages on your blog. It also tells you which posts are the most popular and where the people are coming from. There is also information on which search terms get people to your website. All helpful information used to keep you informed and guide you, if you care, in what topics people are mostly interested in, and what you should be blogging about.
Feed statistics give you less information but it does help you understand how people are accessing your blog. Expect feed reader access to increase as more and more people discover their benefits.
Information on the services your feed reader fans use is a little more challenging to understand without something to compare it to. For example, a specific type of people may use one service more than another, such as younger people being more drawn to XYZ feed service and older people being more attracted to using ABC feed service. Or more technically minded folks using PQR feed service, while beginning Internet users stick to the very basic 123 feed service just because it is so easy to use.
If you understand the audience using those feed services, you may be able to get some insights into the personalities and characteristics of those feed visitors to your blog. Or you might not. I’m not familiar enough with the different services to give you that information, but I’m sure someone will make those connections.
It also helps you learn which feed services are the most popular. Usually, this information will help you customize your feeds to meet that service’s needs, but we can’t do that with WordPress.com. But it does encourage us to check out the popular services to see how they work and how we might take advantage of their services, and, well, because so many others seem to like it.
The problem with a lot of this information is the myriad ways feeds are used. They are used by people to quickly gather information and updates from their favorite websites and blogs. They are also used to display content, in various forms, on web pages, such as headlines (like the feeds shown in my sidebar using the new WordPress Widgets), excerpts, or even full content, sometimes instead of original content on a web page or blog. All we have are the statistics and feed services. Many of those feed services, such as NewsGator, allow users to showcase your blog on theirs. But how would you be able to track that information? That’s for another article.
Still, information is good and this is just another piece of the puzzle that helps you understand your visitors a little better. So what do you think you will learn about your blog and your blog’s readers from this new information?
- Benefits and Uses of Website Feeds
- Customizing Your Feed Titles
- Dig Up Feeds with a Keyword-Based RSS Feed Generator
- Adding RSS Feeds to WordPress
- Investigating the Connections Between Blogging Styles and Traffic Stats
- What Blog Statistic Gets Most of Your Attention?
- Traffic Trolls – Creating Controversy to Increase Blog Traffic
- Hook, Line and Sinker: Luring Blog Traffic to Stay
- FeedBurner Announces New Interactive RSS Service
- Ads on Feeds
- The Birth of RSS
- Blogging Tips – Hundreds of Resources for Finding Content for Your Blog
- Like Owner Looks Like Dog, Do You Look Like Your Aggregator?
- Custom Google Search Feeds
- Beauty is Only Skin Deep: Designing Blogs For Feeds, Search Engines and Audience
- Playing with WordPress.com New Sidebar Widgets
- WordPress.com Widgets – Customizing Your WordPress.com Theme Sidebar
- Customizing RSS Feed Links for WordPress.com and WordPress Sidebar Widgets