Category Archives: StatCounter

Free StatCounter – A Serious Blogger’s Best Friend?

image Are Blog statistics important? Maybe – maybe not; it really depends on why you blog, the type of content you produce, and on your expectations for readership.

If you are a serious Blogger, you may have already concluded that the Internet playing field is not level; that your site cannot compete with corporate sites that specialize in the same content that you offer. But, there are exceptions – and your site can be one of the exceptions.

Great content is the critical ingredient in the success recipe. But, it’s not the only ingredient. I have a great many friends who are serious bloggers, who regularly produce great content, but whose readership growth does not reflect the efforts they put into creating this great content.

Anyone who has been in a management position is, or should be, familiar with this old truism from the late management guru Peter Drucker – “What gets measured, gets managed”. Having spent most of my working life in management, I can assure you of the general truth of this statement.

Measuring the performance of a business operation, (a serious blogger is in business, in a sense), and then acting on the results of those measurements, is critical to both the short and long term success of any business. Measuring customer expectations (and then listening to the customer), is arguably the most important.

We are all familiar with General Motors, a notable example of what can happen to a company which chooses not to listen to customers. Elementary analysis of customer expectations, appears to not have been one of General Motors strong points.

In order to be a successful blogger, and compete with “the big guys”, you need the ability to measure, and manage, your Blog’s important metrics. Since you can’t talk directly to your customer (the reader), to any great extent – I grant you “comments” are important – you need an unbiased tool, one you can rely on, which will will help you interpret your readers needs, wants, likes, dislikes, and more.

StatCounter is a free measurement and reporting tool (a more comprehensive upgrade version is available), which, if used appropriately, can help you measurably increase your Blog’s web presence, and help drive more visitors to your site.

Fast facts:

Free, Fast, Responsive, Quick loading and Reliable Service.

Invisible Tracking – no ads on your website.

Accurate real-time website statistics with detailed visitor tracking and analysis.

It couldn’t be simpler – pasting a piece of code into your Home Page starts the process which will provide you with the following information.

Summary

Popular Pages

Entry Pages

Exit Pages

Came From

Keyword Analysis

Recent Keyword Activity

Recent Came From

Search Engine Wars

Exit Links

Exit Link Activity

Downloads

Download Activity

Visitor Paths

Visit Length

Returning Visits

Recent Pageload Activity

Recent Visitor Activity

Recent Visitor Map

Country/State/City/ISP

Browsers

System Stats

As an illustration, here are several examples of “Recent Pageload Activity” from my site. Clicking on the graphic will increase the size, or use your Browser magnifier.

image

image

As you can see, just this one screen can tell you who your readers are, where they came from, what they found interesting, and more. To put it another way –in this case, StatCounter is reporting my readers needs, wants, likes, dislikes, and so on.

I use StatCounter every day to help me listen to my readers, and to determine what it is they need – what they want to read, and what’s important to them. Taking this small extra step, has paid off in helping me establish an Internet presence that might otherwise have been much more difficult.

If you are a serious blogger, StatCounter, used appropriately, can increase the pleasure that blogging gives you. After all, which one of us doesn’t like to see our efforts produce results.

One caveat: The free version of StatCounter is restricted to the last 500 web site hits. For most people though, this restriction should not be an issue.

You can signup for this free service on the StatCounter site.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

10 Comments

Filed under blogging, Blogging Tools, Business Applications, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Personal Perspective, Social Blogging, Software, StatCounter, Windows Tips and Tools

Download Hotspot Shield – Secure Your Public Internet Connections

image

On weekends, I’ve noticed that a disproportionate number of hits on this site come from Hotels. How do I know this? It’s easy really –  I just look at the Label IP Address in my site’s hit counter (StatCounter), which gives me this information.

Don’t be alarmed; no personal information of any kind can be deduced from the statistical information StatCounter generates.

Your Internet Browser provides much more information to every web site that you visit. For example, the information below is available to every web site I visit. I have X’d out certain parameters for privacy purposes only.

Your computer is connecting to the internet at xxxxxxx, xxxx, in the xxxx, with an IP address of 24.xxx.xxx.xxx

Your User Agent is being reported as: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8.1.12) Gecko/Firefox/3.6

Your Referrer is being reported as: http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&client= ient=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en

Your IP Address is 24.xxx.xxx.xxx

Your Host Name is x2xx- xxx.xxx.xxx.cable.net

As opposed to this, the following graphic illustrates what StatCounter’s report looks like. I’ve used an example from a Police agency in the UK, since I’m reasonable sure this is a hardened site, rather than a Hotel, which I’m reasonable sure would not be a hardened site.

Essex Police

So what kind of information can I gather from this Hotel traffic? Well, nothing personal, or of any real value, except this; these Hotel guests are potentially playing with fire.

Hotel room Internet connections including both Wi-Fi, and wired, are notoriously vulnerable to hacking. This vulnerability is not restricted to Hotel rooms of course. Other vulnerable locations include internet cafes, and public terminals in libraries.

The YouTube video “Sidejacking using Ferret and Hamster”, is a good illustration of just how easy sidejacking (session hijacking) can be.

