Google Analytics – Free Fun For Fact Freaks

A few weeks ago, not long after I set up this new website* I thought it might be interesting to see if anyone actually visited it, so I signed up for Google Analytics. The basic service is free, and seemed extremely comprehensive. You get an account, which is basically just an extension to your existing Google (Android/YouTube/whatever) account and a small code snippet which is added to the site. To work effectively the code is inserted into a section that is accessed on every page load, so you can either manually insert it, or if you’re lazy like me just install a free plugin to do the work for you. I use the cunningly name Google Analytics for WordPress which can be downloaded or simply installed from the WordPress dashboard. In this case you enter your account code and the plugin does the rest.

To be honest I wasn’t expecting much, if anything, to happen. I checked the Analytics site today and was was quite surprised to find that the site had had over 826 visitors and over 1300 page views. OK, I’m happy to admit that most of those will be search engines and spam bots looking for forum sites to promote their crap (I get a lot of spam comments, so setting up Captcha or similar is my next job…).

Now the interesting bit starts. Google lets you break down the visitors in all sorts of graphical formats. My favourite so far is the Geo mode, which breaks down the data by country, like so:


If you hover the mouse over a country it tells you how many sessions came from there, and, depending on the country, if you click on it you can get a larger scale map with regional information too. I was amused by the two visits from Kazakhstan, also one each from Afghanistan and Iran. My site seems very popular with Indonesian search engines, there were 59 visits from there! Map colours represent the number of visitors graphically, a darker shade means more sessions.

Another section that I found interesting was the Browser and OS section under the Technology header:

google_analytic2According to this table almost half of all visits were from Google Chrome based browsers. Whilst this might be correct I am a bit dubious to say the least. I use Chrome on my Android Phone (because the Samsung browser is rubbish) and on my Nexus tablet because it came pre-installed, but I’ve never liked the desktop version, and only ever tend to use Firefox unless I need to test something for cross-browser issues. The bit I found least likely was Internet Explorer in fourth place with only 12% of users. If that is correct I would put it down to the content of my site being interesting only to tech geeks, who, like me, generally avoid Microsoft IE like the plague.



*(incidentally the old one was created about 5 years ago and was last updated about 4 1/2 years ago – it was getting past it, plus was all hand coded php/html so a swine to modify)