October 22nd, 2004

default, pepper

Fun with Urchin

So the hosting provider for Claw & Quill has a web log analyzer program called Urchin pre-installed. Urchin’s a pretty cool program—probably the best one I’ve seen. It can generate all the normal statistics, and does a lot of extra magic based on tracking sessions—i.e., not just hits on specific pages (what it calls “pageviews,” as distinct from a “hit,” which is really an access of any file on the website), but how many pages people visited when they were browsing the site, how “deep” they went into it, how long they stayed, what the pages they came in on were and what pages they left from. Session tracking can be more accurate than a typical “page counter,” which often run a little high, particularly if they’re not smart enough to know that it’s the same browser reloading the same page.

It looks like C&Q, in the three days it’s been open (and advertised to be open, at least, with no web glitches), has gotten an average of 108 sessions a day, with 525 page views a day across the site. It’s getting about 10.5M transferred a day, which means I can project to be well under the bandwidth cap, my one worry about TextDrive’s hosting. An average session, thus, hits about 5 pages on the site, and by Urchin’s counting methods lasts about three and a half minutes. It can’t tell how long someone looks at the “exit page,” though, so if they’re taking some time to read a story, it’s not reflected in that. About 20% of the readers seem to end up in the forum, which is good.

Flayrah is, not surprisingly, the most frequent referral, accounting for nearly 30% of the ones I’ve gotten. Belfry Comics is the next biggest referral provider in the fandom, although the biggest one after Flayrah right now is, amusingly, a message I posted on the Textpattern Users’ Forum (they have a section for announcing new TXP-driven sites).

I’ve submitted the link to Spicy Green Iguana, Yahoo! and Open Directory, but I’m struggling to find other places for more general science fiction links that (a) give you an obvious way to submit new ones and (b) seem to still be being updated. The most active “Sci-Fi News”-style sites on the net are focused on film and TV. Anyone have any suggestions for places they go to in order to find out things like this? Should I be hitting Usenet newsgroups (and if so, which ones?) Any big web boards? Do people still use web rings enough to make joining one worth my while? Should I put up a page of links and/or add a link sidebar and try to push for link exchanges, and if so, what’d be useful to link to?

I’ll write more some other time (soon) about future plans, too, to bounce the ideas around the group here.