Hotspot Shield, is a free solution which uses both a proxy server and encryption technology, which can increase security (particularly at off site locations), and protect your privacy as well, by effectively hiding your IP address .

image

According to the developers “Hotspot Shield creates a virtual private network (VPN) between your laptop or iPhone, and our Internet gateway. This impenetrable tunnel prevents snoopers, hackers, ISP’s, from viewing your web browsing activities, instant messages, downloads, credit card information or anything else you send over the network”.

Upside: I’ve been using this application for some time now, and it does exactly as it says. Despite the fact this is a proxy service, I find no slowdown in accessing sites, pages, or streaming content.

I’m satisfied with its performance – it works well, and is easily turned on/off via the system tray icon.

image

Incidentally, Hotspot Shield was named as one of the best free applications of 2008 by PC Magazine.

Downside: This is an ad supported application and it puts banner ads on every web page that you view.

Fast facts:

Securing your web session with HTTPS encryption

Secure your data & personal information online

Hiding your IP address for your privacy online

Securing your connection at both your home Internet network and public Internet networks (both wired and wireless)

Allowing you to access all content privately without censorship; bypass firewalls

Protecting you from snoopers at Wi-Fi hotspots, hotels, airports, corporate offices and ISP hubs

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a free application which will raise your level of security and keep your web surfing private, Hotspot Shield is definitely worth a look.

System requirements: Windows 7, Vista,  XP, 2000, Vista. Mac OS X (10.4 Tiger), Mac OS X (10.5 Leopard), Mac OS X (10.6 Snow Leopard)

Download at: Major Geeks

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

12 Comments

Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Online Safety, Privacy, Software, StatCounter, System Security, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Free StatCounter Can Help You Manage Your Blog for Growth

image Are Blog statistics important? Maybe – maybe not; it really depends on why you blog, the type of content you produce, and on your expectations for readership – most particularly on your readership expectations.

If you are a serious Blogger, you may have already concluded that the Internet playing field is not level; that your site cannot compete with corporate sites that specialize in the same content that you offer. But, there are exceptions – and your site can be one of the exceptions.

Let me state up front, this is not an article on SEO, which frankly, I consider voodoo, and in a broader sense – cheating. In order to attain good search engine placement, great content is the critical ingredient in the success recipe. But, it’s not the only ingredient.

I have a great many friends who are serious bloggers, who regularly produce great content, but whose readership growth does not reflect the efforts they put into creating this great content.

Anyone who has been in a management position is, or should be, familiar with this old truism from management guru Peter Drucker – “What gets measured, gets managed”. Having spent most of my working life in management, I can assure you of the general truth of this statement.

Measuring the performance of a business operation, (a serious blogger is in business, in a sense), and then acting on the results of those measurements, is critical to both the short and long term success of any business. Measuring customer expectations (and then listening to the customer), is arguably the most important.

We are all familiar with General Motors, a notable example of what can happen to a company which chooses not to listen to customers. Elementary analysis of customer expectations, appears to not have been one of General Motors strong points.

In order to be a successful blogger, and compete with “the big guys”, you need the ability to measure and manage your Blog’s important metrics. Since you can’t talk directly to your customer (the reader), to any great extent – I grant you “comments” are important – you need an unbiased tool, one you can rely on, which will accurately measure and report your readers needs, wants, likes, dislikes, and more.

StatCounter is a free measurement and reporting tool (a more comprehensive upgrade version is available), which, if used appropriately, can help you measurably increase your Blog’s web presence and help drive more visitors to your site.

Fast facts:

Free, Fast, Responsive, Quick loading and Reliable Service.

Invisible Tracking – no ads on your website.

Accurate real-time website statistics with detailed visitor tracking and analysis.

It couldn’t be simpler – pasting a piece of code into your home page starts the process which will provide you with the following information.

Summary

Popular Pages

Entry Pages

Exit Pages

Came From

Keyword Analysis

Recent Keyword Activity

Recent Came From

Search Engine Wars

Exit Links

Exit Link Activity

Downloads

Download Activity

Visitor Paths

Visit Length

Returning Visits

Recent Pageload Activity

Recent Visitor Activity

Recent Visitor Map

Country/State/City/ISP

Browsers

System Stats

As an illustration, here are several examples of “Recent Pageload Activity” from my site. Clicking on the graphic will increase the size, or use your Browser magnifier.

For Statcounter

StatCounter October 18, 2008

As you can see, even this one screen can tell you who your readers are, where they came from, what they found interesting, and more. To put it another way –in this case, StatCounter is reporting my readers needs, wants, likes, dislikes, and so on.

I use StatCounter every day to help me listen to me readers, and to determine what it is they need – what they want to read, and what’s important to them. Taking this small extra step, has paid off in helping me establish an Internet presence that might otherwise have been much more difficult.

If you are a serious blogger, StatCounter, used appropriately, can increase the pleasure that blogging gives you. After all, which one of us doesn’t like to see our efforts produce results.

One caveat: The free version of StatCounter is restricted to the last 500 web site hits. For most people though, this restriction should not be an issue.

You can signup for this free service on the StatCounter site.

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

1 Comment

Filed under downloads, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Social Blogging, StatCounter, Tech Net News, Web Development, Windows Tips and Tools