What to Look For In Your Real Estate Blog Stats

I’m sad to report that we weren’t made an unbelievable offer for RCG, and we have no plans to change our name to either “Google’s Rain City Guide” or “Rain Zity Guide”. 😉

And now that it is April 2nd, I thought I’d get back to work by giving some advice on what to look for in the stats of your business blog.

It can be useful to know answers to questions like: Who is visiting my site? Where they are coming from? Am I giving them what they want? And (assuming you’re running a business blog), is anyone buying the product/service that I’m selling? To get at these answers, I turn to one of three different stat programs (all of them free!):

  • awstats came installed by my internet service provider (ISP) and offers the best look at long term trends for me because I’ve had has been running the entire time I’ve had RCG. It always shows slightly higher stats than the other programs because it picks up everyone who visits the site and not just those who load the whole page and/or have javascript installed. For better or worse, my host only updates the awstats once a day, and they get aggregated by month so that I can’t really make head’s or tails out of what is going on “right now” using this stat program.
  • MapStats has some interesting features that make it very useful for blogging. It not only maps all of the users out based on their IP address, but it also let’s me know where the latest visitors are coming from (i.e. what links they clicked on and/or what search term they used to get to RCG). It is updated every few minutes making it very useful in seeing what’s happing in the hear-and-now.
  • Google Analytics is an amazingly comprehensive stat program that is probably better suited for sites 100 or 1000 times bigger than RCG (or at least sites that have a staff with time to pour over all the information it gives!). It includes tons of interactive charts and you allow you to reference and cross-reference by date and referrer (and ad program if you do that kind of thing). Like awstats, it has the disadvantage that it only updates once a day, and like MapStats it misses out on people who don’t have javascript installed and running. But the charts are amazing. To give you an idea of some of the things you can see with Google Analytics, I’ve included a chart of the “loyalty” of RCG readers:


(You can read the chart as saying “In March, 10,254 visitors came only once while 743 visitors have been to Rain City Guide more than 200 times.)

Interestingly, the loyalty chart reminds me of something said by Niki Parekh of HouseValues at the MIT Forum that has resonated with me. The topic was how real estate agent using HouseValues system have to be patient because it can take months, if not years, between the time when a home owner contacts HouseValues looking for a home valuation report and the time when when they are ready to sell their home.

The relevance to the loyalty chart is that I have this not-too-small hope that more and more of the home buyers and sellers who read Rain City Guide regularly will begin to take advantage of Anna’s referral service when they are actually ready to buy and/or sell a home. While a dozen or so people contacted Anna in March, there is still plenty of room for this service to grow, and I was glad to hear Niki highlight the importance of keeping a long-term view of things.

More Stat Fun
On a related note, I’d feel like I was hiding something if I didn’t give an update on our statistics at the beginning of the month (jan, feb). Here are the same two stat charts updated to include data for March:



One last thing
And finally, Happy Belated Birthday to Merv’s blog in Virginia . If you want a little background on why Merv has been so successful at real estate blogging, check out the interview I did with him back in December.

28 thoughts on “What to Look For In Your Real Estate Blog Stats

  1. They are definitely related, but not always…

    For example, the article you wrote on Flip This House only had three comments but was the 2nd most clicked on article of this past month. (It was picked up by two very popular message boards: A&E and Television without Pity).

    I was thinking I would list the most popular and the most commented on articles again this month, but the post got kinda long as it is. Besides, I think it would be more interesting to have these two options constantly displayed on the sidepanel in a “running total” fashion (as in “most popular post of the past 7 days”). I’ll look into installing a plugin that would do just that!

  2. Dustin,

    Congrats on the surge in traffic over the past few months!

    Luckily my new Single Family Development blog isn’t in the same readership category as RCG or I would reallllly be getting my butt whipped.

    Also I couldn’t agree more that thinking long term in your RE marketing is the way to go. RCG will definitely bear fruit down the road. But just like farming crops this is something that takes persistence and perseverance. You have to stay solid on your efforts.

    keep up the good work!

  3. Dustin, thanks I seriously love your posts on blogging. they’re really helpful. I have been blogging for 2 months now and Im pretty stoked with the 1100 hits I have clocked so far. Most of my traffic comes from craigslist.org, google or MSN search. I use sitemeter.com because its free and simple. I like that it monitors the outclicks and refferal pages. P.S who went to burning man and took all the cool pictures pictures in the art section? Raincity camp next year?

