Friday, December 12, 2008

Using Google Analytics to Track Usage of Your Websites or Blogs

Not too long ago I learned that it was possible to track the number of visitors who come and visit your website or blog. I decided to give it a try and began an account with Google Analytics. This account remains free to me for now. I do not know enough about it right now to say whether or not it would charge for more specific data gathering or crunching.

Anyway, I largely forgot about this, until recently I wondered if it had gathered any statistics for me. It shows a report of the last month's activity on my site. Apparently, 139 people have viewed my blog in the last month, but these people have visited it 149 times. It's likely that I am the only repeat visitor. Please tell me if this is not the case. 70.75% found my blog via a search engine. 19.05% found the site from a referring site, perhaps a blog reader. That leaves 10.20% who visit this blog directly, so I guess that would be me. 50 pages were viewed a total of 216 times.

How should I interpret this data? I do not know for sure, but the cool thing I liked about the report was it's feature that showed me which pages were visited the most. It gave a top four list:
1. Library Instruction A La Carte Information Literacy
2. Updated Teaching Philosophy
3. Active Learning Ideas
4. How Do You Know if it's Scholarly

I like how it shows the average amount of time a person viewed your page. The "Updated Teaching Philosophy" averaged about 8 minutes a view, while the "Active Learning Ideas" page was viewed about 6 minutes a view. It's just fascinating to me that I can track this now. I'm not sure how this will affect what I do with my blog. It seems that the proprietors of the blog applications and the analytics applications would want you to understand a bit how you are reaching out to the world, perhaps that would inspire the blogger to write a bit more and consider topics that would appeal to a larger audience.

We shall see if I write about this more in the future. There are certainly sites and blogs that discuss ways in which the bloggers can make their blogs more prominent and visible.


Janet said...

"It's likely that I am the only repeat visitor. Please tell me if this is not the case..."

I'm a repeat visitor who stumbled upon your blog by accident in Dec. 2008. I was searching Information Literacy at ISU (meaning Illinois State University, not Idaho) but I found many of your links very useful, particulary the "Scholarly and Non-scholarly Sources" webpage at the Eli M. Oboler Library. Concise, accurate, and student-friendly. Not only do I agree with the majority of your posts, but you also look amazingly like one of my students here in Robinson, IL who is Mormon and planning to go to school at BYU or Idaho. That accounts for some of your repeat business from the non-analytic side. Thought you'd like to know.

Spencer said...

Thank you so much for letting me know that you are a repeat visitor. It does give me cause to continue posting to this blog and working to make a contribution to the field of information literacy.

By the way, I am a Mormon, and I also attended both BYU and BYU-Idaho. Alongside Scotland, it seems that both BYUs has one of the highest populations per capita of redheads in the world. I don't have any numbers, but I have visited Scotland and there are many redheads there.

Janet said...

We assumed you might be Mormon since you listed the King James Bible and the Book of Mormon in your profile as favorite books. Our 3 Mormon high school students (who hang out with my daughter) guessed your fluent Spanish might be from your mission work, but perhaps not. (A brother of one of the boys left on his mission trip six weeks ago to Mexico.) Two of them are headed to BYU-Idaho in the fall; the third (and your red-headed twin)is only a sophomore but will probably follow his brother to BYU-Provo. I'm the librarian at the local high school. I also serve on the newly-formed literacy committee and have a real interest in "transfer" skills/competencies so students can be successful at the university level whether they stay here in southern Illinois or go to school across the country.

Ironically, I just signed up last night for a 11-day tour to Scotland (and the British Isles) so I'll check out that red-headed thing.

Spencer said...

Yes, I served a Spanish-speaking mission in Chicago, IL. There are quite a few Spanish speakers there, so it helped me learn the language to talk a lot with them. About half the time I was in Chicago, and the other half I was in the suburbs.

I am also interested in promoting information-literacy skills among high school and college students. In fact last week I was talking with a few of my colleagues, and we want to form a panel with high school, public, and academic librarians to discuss how we can work together to promote these information skills among students and the general public. This would be in a small regional conference for our area of the state. Have you got any ideas?

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