Google Analytics: Quite Awesome !!

Posted on 1/29/2007 @ 12:24 AM in #Non Techie by | Feedback | 3648 views

If you run your own website, it is important to have a good insight into your website statistics. This tells you where to focus your energies to get the most bang for your effort. And seriously, there is no excuse not to do so, especially when you can do it for free. Check out www.google.com/analytics. It's free, signup is easy, and the reports are - well - pretty good for absolutely free. :-)

For instance, I was checking out where on the globe my readers are from. The biggest disadvantage of google analytics is that it reports only a snapshot of the last 5 days.

So, in the last 5 days (1-28-2007 to 1-22-2007), my visitors were from the following places on the globe -

Larger circles mean, more visitors.

Here are a couple of other insights I learnt from the data collected,

On an average working day,

- I received at an average of 70,000 visitors per day, 84.47% were new visitors, and close to 60% of total hits were from search engines. 54.93% were from google.
- > 500 visits per day were from the Microsoft.com domain (not referrals mind you). This means a huge # of MSFT employees are reading this either via google hits, or via subscription.
- The #1 country (in more ways than one), from which I get hits, is the United States - 18,400ish hits a day, followed by UK (3460), India (2310), Canada (2100), and Germany (1270).
- Only 1 out of 2993 visitors comes back to my site. In other words, most folks come around here via a google hit, and then go mind their business.

What does this tell me?

- RSS Subscriptions are a waste of time. With due respect to everyone who actually reads my blog posts dutifully, but 99.99% of folks simply subscribe, collect, and "mark as read" later. VERY VERY few folks subscribe to a very few handpicked blogs, and very few of them actually read it. Most of the true marketing occurs from "Google". In fact, RSS only makes it easier for others to steal content and add to my traffic bills. In future, I may choose to excerpt RSS, with an option to get full feed for those who are truly interested.
-  Of search engine hits, a large massive chunk is still from google. Tells me that developers haven't really migrated yet to live.com etc. The #2 was a distant yahoo (not live.com) - atleast for my site. In short, I cannot ignore SEO.
- Area for possible improvement: Repeat visitors: A huge number of visitors to my site, simply view a page, and move away. In other words, I need to think of ways to click a few more links within my site before they move away.

... Added later ....

Okay, as I said above, "with due respect to everyone who actually reads my blog posts". The folks who do read my blog posts have frequently corrected, and added to stuff I have written. They are in fact the most valuable group of readers because they are probably the smartest, most driven, stay at the edge kind of folks anyway. My RSS comment was aimed solely towards the kind of individual who subscribes, aggregates, but never reads. Seriously, if you have > 100 rss feeds in your aggregator - time to clean up buddy.

So clearly my choice of words was incorrect, but atleast my thoughts weren't. RSS isn't a complete waste of time afterall.

Sound off but keep it civil:

Older comments..


On 1/28/2007 10:36:34 PM Arnaud Weil said ..
These numbers are impressive, congratulations!


I'm one of those few reading your blog through RSS. And, yes, I really read it. So it'd make my life more difficult if you cut this service.


On 1/28/2007 10:52:56 PM Sahil Malik said ..
Hey Arnaud -

Thanks for being a reader. I hope you find my ramblings useful.

I have about 130ish bloglines subscribers, 113 from newsgator, about 300-400 from live.com, and a similar number from google reader (and no idea about client based RSS readers or others, I can dig for that info - but who cares!). So the overall RSS feed traffic is very low anyway. I had a hint that RSS was not as important as many may think it is - which is why I didn't pollute the UI with "subscribe with blogines/newsgator/live.com etc. etc." chicklets.

So in short, no point cutting the RSS feed. And, even if I cut the RSS, I will definitely include a backdoor for full feeds for folks who are truly interested in reading what I write :) (even though half it is crap anyway).

