Monday, July 02, 2007

Four Corners of Europe

Geo Map Overlay from Google AnalyticsI have to admit that I’m addicted to Google Analytics. No, I don’t check my blog’s stats everyday, but I’ll check the reports every week or so (okay, sometimes every couple of days).

One of the most fascinating reports is the Map Overlay, graphically depicting the sources of your visitors using a dynamic world map. You can zoom in to a particular continent, subcontinent, or country. At any level you can view the city-level source, getting size- and color-coded dots representing the number of visitors. (The real report displays the city name and number of visitors when you hold the cursor over the dot. Here you just see a static screen shot, so you won't get the same dynamic behavior.) Of course, some of these visitors are what I call “accidental” visitors, where the search term they used pinged your site, but it was a false match. It happens. Nevertheless, for the month of June, the four extreme compass points within Europe that visited my site are
North: Rovaniemi* (capital of Lapland, Finland)
South: Athens (Greece)
East: St. Petersburg (Russia)
West: Lisbon (Portugal)
The European city that contributed the most visitors is London. Once you sign up, Google Analytics site provides customized Javascript code you embed in each page you want to track (put it in your blog template and it will show up on each page). You can also add custom code to track when a user clicks a link to go to an external page or to download an mp3 file (for example). And, you can put in a filter to exclude your own clicks from the data collecting. The Analytics site tells you how to do all this and (in my experience) the technical support is good about answering questions.

*Rovaniemi is way up north near the Artic Circle. You can see the midnight sun from June 6 through July 7. What a great way to get a bit of geography knowledge.

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