Paying less attention to stats

I decide to quit obsessing over website statistics

My first ISP gave me a few megabytes of space to put up whatever I wanted on the Internet. It was amazing. The idea that I could just write a few pages of basic HTML and upload them somewhere that I could tell someone to go to and they could see it, too was a game-changingly great concept to me and I bought a copy of an HTML tutorial book and got to work carving out my own space on the World Wide Web. Sure the URL was http://my.isp.whatever/~myusername, but it was mine (I mean, yes, I was technically renting it, but whatever).

One of the things that was made available to me with my Internet access package was a stat counter. If you've been around the Internet long enough, you've probably seen them. They're just a counter somewhere on the page that tells you how many times the page (really, the counter) was viewed. They were basically useless, but I was obsessed with making that number rise.

Without going blow-by-blow through my history on the Internet (again), I started using tools like the Webalizer, and then Google Analytics. By the time I moved on to Google Analytics, I was hooked on the numbers. I would look at them every day to see what people were looking at. I was checking to see if my most recent article was making the rounds on all the biggest sites (it almost always wasn't), and I wanted to see that graph go up and up. It was all I thought about.

After a while, though, I got tired of Google and I got tired of using their analytics. I removed their code snippets from all the sites I maintain(ed) and stopped paying attention to anything for a while. Then I had the bright idea to start up another site. This one, in fact. Okay, it wasn't so much an idea, it was a way to track my video game collection that turned into whatever it is now.

Since I'm doing it all by hand I didn't bother adding any hit counters to anything. Because who cares how many people stumble on my video game list? Then I started playing around with the site more and adding things that people might want to look at, so I started to wonder if anyone was actually looking at my stuff. I decided to install an old friend: The Webalizer.

And for the last year I've been dutifully tweaking my Webalizer settings and checking in on it every day or so to see how my site was doing. Seeing the numbers go up or down and seeing if the latest thing I made got any hits or not. And trying to figure out what I could do to make those numbers go up.

But then I realized that I had fallen back into old habits. I had focused more on the results than the process. I was spending more time looking at the stats than figuring out stuff to make. So, I've decided that, effective today, I'm removing all statistics collection from my site(s). My webserver is still going to log things (for now), but I'm no longer going to be actively looking at them unless there's a problem or something. I've decided that I have better things to do than to pore over meaningless statistics.

This entry's fake tags are:

● Stats ● Webalizer ● Numbers going up! 

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