Following on from yesterday’s very popular invitation to get a complimentary Xobni account (thanks to everyone who emailed me, and well done Mike and Blake!), another area where analytical data can be very helpful is in tracking traffic to your website or blog.
My old mucker Mark Deakin recently pointed me in the direction of StatCounter, a free invisible web tracker that provides real time web stats. Of course, there are lots of free web counters around, but I really like the powerful data provided by StatCounter. Not only can I now see up to the minute graphs of traffic to my Windows Live Spaces page, I can also monitor repeat visitor numbers, visitor location, most read posts and a host of other
useless useful information.
To add StatCounter to your Windows Live Space, first register your account at www.StatCounter.com, create a ‘project’ for your blog, then grab the HTML code for your home page counter by clicking the little spanner icon next to your project. Now click on ‘Install Code’ and choose a counter style that you like. Hit Next, choose MSN Spaces, then Next again. Now highlight and copy (CTRL+C) the HTML code that’s been generated for you.
Now, here’s the less well understood part. Go to Windows Live Gallery and install the HTML Sandbox gadget for Windows Live Spaces. Once this gadget is installed on your Spaces homepage, paste in the HTML code that you copied from StatCounter, then remember to save your changes. You can move the HTML Sandbox gadget to wherever you like; I placed mine right at the bottom of the right hand navigation panel so it’s tucked nicely out of the way.
Now head back to StatCounter and wait for your visitor stats to start appearing.
It’s also worth adding a ‘blocking cookie’ to all the computers that you use to view your Windows Live Spaces pages otherwise your visitor stats will be skewed every time you post to your Space. You can get the blocking cookie from the Installation and Configuration page at StatCounter (click the little spanner icon again).