>> Saturday, October 2, 2010
I am not a computer whiz, by any stretch of the imagination. Just managing to cope with the little bit of HTML work I have to do to maintain the design of this blog is a huge challenge for me. So when I discover the power of technology, sometimes it impresses the socks off me. I just discovered the joys of Google Analytics.
How it started: a little while ago, I started taking photos at our friend M's baseball league games, just for the fun of it. Once I'd taken a game's worth of photos, it dawned on me that I would like to be able to share them with M and his team, so I started hunting around for a good on-line photo sharing program. I'm a big fan of Google, which is why I use Google's Blogspot as the host for this blog, and I also use it for gmail. Thus, I decided to try the free Google photo sharing and editing program, Picasa.
It was a big ol' hit. Easy to use and free. What more could I ask for? By the way, if your blog is hosted on blogspot, you may already have a Picasa account and not realize it. That's where my blog photos were getting stored. Who knew?
So, because I'm me, I started poking around with all the settings on Picasa and stumbled upon something called Google Analytics. It's a program that allows you to track hits to your web site. I'd already installed a basic program for that for this blog, but found it remarkably unuseful. Could Analytics do more?
Ooooh yeah, baby. It does a whole lot more.
I figured out how to install it for my Picasa photo albums, and have been using it there for weeks. But the viewers of my photo albums are just friends and family, so it wasn't telling me anything exciting. It took me several more weeks to figure out how to install the HTML code on this blog's template - not through any fault of Google's instructions, but through my own sheer ineptitude.
But I figured it out. And on my first day of gathering information about visitors to this blog, I learned I had 47 visitors, who hailed from:
Italy (although that one sort of doesn't count since it's my mother)
Latvia (this is my favorite)
And lots of different places in New York.
I am certain I haven't yet understood the full power of Analytics. My favorite feature, though, is the one that shows you maps of where all your visitors visited from. Take this example of those maps, showing my visitors from within New York State:
Pretty wicked, huh? If you move the mouse over those dots, it tells you what the town is. (For my regular NY readers, can you find yourself on there?) It also allows me to track how visitors find my site, how long they're on my site, and a whole lot more.
I'm guessing some of my readers long ago discovered the fun of Analytics, but for those of you who haven't tried it yet, I highly recommend it. What a fun way to see who's reading what you post!!!