05 November, 2010

Stats, Posts Read, Referring Websites, and Your Privacy

I can now tell when someone who has me listed in their Ravelry friends clicks through to this blog from their friends' blogs activity page.  Same goes for anyone who goes from a link on their blog to mine, I see the URL of their blog.  Blogger has a new statistics function.  If you don't want me to get this information in my stats, I have suggestions for protecting your privacy.

Through the stats I get a list of referring websites and search words that lead visitors to my blog.  As I said, some of the websites have been Ravelry profiles with users' profile names on them.  To get to my blog without leaving tracks, start from your friends' blogs tab, go to the friends tab, click on my Ravatar to go to my profile, then click on the website link at the top or one of the individual post links at the bottom. Alternatively, you can bookmark the blog URL on your browser and use that to go right to my blog.  You might want to make a note of the name of my post that interested you on your Ravelry activity list so you can find it again.

There are links to my blog in other places on Ravelry such as a group, a list of projects for a pattern, or my projects.  If you click on any of these, the stats will show one of those as the referring website and show nothing about your personal profile.

For anyone who has been navigating from a link or blogroll on their own blog site and who wants to stop leaving that information, you can bookmark my blog and use that to get here.  You can also use an RSS feed reader, which is a convenient way to subscribe to content, though you lose some privacy to the company that supplies the reader.

I suppose a third party could click through from your blog or your Ravelry friends' blog activity, leaving misleading tracks.  For that, I have no solutions.

Besides referring websites, the statistics function also spits out a report of what posts and pages were viewed and how many times they were viewed.  I cannnot see who viewed what exactly.  The stats draw no correlation between the referring websites or searches and the posts viewed.  I have a hunch, though, that there's a strong link between searches for particular products and post views about those products in a particular time period.  I can see stats for a day, a week, a month, or the rather grand "all time."

I am impressed how many blog hits have been initiated by people looking for information on specific spinning tools, manufacturers, and handspinning suppliers.  There are about five sets of keywords that turn up regularly.  I have no feedback on whether anyone actually finds my posts helpful.  Some people use my blog as a quick directory to find a particular fiber arts supplier, and I trust they go on to use the websites and locations in the posts to get in touch with whoever they're looking for.  I don't know how strong my posts are for product reviews.  This blog is about my personal progress as a handspinner, and I write about a tool because I've come across it in my peregrinations so the mention of handspinning tools is incidental and not in any way comprehensive or systematic.  I understand, though, why visitors come for information on products.
People come to Web sites trying to get a job done or a question answered.
Philip Greenspun, Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing

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