Business has been a little slow lately, so it is a good time for Robert to work on marketing his law practice. He’s spent a little time this week tuning his professional website’s analytics dashboard. Perhaps some of this blog’s dedicated readers may be interested in hearing about that.
Any website owner is interested in knowing how his/her site is viewed and used by the public. This is where web analytics platforms come in. For example, Google offers a free* web analytics platform that any website owner can use to understand who is coming to the site and how users interact with the site once they get there. [* caveat: As everyone knows, when the software (or software service) is free, it’s the user that’s being sold.]
Robert’s professional website is not very fancy, and it is not terribly interactive. It is not an ecommerce site. It is primarily an online brochure that explains his business. He can send people a link to his site if they want to understand the services he provides. His site is not something that people often find with a search service, for example, Google Search. But sometimes they do come across his site after searching on Google, and it is nice for Robert to know more about what search terms are used to find his site.
Here’s an image of the dashboard Robert uses to analyze traffic to his site.
This report covers only the traffic occurring during the last two days. Since Robert’s website is not often visited, the numbers are pretty low.
You can see that there were only 4 visitors (sessions) to the site during that period. You can see that 1 session was initiated by a computer in Berlin, Germany, 1 in Corte Madera,California, and 1 in Durham, North Carolina. You can also see that one session occurred in an unidentified city.
You can also see that one session occurred through a network identified as “apple inc.” This is interesting. Robert went to the Apple store in Corte Madera yesterday and they took his email address which uses the same domain as his website. I looks like they automatically scraped his website for information about him as a customer. Presumably so they can know more about him and sell him more stuff.
Another visitor came in from a network identified as Crome Architecture. Robert happens to know who this is. His friend Scott Myers works at Crome Architecture. Robert’s dashboard tells him someone at Crome Architecture, probably Scott, visited Robert’s site and viewed 13 of its pages.
The other networks used to visit Robert’s site were Emerson Electric (which Robert discovered is located in Durham, North Carolina). Robert does not know why someone at a company named Emerson Electric would be viewing his site. But he used the analytics platform to discover that the page of his website that that visitor “landed” on (i.e., the landing page of the visit) was his blog page. So, apparently, someone at that company searched the web and stumbled upon one of his very informative blog posts. He does not know which one.
It looks like the visit from the unidentified city discussed above was probably in Latin America, because the name of the network domain where the visitor was located is named “net servios de comunicao s.a.” This is probably an Argentine or Brazilian visitor, as the site has had some traffic from those countries lately.
For the most part, looking at the analytics reports for Robert’s website is not especially helpful to his business. It is largely just an exercise in curiosity. Sometimes something interesting is discovered. For example, Robert knows that his resume went out recently to a company looking to hire a General Counsel. By looking at his dashboard, he knows that someone on that company’s network was poking around his website. Presumably to understand his qualifications.
The bottom line is that we should all have some understanding of information about our visits to websites are tracked by website owners. Website owners like Robert.