50 days ago I introduced the Clustr map to this blog and I just love it! Clustr shows the location of all the visitors to this blog on a global map (see the right hand column) and gives me a real flavour of my readers. I'm truly amazed by how the blog has been accessed by people in an enormous range of countries across all continents (except Antartica!) since I introduced it. Quite awesome.
Maybe I should explain. My first degree is in Geography and I've always loved traveling and seeing new countries so I really relate to being able to see where you all are.
We're now up to 6,281 people since 18 March - which I calculate means that in 50 days there has been an average of around 125 visitors per day. (Although I think some of those are me creating posts and editing the template as I don't think it's got an 'ignore host' gizmo yet!)
Seeing all those little red dots every day reminds me all the time that what I'm writing is being read by people all over the world - which helps with thinking about what to write, how to write and what links to include. Mind you - I'm presupposing that people like having access to more information about places in other countries in the same way that I do!
On Friday evening, I decided to have an update/maintenance session and came across MapStats from BlogFlux - which provides a good range of statistics and charts around visitors to the blog (as other stats software also does) but also has this rather neat little box which lists the locations of the last 10 visitors to the site. I've been completely riveted by it since introducing it! It's just under the Clustr map.
In relation to privacy - absolutely no information is being derived from your computer by this blog that isn't also being obtained on a regular basis by other sites using similar software to track their visitors - which in reality means most sites. However, the stats data I get is totally anonymous in that I'm never provided with any personal data whatsoever about any of my visitors - although it does tell me about your computers (and what a lot of Firefox devotees there are out there!), where you are (IP location - which generates the maps), where you came from (where you were on the internet before arriving at the blog), what keywords you used in a search engine and which posts you visited. Again - can I emphasise this is data which is typically obtained by statistical software on most sites you visit every day with a view to improving the visitor experience.
I certainly won't be supplying anybody with the statistical information provided to me by the tracking software. However I personally find it very useful for tweaking the site to reflect technology being used, people's interests (eg key words searched) and the popularity of different posts (more of this and less of that!).
So - what do you think - do you like the information about visitors on my site? Do you think it's too intrusive or about right? Let me know.
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