…but I love what you can learn from website analytical and statistical information.
You not only get the basics like pageviews, but you get the down and dirty specifics….the keywords, the when, the where, the IP addresses, if they’re logged in from work, how long they were on each page, the how someone found your site, the last page they were on before they visited your site, the page they left your site to go to, as well as what’s been copied, cut or downloaded. We’re talking full disclosure here.
And if you’re a numbers or data geek (I’m so not either), then it can offer up a lot of personal information. Before long, you can’t help but see the patterns. And well, if you know anything about websites, servers, hosts and the whole package, you could actually track a person down if you wanted.
When you come down to it, no matter how hard you might work at creating that false sense of anonymity, a witty user name, putting everything behind some sort of private access wall, shortening URLs (the whole point of those services is to make the link trackable as well as shorter), or well, just trying to stay anonymous…you just can’t do it.
It always amazes me to think how much time, energy and effort people can put into their false sense of anonymity and the security they think they have. Many people don’t seem to realize, that unless they’re a hacker and can bounce their IP around from server to server, they can’t remain anonymous. It can’t happen.
Which of course is why I always suggest that my clients use a good analytical/statistical program. Quite often, it can give you a glimpse into what your customers are searching for, where they found you and where they are located. This is very usefull information when you’re in business. And you never know when you might have to turn some of that personal info over to lawyers for whatever reason (we’ve had to do this a few times already for various sites). Much like insurance, it’s part of the price of doing business.
How often do you check your stats? Or do you check them at all? What’s your favorite feature?