It also doesn’t show a complete picture. Some number of people read this site entirely by RSS and are never counted in the stats. And then, of course, there’s all of the folks using ad blockers that prevent the stats script from even running. I’ll never really know how many people read what I write, but I still think having stats is valuable so I can see more broad trends across longer periods of time.
This is my feeling as well, and it's why I use Google Analytics here. I don't need to know the exact number of people who visit this site everyday, but being able to look at my stats every month and see trends is useful for me. Frankly, seeing the trends in readership plateau and start to dip a few years ago was one of the drivers in me starting a YouTube channel and newsletter. I want to meet people where they are, and those trends helped me see what was happening.
I mentioned Google Analytics, and I know some people get antsy at anything Google, but here's my position:
- I don't care enough about analytics to pay the $10+ per month all of the other options cost. I have tried Plausible and it's perfect, but the cost isn't worth it for me.
- Readers who truly hate analytics are fully empowered to have a blocker installed that will prevent Google Analytics from tracking anything (they can block my single ad as well).
- I have a full-text RSS feed, so if you want to read in your RSS reader, that's totally possible. I get no page hit stats, no ad revenue, and Google gets zero info. There's technically zero upside, but it's the right thing to do (for me).