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Google Analytics: impressive

I’d had a fiddle with Google Analytics when I managed to get on the early trial, but I’d never really bothered to put any work into it. Why? Well, the traffic on the blog was low (me, my mum, a few mates) and I wasn’t really that interested in doing anything else. Running Analog every now and again was enough to see that the traffic was increasing and that there were some very odd things attracting traffic… For example, the main search terms for August is “Lazy Town”, finding the piece I wrote on the most excellent CBBC series. Next are searches for a friend who’s a playwright, and finally a gaggle of ecommerce, retail and web2.0 related queries. My name (sob) doesn’t feature in the top searches.

This shows that it’s the content – its relevance and quality – that determines visits in this search-engine world and so I thought it was high time to understand a bit more about the behaviour on my web site. What people look at, where they came from and which bits of content are “working” and which not…

Google Analytics’ open-to-all announcement came just as I’d worked out how to edit the Movable Type templates without coming out in a sweat. A simple line of code inserted at the end of a template, a quick rebuild and then a wait of 24 hours until there are some stats.

After years of looking at Analog reports the javascripty interface, attractive reports and considered selection are both a treat and an education. I can see now why the analytics vendors have some concerns, although in honesty this is not going to push Coremetrics out of a large enterprise. For smaller users though this is a real boon.

I’ll continue my learning and report back “in due course” on what I’ve learned.

When taken alongside Blotter this week has delivered a couple of steps forward in visualising activity and ranking of one’s website.