There Is Truth, Darned Truth And Statistics: Take The Time To Find The Right Information

You know the old saying “There are lies, damned lies and then there are statistics“? How much money do you want to bet that that phrase was coined by someone who was unhappy with a statistic they just heard? There is a whole lot of criticism thrown at stats and their analysis. People queue up to say things like “well, you can prove anything with statistics. I prefer to use the evidence of my eyes!”

People’s main problem with statistics is simple. We are emotional beings and we make a lot of decisions based on what our gut tells us to do. If we are presented with evidence that our gut might be wrong, we are reluctant to accept that evidence. But sometimes, statistics are there for a reason. Sometimes, they just cannot be denied.

What is a problem is the selective quoting of statistics to make a point, and there the person at the end of the first paragraph has a point. You can prove a lot of things if you can cleverly take statistics out of context to suit your argument. If you gave someone aged 99 years and 364 days a bowl of soup you just made, and they woke up the next day? You could tell people that “100% of individuals who tried this soup lived to be 100 years old!” And that’s why statistics need analysis.

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If you’re trying to make a blog profitable, there is a lot that you have to take into account. You may spend a lot of time fiddling with fonts and wrestling with the writing style. You’ll shift menus to different spots trying to get the traffic coming in. But if you do not see your hard work reflected in actual money, then there is clearly still something missing. That is where statistics come in. If you’re prepared to let them.

There is a lot of information that allows you to identify where you may be going wrong, if you know where to look. There are statistics for how long people spend on each page, where they go next, how they found your blog and what they clicked on. Although these may just seem like pretty numbers, they give a wealth of information.

Say for example you’re looking to get revenue from a Pay Per Click campaign. Where you place that ad is pivotal in terms of how many clicks it will get. So the statistical feedback you get on this should govern your decision on where you place ads.

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On one page, you could put it more centrally and within the body of an article. On another, you could place it at the top of the page. On another, at the bottom of a blog post. By following the information you get, you can decide where ads should be placed.

The bottom line is that a statistic by itself can give you at best limited useful information. When you know the context of that statistic, and can compare it to other stats in the same field, you will then be better placed to make a judgment.

Because there is an inconvenient truth about statistics, that some people don’t like to confront. Every real statistic you see is an unbiased fact. The more facts you have, the more you know. Even if you don’t like what statistics tell you, they can still be useful to you.

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