Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Google analytics

I suspect that many of my readers have their own websites.

There are a lot of ways to keep track of how many people are visiting your site. I recently switched to Google Analytics, and I'm sticking with it.

My blog is hosted by Google (they own Blogger), so it just made sense to add analysis tools to the list of services that Google provides to me for free.

I don't get a bazillion hits every day, so it matters to me where every visit comes from, how long they stay, and what they view while on my sites. Google Analytics shows me everything, and much much more.

Above is your typical statistics page. It shows how many visits/pageviews I get on the Vault Blog. It shows where my visitors are coming from (google, facebook, twitter, etc) and it shows which pages get the most views. For me, that's the landing page of the blog.

This shows me which browsers my readers are using. This is important because some browsers are much more competent than others, and my site needs to be accommodating to whichever browser the majority of my readers are using. In this case, that is Firefox. Of course, if Firefox isn't the most widely used browser out there, it soon will be. This chart also shows me the connection speeds of my users. If I was posting huge videos and all my readers where on dialup connections, I would have a problem. Knowing how fast your users can load what you are posting is important.

This chart shows me how loyal my readers are. It looks like I have 11 people that check in every day, regardless of whether I post anything or not. One of those people is me, so I have 10 super-loyal readers. I don't know who they are, but to them: Thank you! 
What I hadn't realized is how many one-time visitors I have. Most of what I post here tends to assume that my readers have been around for a while. That isn't the case, so I'll be posting more internal links to previous posts, which allow my new readers to catch up and see what I've been up to recently.

Google even keeps track of which operating systems my users have, what version of flash they are running, their screen resolution and whether they have java support enabled.

Not surprisingly, most of my readers are running an Apple operating system of some kind. OSX and IOS together make up about 55% of my readership. The rest of my users are running either Windows or Android.

Going deeper, I discovered that Google Analytics keeps track of where my users live! Unsurprisingly, most of my views come from Colorado and Arizona, where nearly all my friends and family live. I also get a healthy amount of traffic from 17 other states (really light green) including Utah, New York (thanks Simon Hucko) Texas, Florida and Missouri, among others.

I haven't even begun to explore all the power of the analytics system that Google has to offer. There is much more to be discovered and utilized. I encourage anyone running a website of any kind to add Google Analytics to your arsenal. Like all of Google's services, it is free and very simple to set up.

Thanks to the users who gave suggestions in response to my call for post suggestions.

If you missed it, I posted a call for participants late last night - check it out!

A random post from back in the day: DIY Pizza box Softbox