When I did the covered bridge and Sidney Lanier bridge websites for work I looked around for a free counter that would tell me how many people were visiting. I went through a couple of iterations before I found one I really liked called Site Meter. Not only does it count the hits without counting the same visitors repeatedly while they are on one visit, but it tells you what browser they are using, the operating system, what link they clicked to get to the site, the time zone, and their internet provider. Although I never implemented it on DOT’s web sites the intended use of Site Meter is for you to put the counter on every page. Then they can count how many pages on your site each visitor visted as well as which page they are entering on and which they are leaving on.
Recently I was thinking about trying out pMachine’s blogging and bulletin board system on my website so I asked SpeedFactory if I could do MySQL and PHP on my 30 MB of web space. They said I would need a commercial account so I won’t do that (and I have a good blog system now that requires no maintenance on my part). Anyway it got me thinking about how many visitors I really have to my website. I had a counter at one point on my home page but it was a more limited page counter (actually one of the counting services I used and stopped using for the DOT pages) so it only counted hits on that page. Enter Site Meter. It’s free anyway so I got a new account started up (even though I don’t maintain DOT’s web sites anymore (neither does anyone else so it’s a shame) the counters are still in place and I still reset them to 0 every January 1) and applied it to all of my web pages on my home page, even the movie reviews.
It’s been in place for a day. So far, except for my own visits, the only people visiting the site have visited one page. So would it be the Galapagos pictures? The iPod battery pack? My program to get notes from the Palm to the iPod? Rules of Night Baseball? Nope. It’s a macro I wrote for Word 97 that unscrambles jumbles using Word’s spell checker. It goes through every permutation of scrambled letters and uses the spell checker to see if it is a word. If it is a word, it tells you what the word is and asks if you want to continue searching. It’s neat but it slows down dramatically once you get to 8 letters. And now there are plenty of websites that offer the same thing. So I have no idea why I would get 5 visits in one day to that page. It doesn’t even show up in Google.
See a follow-up entry.