IP OR GEO BLOCKING COULD HELP PAINT A TRUE PICTURE OF TRAFFIC AND WEBSITE SUCCESS
“Lies, damned lies, and statistics” is a phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments. It is also sometimes colloquially used to doubt statistics used to prove an opponent’s point.The term was popularised in the United States by Mark Twain who attributed it to the 19th-century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, who was reported as saying, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Actually it is argued that the phrase probably came from much earlier sources, but that’s an argument for another day and someone else’s BLOG. For the purpose of THIS BLOG post, I want to go on record to say that the old quote applies perfectly to today’s world on the internet. No matter what stats program you run on your website, I’d venture to state that a high percentage of the supposed visitors that ANY website receives isn’t traffic that will EVER do you, your website, OR your business any good whatsoever. Everything is “relative” when it comes to statistics and particular website stats, but there’s a very strong chance that a fairly significant percentage of your daily website traffic comes from sources or visitors who are trying to “pitch you” or perhaps use your website or email or both to SPAM others.I personally operate numerous tourism websites myself. I own GolfNorthCarolina.com, SkiSoutheast.com, ResortCams.com and many other websites that all receive a ton of traffic – both good traffic and “BS traffic”. I’ve been in the business of web design before there was a “Google” and we performed SEO before there was such a thing. Back in the early days, we optimized websites with logical content to effect rankings on InfoSeek, Yahoo and AltaVista – which were the major players in the search engine game back then.TRACKING our results was a trickier thing back then as we’d all run unreliable “counters” on websites and then we migrated to more sophisticated programs like iStats, WebTrends, Urchin and tons of other visitor tracking tools before Google Analytics came along. GA itself has changed a lot over the years and unfortunately so has traffic.About ten years or so ago we were tracking visitors to our ski and golf sites (as well as our web design website) and were under the assumption that we were receiving thousands of visitors per day, until Google Analytics came along and slapped us in the face with the fact that we were perhaps receiving about a third of the traffic we thought we were. That’s okay, over the years we’ve built up links and traffic that have created websites that pull 40,000 visitors a day and more….or do they? Let me explain…We own a web design website that we’ve tracked visitor data from for years. Last summer we were under the assumption that we were pulling around 8,000 or more visitors per month. Not bad for a niche website that generates us around 6-10 new clients a month. I always questioned our traffic because either 7900 visitors a month were not overly impressed with our work OR MAYBE we were not getting the kind of traffic that we thought we were. Like most website owners, we just “went with the flow” and figured that it “takes a LOT of oranges to make orange juice”.Over the last few years we’ve seen SPAM emails skyrocket to our websites. I’m certain that you have as well. Nearly every day, we received emails to ALL of our websites (ski, golf, web design – it doesn’t matter) and most all of them are telling me that they can do design work, seo work, link building and more for me. It used to be that we’d get 8-10 leads a week on our CONTACT form from interested new clients. We still get THOSE, but we now also receive ONE of those kinds of emails for every TEN SPAM emails. (Yes, I get perhaps 100 offers a week to rebuild my website, get it ranked better, push more links to it and on and on and on.Like most semi-intelligent companies, we met early in January and set about on a mission to take our traffic up ten-fold for 2014 and part of that process was to launch a new website. We implemented content writing, and a Digital Marketing campaign to “work for us” like we do for our clients.When we implement a new campaign we like to have a “line in the sand” so that we’ll know where we stand at the point of launch so that we’ll know how far it is to “point B” and beyond.So we launched the site and setup a new Google Analytics campaign and immediately saw where tons and tons of our traffic came from all across the United States, which was a good thing and a TON of traffic was hitting us everyday from all over the world.Clients call us all the time astonished at how popular their websites are internationally. They brag about how their business is so well visited around the globe. We listen quietly and then explain that while their websites certainly GET legit traffic worldwide – the majority of that traffic is WIDELY interested in you alright – but MOSTLY interested in selling you or worse.Nowadays – the world (mostly outside of the United States) is interested in scamming you and I with offers that they cannot deliver on. They’re interested in taking money from us and sending TONS OF LINKS that will