I commented recently that this blog had received 4,000 visits since it was launched. It should be pointed out that this is (probably) visits to the Web site. The contents of the Web site can, of course, be read without needed to visit this Web site, through use of RSS readers or RSS aggregators.

WordPress provides details of the feed statistics, as shown below.

number of recent accesses

In addition details of the RSS readers are also available.

From this we can see that the most popular reader is the Web-based Bloglines service. I suspect that the ‘Web browser’ reference refers to RSS readers such as dynamic bookmarks in the latest version of FireFox and Internet Explorer and/or browser based RSS plugins such as Sage, InfoRSS and RSS Ticker. I’m not surprised by the popularity of Netvibes (I use this personalised Web-based RSS aggregator myself). I’ve also used the BlogBridge desktop RSS reader (which Michael Webb has recommended for use at Newport College).

As I write today (12 January 2007) there have been 118 visits to the blog’s Web site and 23 reads of the blog content using a feed reader. I would expect to see the proportion of RSS readers to grow, as greater use is made of the RSS capabilities in FireFox and IE, as more organisations start to provide access to RSS readers and Web-based RSS aggregators provide access to RSS feeds with end users not realising that the content they are viewing comes from an RSS feed. This may well lead to a challenge in writing blog posts which are usable in an environment in which the full content may not be displayed – a topic raised recently by Danny Sullivan in his self-confessed public rant on Google’s failure to provide descriptive titles for their posts.

The other comment I should make is that my blog postings may well have been aggregated elsewhere. I’ve added the RSS feed to my Facebook account, for example. Facebook appears to have cached the contents of my blog – so any views of the contents by Facebook readers will not appear on blog statistics, with the exception (I assume) of a single access by the Facebook aggregator for each article. I guess we can say there are lies, damned lies and Blog statistics 🙂