I started the blog “Life of an Architect” in an effort to learn more about using the internet and it’s technology to communicate ideas, concepts, projects etc. (my first blog effort was on being technologically relevant). It’s been just over two weeks since I started and I thought I should reflect on the original purpose for starting and evaluate if I am on track with my goals. I also thought it would be interesting to share what I have learned along the way.
Google Analytics – a website that tracks how many people are visiting your website, how they found it, how they explored it, where they are coming from (geographically) among many other things. It s a free service and once you sign up, Google Analytics will generate a unique tag for you to insert into HTML coding of your site that will allow it to gather and track the data. It is very user friendly and the process of inserting the code is explained in great detail so that it’s pretty easy for the most technically challenged.
I have become addicted to looking at the data assembled by Google Analytics and it is one of the first things I do every morning. From there, I can find out if there was any interest in what I wrote, which of my posts is the most popular or least popular, and I can see how many people are reading my post every day. I discovered that I have a followers in Paris, London, and Delft (it’s in Holland). Questions like how did they find me, what were looking for, can be answered with the type of analytic data collected
Feedburner – acquired by Google in 2007, this is a service that allows you to track how many people have subscribed to your feed and with what service/ program they subscribed with. This is also the place I went to send out my blog posts automatically through RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and set up a place where my subscribers could choose to get my posts delivered to them via email or receive my new posts using a RSS reader of their choosing (like iGoogle).
Feedburner is the only site that gives me personalized information on who the people are that read my posts – but only if they subscribe using email. So far, and in most cases, I recognize the emails from my friends who I have bullied into subscribing. There are a few that I don’t recognize but I find not knowing to be kind of exciting. I can also infer from FeedBurner the knowledge level of the people subscribing based on the number of RSS subscriptions I receive. RSS technology is really amazing and I am only just beginning to understand a fraction of the ways information can be shared using this technology.
iGoogle – a news aggregation website that will collect headlines based on the RSS feeds you choose to subscribe to – many people use their iGoogle page as their homepage and the RSS headlines are fed their automatically like getting the newspaper delivered to your door step. You can review the title of the posts and a few of the first lines and if you want to read more about the post, you simply click on it to get the full and expanded version.
Bit.ly – this is a URL (unique web address) redirection service. On the surface, this is where you go to shorten your URL so instead of it looking like this: http://lifeofanarchitect.blogspot.com/2010/02/men-and-urinalstime-for-one-of-them-to.html when you insert it into your post or email (whatever), it looks like this: http://bit.ly/bJvimK
Shortening your link makes things nice for people who use mobile devices but once you have created this url, bit.ly will track this link and tell you how many people have used it and tell you how many times this link has been shared, forwarded or tweeted, by others.
So, the result of learning all of this information has only demonstrated the depths of my ignorance. Having this information doesn’t mean much until I learn how to analyze and respond to it and I am not there yet. I would like to thank everyone who has joined me in this process and I hope that the posts I write improve so that you will remain interested and willing to be a part of this process. In closing, I will leave you with some of the data I have gathered in the last two weeks from my site:
Total Visitors – 427 (233 unique and 194 returning)
Total Subscribers – 34 through RSS
Pageviews – 737
Average Time on Site – 2:12 minutes
Most Popular Post – Architects Salary, Wanna know?
Countries where I have followers – 5 (US, France, UK, Canada, and Netherlands)
Top Three States with most visitors – Texas, California, Washington
# of Texas Cities with Followers – 24
Thanks again, I appreciate your support.