I’ve always used my site monitoring s/w “Site Meter” as a means of identifying cross-links, who’s looking at my site, in the sense of, where have they come from; other web-pages and institutions of interest. I’m rarely interested in spotting individuals physical locations or IP addresses, that would be sneaky, unless the link leads to further contact. The cross-linking of search hits provides me with valuable sources of new links on subjects common to my blog, however useful the hit has been to my visitor.
For a long time, most hits were just that: search engine hits, and if the user has not followed the link to more than one page, I really had no way of knowing if pages were really being looked at or not, unless people commented or corresponded.
Anyway some interesting stats (for me). I had’t really noticed, but compared to about a year ago (this is year 5) everything is about doubled. Averages are running at 60 hits a day, with over 2 page views per hit (120 page views per day) and each visit now over a minute, (and that’s averaged over the whole life !) so increasingly people are actually looking at my site content, not just having their search engine hit it. (That means the averages over 5 years are about twice those over 4. You do the maths for the 5th year. Must do some total stats over current periods, out of interest.)