  4. Dustin, congratulations on the outstanding increase in traffic over the past few months.

    I just started my own real estate blog for the Houston area and numbers like these are a big inspiration for me. (So much so that I mention your site in my second blog post!)

    Keep up the excellent work!

    – Jim

  5. Wow, how cool is that! I love everyone’s blogs, they’re great. Reading the comments and responding, even if just in my head, helps me to articulate and clarify my thoughts in relations to real estate, the economy, politics and how this all relates to the zeitgeist of the popular culture. Scarlett knew the value of Tara, as should we… As Gerald O’Hara said in Gone With The Wind, “Do you mean to tell me, Katie Scarlett O’Hara, that Tara, that land doesn’t mean anything to you? Why, land is the only thing in the world worth workin’ for, worth fightin’ for, worth dyin’ for, because it’s the only thing that lasts.”


  6. Marlow, your Tara comments reminded me of the below, for some reason. It’s something I remind myself of every day, for soon to be 16 years.

    “Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization…the interests of the nation and its citizens require the highest and best use of the land and the widest distribution of land ownership…

    Such interests impose obligations beyond those of ordinary commerce. They impose grave social responsibility and a patriotic duty…for which (those who make their living in it) should be diligent in preparing themselves for it …(be) zealous to maintain and improve the standards of their calling and share…a common responsibility for its integrity and honor.

    In recognition and appreciation of their obligations to clients, customers, the public, and each other…strive to become and remain informed on issues affecting real estate and, as knowledgeable professionals, they willingly share the fruit of their experience and study with others. They identify and take steps…to eliminate practices which may damage the public or which might discredit or bring dishonor to the real estate profession.

    …competency, fairness, and high integrity resulting from adherence to a lofty ideal of moral conduct in business relations. No inducement of profit and no instruction from clients ever can justify departure from this ideal.”

  7. Yes Dustin, it is all your fault! I haven’t had a good night sleep, let along that other thing I am supposed to do at night in a long time! 🙂 It’s been a lot of fun! Thanks for your guidance and support.

  8. (Said in a strong German accent)

    Vee Vill Call You Dr. Frankenluther…..

    (evil laughter)

    Bah, hahahahahahahahahah!

  9. I’m too busy blogging in C# & SQL to blog in English. 🙂

    One question I have for the other Rain City Guide contributors, is how much traffic growth have your personal blogs seen since first participating on Rain City Guide?

  10. Hello: I just started blogging – partly inspired by the Rain City Guide which I now read religiously. I’ll prob spend most of my time doing reviews of new projects in Seattle, hopefully people will find it useful. Come over and say hello if you have a minute. The url is http://www.SeattlePropertyBlog.com

  11. Wendy

    Just tried to check out your Blog and nothin’ showed up. Please let us know when it is up and running.


  12. Robbie,

    I am not quite sure since I only recently started blogging. I have also had Dustin not mention my Atlanta Land Search since it has been in the development stages for quite a while… so I haven’t been linking most of my comments back to my site until recently.

    Also for all you RCG readers…. I wanted to give a plug for Robbie and Caffeinated Software! He has really helped my site here in Atlanta with just a few keystrokes and that crazy C# & SQL brain of his.

    If any of you out there are looking for some real high tech solutions for your sites… I highly recommend Robbie.

  13. Robbie, there’s no question in my mind that RCG participation increases the numbers on my blog. But Dustin approached me to write here, 10 days after I started my blog, so I can’t track a difference in visitors.

    My stats used to show source of visitors and RCG was #13. I was quite surprised at how many came from Yahoo searches as opposed to Google and MSN.

    The greatest benefit of my blog so far, has been that my clients don’t need to ask as many questions. They are better informed about the process, escalator clauses, HOA dues and resale certificates, etc when these things come up, having already read about it in the blog.

  14. Wendy,

    I like the “crisp” style of both your blog and your site. Your personality really comes through…I feel like I’ve met you through your blog. To me, that’s what a blog is all about. When you read the blog and feel like you’ve just visited with the writer in person…it’s a winner!

    Loved your co-op post.

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