Measuring a site’s popularity

I was going to post this to wp-hackers in reply to a couple other posts but decided it was WAY to off topic
[wp-hackers] Close old comments and pingbacks: feature or plugin? Jamie Holly
[wp-hackers] Close old comments and pingbacks: feature or plugin? David Chait

I decided it is too off topic and Robert Deaton would get on my case again. 😉 I didn’t want to waste the typing. So you all get an extra post today…

> I’d have more fun designing for a site getting .75M hits/day —
> send me some of that traffic! 😉

0.75m is 0.75m, Kudos to Jamie. Actually I guess its .36m/day between the two sites. Still in large part, I ignore hits when figuring out how my sites are doing…

More specifically, I can’t see how it much helps in comparing two sites either. My reasoning: To go to an extreme, if a site is Flash based, I’d assume the hits/visit is low as it would be with a largely text based site – perhaps even < 10 hits per visit. If a site has lots of graphics and little tag images (translation flags, "new" buttons, whatever), I would assume the hits/visit are WAY higher. My hits per visit is around 47 - I suspect I should try to lower that. So, if I use only hits as a measure and compare myself with a text based site with 12 hits per visit, my hit count would be four times higher but we would get the same level of traffic. And even that ratio is subject to the definition of "a visit". I use two different stat engines to evaluate my sites: AWStats and WebStatistics. AWStats often reports "Unique Visitors" to be as low as 1/3 of the "Unique Visits" reported by WebStatics. Part of the difference there is the visitors/visits issue, another part is awstats filtering out search engines and another part of it is AWStats has a much more liberal definition of what constitutes a single "visit". I'm just not certain that I have a number of people spending an 1+ browsing my site. It's really cool if I do, but I suspect it is people returning to the site (tab) once or twice within a 2 hour period. Am I correct in saying that the ONLY way to compare the traffic between two sites is to look at the same stat by the same stat engine on both sites (e.g. comparing "Number of visits" in AWStats.)? Am I way off on this? As I said at the beginning. 0.75m/day is 0.75m. That's more traffic then any of my current sites will ever see. What is the best method of measuring a blog's popularity? I know it isn't alexa... I currently have half the traffic of my wife's site but Alexa sure doesn't show that... http://www.alexa.com/data/details/?url=Thecodecave.com http://www.alexa.com/data/details/?url=www.knitchat.com Denise's site has been around for almost two years vs four months for my site. So, I'm pleased with my progress. "My unique Visitors" have been doubling each month. I don't think that will happen this month since I have missed half a month of posts, I expect only a 20% increase over last month... But all's good...