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A look at what you are reading – right now
December 5, 2011 - Art Smith
Like many sites, we use Google Analytics to measure how much traffic is using our site. The service does a great job of providing data for the operators of websites to help them better understand how users interact with their sites.
A recent upgrade provides even more information. In the past analytic packages mainly told you what people read in the past. The upgrade let you know what people are looking at in the present – at this exact moment in time.
The results are, well, a little startling.
As I write this blog it is a little after 4 p.m. on a Monday. There are 65 people currently on our site. Thee are 14 on the home page, 7 are reading the obits page, several people are reading a story about an accident on Interstate 77 and 3 are looking at page where we are selling race shirts from past News and Sentinel Races, a direct response to an email I sent out 15 minutes ago. The pages and the metrics associated with them update constantly.
We can also tell where the people are. Of the 65, 63 are in the United States, one is in Brazil and one is in Canada.
Real-time analytics is another tools that can help us better understand how readers use our site. It will come as a surprise to no one who knows me that I a little bit of a data geek. To be able to watch our readers react with our sites in real-time is a bit like being able to look over the shoulders of every reader of the print version to see what story they are reading at any given moment, a truly remarkable feat, even in the digital world.
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