SM


On 1/28/2007 11:46:02 PM Haacked said ..
Well I wouldn't dismiss your RSS audience like that. Obviously you get tons more hits from Google, but that's primarily because you write useful content. Thus these are people who are searching for the solution to your problem, read the relevant blog post, and are gone, possibly never to return again unless they have another search need.

Whereas many of us read your blog through our RSS Aggregator (I use RSS Bandit). We've read your entries every time you post, and we're interested in what you have to say.

Why punish your loyal readers because we can't match up to the flash-in-the-pan visitors from Google?

Besides, the importance in RSS isn't how many subscribers you have. It's the quality of the subscribers. You may owe alot of your traffic to the fact that your subscribers link to you when you write something relevant to them. Without an RSS Feed, they likely wouldn't have seen the posts and your Pagerank wouldn't necessarily be so high. Something to consider.


On 1/29/2007 12:20:47 AM Sahil Malik said ..
Brother Haack. I love you (in a completely heterosexual way I might add).

If I had to prioritize, I would say, the most important category of readers are RSS readers who actually read what I write on a regular basis. In fact, I have written stuff many times that has been immediately corrected by or added to by a reader - so nobody's gettin' cut off.

Actually, I think what I wrote above there is being misconstrued - so let me go correct it. Hold up !!

SM


On 1/29/2007 2:56:30 AM . said ..
www.clustrmaps.com has been doing the mapping for ages.


On 1/29/2007 8:23:42 AM Sahil Malik said ..
Dear ".". Does Clustermaps do stats also?


On 1/29/2007 8:25:30 AM Bill said ..
Do you have to be so f-ing good at Everything? Jeezus H man. Seriously though, well done buddy, few people work harder than you and no one deserves recognition more


On 1/29/2007 8:35:14 AM Arnaud Weil said ..
Hi Sahil,


Yes, your blog is very useful. Indeed, I have too little time available to read blogs so I only suscribe to those that rock...


Those days, I especially appreciated your tutorials on WPF. Great job!


On 1/29/2007 8:42:10 AM Sahil Malik said ..
Thanks Bill :). For all the ladies reading, I'm really good at literally everything.

Arnaud - I'm encouraged. More WPF stuff coming then :)


On 1/29/2007 8:58:37 AM Eber Irigoyen said ..
every time I see someone else's analytics map and compare it to mine, I realize that the blog readers are all concentrated in the same places, the readership distribution around the globe is the same


On 1/29/2007 1:56:31 PM Speednet said ..
Maybe that huge blob over Hawaii is Rick Strahl hitting the Refresh button a bunch of times? ;-P


On 1/29/2007 2:27:43 PM Sahil Malik said ..
LOL it's the Rick Strahl tsunami.

More interestingly, there are zero hits from both Montana, and Africa. What does that tell ya !! :)


On 1/29/2007 4:36:08 PM Haacked said ..
Could be Rob Conery also hitting the refresh button. Thanks for the clarification. :)

p.s.


Brother Malik, I love you back I suppose (in a completely heterosexual manner as well, as much as one can claim to love another person one has never met in person, but only via the content of their blogs).


;)


On 1/31/2007 2:58:07 AM Holger said ..
very much impressing. in Europe google dominates the market still more strongly; approx. 90% of all customer inquiries come over google; in Spain there is throughout over 96%

regards from Germany


On 1/31/2007 10:01:45 PM √Čric said ..
Hi Sahil,

With Google Analytics, it is possible to set a Date Range. Check the last box (Date Range) at the right side.

Enjoy!


On 8/22/2007 4:27:23 PM ClustrMaps Team said ..
Sorry to have missed this posting from some time ago. I just wanted to note that ClustrMaps is kind of the 'mirror image' of Google Analytics: it provides a very quick and simple 'gestalt' view that is very scalable and displays all your visitor locations, forever! No fine-grained statistics, which Google Analytics does so well. The two are thus quite complementary. We even have users who have abandoned Google Analytics in favour of ClustrMaps, or who just use both.

Have a look at us at http://www.clustrmaps.com

Many thanks!

-CJ on behalf of the ClustrMaps Team