kill your Google rankings long enough that you’d probably have to change your business name to escape Google’s wrath. “They” are interested in also seeing if they can get into your website through weak databases to use YOUR website to send out SPAM. They are interested in using your website to send out MALWARE that can steal credit card information from your computer – and anyone who visits your websites after they’ve gotten in and infected it. They are interested in posting anti-American sentiments and on and on.What they ARE NOT interested in is doing business with YOU. HOW BAD IS IT? Oh brother, it is bad. Really bad.We ALL know that we are receiving more SPAM than ever and GMAIL, nor any other email host or web host can do much about it outside of ADMITTING that 99.99999% of the people that your website will probably EVER do business with are located within the borders of the continental U.S.Obviously, some of us do business internationally and if so, you’ll need to take special care in how to allow you website to seen by legitimate international clientele – while doing what you can to limit the “crap”.Most small business owners could do themselves a HUGE favor to simply BLOCK visitors from seeing your website unless they live within the United States. Over the years we’ve picked up some international clients, but not enough to warrant all of the SPAM and potential security issues that come from allowing ANYONE, ANYWHERE to visit your website.The truth is (and it isn’t being preached out there much) is that if you want to cut WAYYYYYY down on the SPAM emails that you get AND NOT LOSE ONE spec of business – the easiest way to do that is to GEO-BLOCK your website.That’s really a pretty simple process. Of course, really industrious hackers and spammers can use proxies to still get to you, but now there are tools that can help you even block those.To illustrate just how “bad” SPAMMING and HACKING attempts are outside of the United States, last night (March 10, 2014) I placed a GEO BLOCK on our web design website. In LESS than 24 hours that GEO BLOCK stopped 473 international visitors from hitting our website. That reduced our traffic by about 40% in ONE DAY, however we also received NO SPAM offers today. Not one!More importantly, we noticed that the GEO BLOCK also did something else that was even more important and beneficial for us. It blocked NINE “visitors” who were TRYING their best to log into the BACK END of our website. They were trying to login to our CMS.WHAT THE HECK???The Target debacle opened a lot of eyes about website security or the lack of it and while the Affordable Heath Care website hacking has been swept under the rug – that website is more insecure than Taylor Swift. However they are not alone. Forbes recently reported that more than 10,950,000 websites were hacked in 2013. In case you’re not great at math – that is more than 30,000 websites a DAY getting hacked.Wanna know where 99.999999% of those hack jobs and malware, SPAM and security breaches came from? How about:ChinaRussian FederationUkraineGermanyFranceNetherlandsIndiaTurkeyCzech Republic…and even Canada.ANOTHER GREAT SIDE EFFECT OF GEO BLOCKINGIf you can afford to not allow traffic from outside of the United States to your website, there are tons of benefits. One is that you’ll know JUST how much of your daily traffic is legit. That will provide you a great sense of appreciation for just how decent your website is converting visitors to clients. Second, you WILL get FARRRRRR less SPAM emails. Third, your website will be soooooo much more secure from hackers and those who are trying to use your website and email for nefarious reasons. Fourth, the STATISTICS that you have been questioning for some time – will begin to make sense.One of the most misleading stats on Google Analytics is your BOUNCE RATE. If perhaps 30% of your traffic is from hackers and spammers, they are probably hitting ONE page of your website (your contact form, default page or whatever) and then leaving after 40 seconds. That visit skews the average time spent on your website AND the average PAGEVIEWS and your bounce rates.If you want to really get a good idea of what your web traffic REALLY looks like AND if you want to be able to delete far fewer SPAM emails – try GEO BLOCKING. It really, really, really works.If your web host or designer doesn’t agree or know how to implement geo blocking, call us and we’ll be glad to make your life a little more secure and free of statistical lies.Also – if you NEED to do business worldwide, you CAN block only those known culprits who are making a mess of your traffic. By the way, we’ve received tons of great comments and from our U.K. brothers. Hey, there’s no way we’d block them.
March 19th UPDATE: Wanna know JUST how effective GEO BLOCKING can be? How about this bit of data:In JUST the last 11 days by applying GEO BLOCKING to our own AppNet.com website, we have blocked 5227 visitors blocked from the frontend (meaning our front page) and MORE IMPORTANTLY 39 visitors blocked from the backend or our ADMINISTRATIVE portion of our website!
As stated previously, we’ve also CUT WAY down to almost nil on SPAM in our INBOX.
Iran, Islamic Republic of