A few days ago I posted the Disperser Tracks – 2011 in review which WordPress provides. It was interesting and informative, and on the face of it I should be happy that in 2011 this blog had about 4,400 views.
BUT . . . I know many of those views were from spammers. They are not even people, although sometimes they are. Mostly they are automated scripts that will come in, leave a referral link, and go away without even looking at the post. Unseen by human eyes, the post in question registers a “hit” as if it were a real person . . . but I know better.
WordPress won’t let me turn on Google Analytics on my blog. Well, technically it’s their blog with my content. Contrast that with my SmugMug account, the place where my online photos can be found. SmugMug provides statistics based on their internal tracking, but I can also integrate Google Analytics.
Here is what Google Analytics has to say about my SmugMug account for 2011 . . .
I had 1,181 visits to my SmugMug account, spread among 33 countries (although the US is the primary source of visitors). These are not spammers; it’s visits by actual people who laid eyes either on my home page, specific galleries, or specific pictures.
The picture above shows the top ten countries by number of visits . . . Slovakia at Number 2 surprised me a bit . . . I was born in that neck of the woods, but I don’t know anyone there. All I can say is they must have impeccable taste in still pictures. Or, they get lost while surfing the internet.
But that’s not all . . . I can find out more about my visitors. For instance, how many unique pages they visited, and how long visits lasted.
From the above I can determine how long people spent looking at my pictures. About 67% of the visitors were there for less than 10 seconds, and looked at an average of 1.3 pages.
The second-to-last row shows 61 visitors were there for as long as a half hour, and viewed 45 unique pages. 38 visitors were there longer; were I religious and believed in souls, I would say “bless their souls”. I might say that anyway, in case they believe it.
This chart shows my most popular galleries, the pageviews for those galleries, and the average time on the page. I admit to not fully understanding “Bounce Rate” and “% Exit” other than in a vague way.
This information is actually more detailed at SmugMug. In SmugMug I can look at statistics for not only individual galleries, but individual photos, something that Google Analytics does not do. There might be a way to set up rules, but I don’t know it.
But, at the very least I know Feathers and Fur ranks up there; people must like birds and animals.
Next up I can get a breakdown of new visitors to returning visitors.
Again, I don’t know how to take this . . .
One way is to say “look at all those new people I’m attracting!!”, but the other way is to say “Hey!! Not many of them come back!!” Again, I’m happy someone is looking.
Back to the map. From The World map one can get into details for each country, and for specific locations within the country. Let me show you the numbers for the US.
This shows me I had visitors from 38 of the 50 states, and the chart shows the top ten states ranked by number of visits. Colorado, Illinois, and Michigan are perfectly understandable since I live in Colorado, lived in Michigan for 26 years, and both lived in Illinois and have relatives there.
But Texas? Other than my brother-in-law I don’t know anyone from Texas, and my brother-in-law is not exactly computer savvy; I’m pretty sure he’s not one of the visitors.
I’m guessing some of those have to do with my visits to San Leon and the associated pictures from those visits.
On the one hand, there is something to be happy about; people are looking at my pictures. On the other hand, the average viewing time is not impressive. Perhaps I should do fewer pictures, but of higher quality.
Moving on, I was surprised Disperser Tracks was not the main referrer to my SmugMug account. Only 23% of the traffic comes from the blog. That’s despite me stressing nearly on every post that the pictures look better when viewed in SmugMug than they do viewed in the blog.
Once again, I don’t know if I should be pleased people are coming from other places, or displeased readers of this blog as a rule don’t go look at the SmugMug galleries.
Perhaps both . . .
There is a lot of stuff that Google Analytics tracks and reports, but the last I will mention is the Visitor Flow. This lets me know how effective my pictures are at engaging visitors.
That shows that 68% wander off after the initial view, 14% more leave after the first interaction, 4.6% wander off after the second interaction, and 2% leave after the third.
That leaves 120 visitors, roughly 10%, who continue on past the third interaction. I read interaction as meaning “clicking on something”.
In conclusion, Google Analytics is interesting to peruse if for no other reason than to punctuate just how little impact one has on the world at large.
Still, it’s nice to know search engines find my pictures, that some people glance at my pictures, and that a small percent of them find them interesting enough to look at them at length.
It’s even nicer knowing some people come back and do it more than once.