Thursday, January 25, 2007

Using Google Analytics For Tracking Website Traffic

I've been using Google Analytics for tracking traffic to my website and my blog for a while now and I find the information it provides very useful. Google Analytics can tell you things like where in the world the traffic is coming from, configurations of users machines, and the number of returning and new visitors to your website. Very useful to determine your target audience. And best of all it's free! It's also easy to use which is an added bonus. But you get what you pay for. I have three problems with Google Analytics:

1. The lack of real time statistics. I would like to see what is going on now not tomorrow.

2. I question the accuracy of Google Analytics traffic numbers. I've compared it to a couple other logs and there are some discrepancies. The only thing that could account for these differences are robots, visitors who turn off Javascript (but I know under 5% of the visitors to my sites have Javascript turned off), or proxy servers like Proxomitron.

3. What does Google do with the data they collect? At this point the service is free and until they do something questionable I will continue to use them. Google Analytics is like the Safeway Club Card for the web; they know what store you visit, what soda you buy and when you buy it, now they can target adds to you with more accuracy.

One bit of interesting information is that no one with a 30" monitor visits my website. The top three resolutions are 1280 x 1024, 1024 x 768 and 1600 x 1200 totaling over 75% of the visitors. I guess my request for a 30" monitor to optimize the Delphi user experience is pointless. Bummer 'cause I love my 30" monitor at home.

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