Counting On Counters, Part 2
In our first installment, we looked at the underlying reasons for, as well as the steps involved in setting up, a free "counter" to measure traffic flow into, around, and out of, your adult Web site. This time we'll take a look at some of the information available as a result of this installation, what it means to you, and whether or not it's worth it.
I wanted to see how well the SexTracker and XXX Counter would actually perform in a "real world" situation, and whether or not they provided any real value beyond basic traffic flow analysis (quite a worthwhile enough function). I personally use a custom version of the well-regarded WebTrends software for traffic analysis on my own sites, and I am delighted with it, so I was looking for a "guinea pig" of sorts, and I found one:
Like many of you, I've been following along with Ayrora as she builds her new site, evolving it from a free site, to an AVS site, and ultimately into a new amateur pay site. One thing that I didn't see on her site though was a counter - a visible mainstay of many free and amateur sites. A brief conversation revealed that she was not yet monitoring her site's traffic, and she agreed to install and test both the SexTracker and XXX Counters (from a newbie's perspective) at her site — here's what we found:
Checking the Numbers
Ayrora read through my previous "counters" article and followed the instructions to set herself up with the necessary accounts. She found that installation of the counter scripts was simple and straightforward. While her site is brand new and doesn't receive a ton of traffic (yet), there is enough action to take a workable snapshot of her site's activity, and so after leaving the two counters up for a few days, she went over to the SexTracker Webmaster's area and entered in her account number and password.
She was greeted by an attractive, information packed graphical display of all of her site's activity, along with several viewing and information display options. An online guide helped to make sense of the graphed figures, but was not as complete as it may have been, and offered no advice on ways to actually use her newfound traffic information.
Comparing the results of the two counters showed that they were in agreement — not surprising since they are both products of the same company. The XXX Counter was the "easiest" to use, as it only provided the most relevant information, including a "live" impression tally on the counter graphic itself; handy for knowing the total number of visitors to your page, but only slightly more useful than a basic old-style "hit counter" (which, by the way, won't bleed traffic from your site).
Overall, Ayrora liked the "power" to shape her site's traffic flow that all this information would provide; yet the mechanics of applying this knowledge were elusive. Still, she is a determined Webmistress who promises results — and one of us will write a future article on how she did it!
Some Final Thoughts
While these counters can deliver a world of valuable information directly to your desktop, they require a fair degree of knowledge to be truly useful. While I may question some of the advice given during the setup procedures, such as putting your counter at the very top of your Web pages (ostensibly to get the most "accurate" results, but far more likely to simply increase your traffic "bleed"), and their recommendation to let other Webmasters (and surfers) see your site statistics by not password-protecting them, the SexTracker counter is a welcome addition to the Webmaster's toolbox.
As far as the "XXX Counter" is concerned, the stats it provides are essentially redundant to those provided by SexTracker, but are simpler, and may well be enough for many novice Webmasters. Its biggest benefit may be as a traffic source since it is for all intents and purposes, a glorified "Top List" - but one that is easy to participate in when you sign up for your SexTracker account. The little "XXX" button you will put on your page WILL bleed a good deal of traffic from your site, so its use may be something to avoid.
And speaking of counter graphics, there is one more area of serious concern for those using the SexTracker service: the hardcore nature of many of their graphics. While I realize that they are striving to make the most "clickable" button in the allotted space, their blatantly hardcore content is unsuitable for non-age verified environments. For example, the ever-popular "farm girl fucking an ear of corn" counter button is really un-cool, even if it IS entertaining:
Just as displaying explicit photos and banners outside of your age-verified member's area is unwise, so might the use of this counter on your home page etc, be unwise. While you are not likely to face an obscenity prosecution based solely on your choice of counter, it is a prudent area for your consideration nonetheless.
I'll not pretend to fully understand all of the varied programs and options, nor how most sites could benefit from the traffic that SexTracker can send - although given the huge volume of surfers that flow through their site, there is little doubt that the most highly ranked sites will benefit nicely. I will say however that for Webmasters who are short on cash or technical skills (assets required for a more robust server-based stats package), using the SexTracker counter and related services can pay off. Try them yourself and see!