In the past I have completely hated tracking cookies and the way in which ad websites track your browsing habits across multiple pages, sites and visits. However, as the web has developed tracking cookies have become more and more the accepted norm to the point now where I accept most cookies and have even installed them onto my website to track visitor movements in the form of Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is a very powerful tool for being able to analyse your visitor numbers and browsing habits. Over the last six months I have been using the data collected to shape my blog posts in such away to attract more visitors but also retain the regular ones I have with things of interest and stop posting about those things that the data suggests people are not interested in. The main change in topic area as a result of this has seen me blog less about politics – leaving that to the heavy weights of Kiwiblog, No Minister, Frogblog and others. In place of these blog subjects I have been focussing more on computers, science, religion and general news related topics. This has seen the number of posts made decrease slightly but an increase in the number of comments made and a steady level of site visitors and a large rise in the number of visitors to the site’s RSS feed.
Below are the main highlights of the Google Analytics data from September to February, please note the visitor numbers are only those hitting the main site (as Google Analytics does not track RSS hits), Google Analytics also filters out bots, spiders and other automatic crawlers and aggregators so this is some of the best data I have on actual true human visitors to the site.
Visitors plotted by week
Breaking down the visitors by city is a really nice way to see how the blog is having a worldwide reach. Sure the vast majority of my visits come from New Zealand, but the data also shows many visits (in order from most visits) from London, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Singapore, Dublin, Perth, New York, Manchester, Los Angeles and more than 1,700 other cities around the world.
The breakdown of visitors by web browser makes for good reading especially as Firefox is beating Internet Explorer.
When you then add in the operating system into the mix Internet Explorer and Windows comes back to the top though.
The search keywords is one of my main sources for determining what topics I should blog on, as you see no politics related searches here:
So that’s it, I use Google Analytics to “spy” on visitors and but will happily share most of the data with you. The only thing I have excluded from this round up is the list of the most popular blog posts – but they are listed in the sidebar anyway (updated monthly). It will be interesting to see in another six months what has changed. In particular if changes in my personal life (moving countries) will affect my blogging and in turn affect my visitor numbers and trending.