I realised recently that I had not been paying much attention to my StatCounter account. I didn’t really check on who was coming from where and who was looking at what and while StatCounter is free and they offer lots of different analyses, I found it difficult to trawl through. So I made an account with Google Analytics for kristarella.blog and away I went.
Not long after that I came across a post by David Airey about referring sites recorded by Google. Reading that inspired me to look a little more closely at my site stats and in doing so I found Google Analytics to have a wealth of information. Whether I’ve put it to good use yet I’m not sure, but I thought I’d share some things I have picked up about actually reading your site stats.
Michael Martin from Pro Blog Design had a post on Problogger about considering width when designing your blog. So I looked up what sort of screen resolutions my readers were using. You can see above that (not surprisingly) many are 1024×768, the second most popular is 1280×1024. I was surprised by the proportion of people still using 800×600, that’s ok – I think the content here is suitable for that.
One of the other things that prompted me to pay more attention to statistics was WordPress’s incoming links on the Dashboard. Many of them are from meme blogrolls so I don’t pay much attention, the author of the page probably doesn’t know they’re linking to me. However, sometimes I get some really valuable links and miss them. The first screenshot above is an example of the display showing where people are coming from: search engines, forums, blogs that I’ve commented on and sometimes referrals within posts. This is handy because you can find out who is linking to you, you can find out why and if appropriate you can thank them!
Something that could probably be made more noticeable on the page is the navigation menu. It’s located at the top left of the page under the Google logo and account toolbar. It seems to go unnoticed, perhaps because the Google logo and the account toolbar are so bright and the menu is two shades of grey. This is definitely the place to go to explore what Google Analytics can do or if you’re looking for something specific. Within each of the four main topics (Visitors, Traffic Sources, Content, Goals) there are subheadings for the different information that is collected.
There is also this handy little icon set towards the middle right of the page, which allows you to change the way the information is presented. You can see that I quite like pie charts, as they’re a relative view of what’s happening on your site. They might not be as useful when comparing different sites, whole numbers might be better for that.
Interestingly, some discussion on David Airey’s post revealed that statistics can be different depending on who’s collecting them, for example Google verses MyBlogLog. If you’re really keen it might not go astray to compare different stat collecting tools.
Do you keep track of what’s happening on your site? Do you think considering your readers’ screen resolutions, browsers, search topics, page views would change anything you do?