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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Stats Addiction


     There's been an awful lot of talk lately about stats. Even editors and publishers aren't immune. So I thought I'd talk about my own stats addiction.
     I use a free service through http://www.statcounter.com/. The coding is hidden on most of the pages of my website, so I can track a lot of visitor traffic. The information falls off quickly with the free version though, so I do have to visit often (hence the addiction). But I've found checking in the morning and again at the end of the day seems to give me a good idea of whose been dropping by. It's part of my routine.
     Somebody on my SCBWI message board recently asked if keeping stats serves any practical use. I find my stats highly valuable.
     For instance, I watch my stats closely for hits from New York right after I send out my latest round of promotional postcards. Most of the big publishing houses' servers are named for the houses, so I can see if Scholastic or Random House has been to my site. I do a screen capture of these little snippets and keep them in a file to see who is showing the most interest in me. It helps me direct my mailings better, and it's a nice boost on those days when I feel like throwing in the towel.
     It's helped me recognize which marketing strategies attract more visitors to my site. For instance, when my blog was included in the megablog at Jacketflap my stats shot way up!
     If I've posted some work online for a particular client, I can see when they've visited (or if they haven't yet).
     I can see if people are downloading my art. For some reason, my "Angels and Devils" submission I did eons ago for Illustration Friday is extremely popular. I have no idea why, it's one of my least favorite pieces. Hubbie thinks people are using it for their personal icons. Could be.
     But my favorite part of following my stats is when I see that somebody in some faraway place like Kazakhstan or Taiwan has downloaded one of my coloring pages. Glitter Girl is on the other side of the globe! I wouldn't know it if it wasn't for my stats, and what a groovy thing to know.

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