Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Behind The Scenes: StatCounter Maps

One of the striking things about the internet is the quality and extent of free stuff. Everyone wants to provide me with high-quality products and services for free. Firms will compete fiercely with one another to give me stuff for free. It's certainly not because I'm rich, or famous, or powerful. They treat me this way even though I'm one of the masses. The motto seems to be "To each according to their wants they didn't even know they had, from each a big fat zero."  It's the kind of economic system that really works for me.

Let me admit up front that which must be obvious to everyone. As a blogger, I'm a novice. I'm not a blogging expert, by any means, and I'm in no particular position to pontificate on the art of blogging. I thought, however, you might like to learn of some of the free things people really, really, really want me to use.  I'll begin with StatCounter, because it provides (among other things) this very neat graphic.

It's a world map showing where the most recent visitors came from. (Click on it to enlarge it.) Most of you hail from the US, but there are a fair number that come from Europe and some loyal visitors from down under.

The one on the equator is one that StatCounter couldn't figure out where it came from.

Regarding the visitors from Europe, I've sometimes noticed the traffic move across the planet based on time of day. Very early in the morning for us here in the good 'ol USA, the traffic is heavier than  "usual" in Europe, and lighter than "usual" in the US. As the day wears on, the pattern returns to normal. See, this is how this tool is useful. I can infer that more people read the blog when awake than when asleep.

I've blown up the same image to better show the pattern in the US. This map is also very handy. It tells me that I'm getting most of the hits from population centers where most of the people live.

I can use this information to tailor my posts to attract the attention of people rather than, say, forests or mountain ranges.

I make sure to check these maps regularly, just in case things change.

Perhaps you find it a bit spooky that I know where you live. Well I don't and StatCounter doesn't either. They just know where your service provider is located. If, for example, you live in Texas, but use a service provider in Central America, then you're that one visitor I think is from Panama, even though you're not.

Next time, I'll show you some more stuff from StatCounter. It will be like Penn and Teller when they reveal all the secrets you're not supposed to know. Just don't let anyone know I'm giving away the secrets.

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