Counting the house
How many people read this weblog?
I think we worry too much about this question. The important thing is often who reads, not how many. As I've written before, there's nothing wrong with writing a weblog that only your mother reads. It's good to stay in touch. Such a nice boy....
But, sometimes, I suppose it would be nice to know how many people are reading out there. In the old days (a couple of years ago), you could get a rough estimate from your server logs. I'm not sure that's possible anymore.
- Lots of people read this weblog regularly through the RSS feed. Surely, we can count those readers.
- But, just as surely, some of those subscribers no longer actually look at this site in their news reader. Every hour or two, their computer checks for updates, just in case. But they've lost interest, and never actually look. We don't really want to count those readers.
- Looking for unique hosts used to be helpful. But, nowadays, a zillion people might read everything you write through a single aggregator. And, let's face it, we also want to know who visits once a month and who visits three times a day.
There's a ton of information in referrer logs; any ideas how to mine them to estimate how many people read a weblog?