Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gadget Thursday: StatCounter

Oooh, a new feature on my blog! While I'm not exactly on the cutting edge of technology (I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to Facebook and Twitter) I *do* know a good thing when I see one. And over the last year or so, several fledgling writers have asked for my help in designing their website or blog with questions like what features they should have, how can they make the site user-friendly, etc.

So I'm going to share some of my favorite online gadgets on Thursdays. Don't get excited. This isn't going to be a weekly feature since I honestly don't have that many gadgets to discuss. But as new items pop up that I've found helpful, I figure I'll post them. And if you know of a gadget I should check out, share! I'll give you full credit!

Today's gadget is If you've checked out my blog or website, you'll see the little numbers button that shows how many visitors I've clocked. That's courtesy of StatCounter. But it's oh, so much more! If I go to the dashboard they've set up with me, I can get all kinds of details about my visitors.

For example, I can see that in these past two weeks in February alone, a major organization has visited my site nine times. I have no idea what they're looking for, but having been cyberstalked before, I can tell you that I keep an eye out for anything suspicious. In my previous case, thanks to StatCounter, when the stalker actually threatened me, I was able to provide my local police with the IP address when I filed a complaint. Luckily, that incident and the stalker lost interest in me once the police showed up at her door. I wonder if I'll need to do that this time, that would be silly. Why on earth would a major organization stalk l'il ol' me?

But I digress. Other helpful facts my StatCounter shares with me:

1. Most popular search entries. In my case, my name is always in a dead heat with "sayings on Dove candy wrappers" (from a Thursday 13 post I wrote years ago).
2. Location of visitors. For fun, you can check how many countries and even how many visitors from each country have popped over to your website/blog.
3. Search engines used. Google, of course, always wins. But Bing is gaining speed and Yahoo and sites like pop up as well.
4. Most popular blog entries. Let's say you write a quickie blog post about dogs and suddenly your visitor numbers spike because dog fans are flocking to that post. You might want to consider writing more entries about dogs, increasing your traffic.

There are oodles of other things, but these are my favorite features. StatCounter is free for basic use, but you can upgrade for a nominal fee.

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: