Friday, 13 June 2008

Google Analytics:
Fascinating Timewaster, no. 1

Like all freelancers, I have to spend a lot of time online for work: looking for work, securing work, talking about work. I have a website to think about, this blog, a Facebook presence, papers to read, that sort of thing. I’ve been quite strict with myself about keeping working hours for work, and being online is no different.

And then, my Web Dork introduced me to Google Analytics. (I'm not bothering to link to anything Google . . .)

He needs it to work wonders with my Google rating, and he’s doing an A+ job. Am I the last person on Earth to know about Google Analytics? Probably. But now, I’m mesmerised by it – and unlike the Web Dork, I don’t need this information at all. For example:

They don’t like me in Holts Summit, Missouri
– or rather, they’re looking for some other kind of Parkbench. I see a theme: in places where the weather can be warm and people like to be outside, like Sydney, Melbourne, and, well, Holts Summit, MO, I’m getting false hits: garden furniture.

But folks in London, Dublin, L.A., Edinburgh, Galway and, oddly, Halifax think that is worth a good ten or fifteen minutes, about which I’m very pleased.

Aside from the overall popularity of the site, date trends and the statistics it provides, Google Analytics provides new website owners a great sense of curiosity: ‘Who do I know in Barcelona, or Morristown, North Carolina?’ ‘Is that who I hope it is, having a look at the website from Edinburgh?’ ‘What publisher is based in Blackrock, County Cork?’

Hmmm. Back to work.