Monday, March 11, 2013

Google analytics - Stalk in secrecy

Thanks to the paid subscription provided to me by the VCU library system, I get access to subscription content of The Chronicle of Higher Education, which is an online periodical about topics related to higher education.  I signed up for weekly e-mails that pertain to my interests. One of the recently highlighted articles discussed how an academic job candidate created a website with his contact information, CV, and links to his publications, then started using Google Analytics to gain detailed information about who visited his website (Dunn, 2013).

Google analytics is yet another nifty tool provided by the Google universe that tracks information about visitors to your website. You can find out what seems like an endless amount of data about your site visitors, such as how they found your website, how much time they spent on your website, and what pages within your website they visited. The job candidate used it to track when visitors from a geographic location also matched up with schools at which he applied. So, once he submitted an application to a potential employer, he could watch out for when he got 17 visitors from the same locality, and assume that it was a department or school reviewing his application materials.

I'm not on the job market yet, but I can imagine how stress-inducing the process is when you don't even know if your application has been reviewed. Of course, not every potential employer will look at your website, and also you never know why they might be visiting, but at least you have an idea of what's going on behind the scenes.

So, to test it out for you, my readers, I added Google Analytics tracking to my blog. It's pretty interesting! (Says the quantoid.) One of my posts had visitors from Richmond, Charlotte, and Davidson. I can tell you that it is not extremely user friendly for a novice webmaster. But if you are savvy enough to create a website, you can  figure out how to use this tool. Even if you can't create your own website, you certainly don't need to know HTML or other coding languages in order to use this, but the part that was difficult for me was navigating through the website itself. It was difficult for me to find even the simplest features. But when I did, it was easy to add the tracking code to my blog. But, proceed with caution.

As a note, for those at VCU, if you want to view the original article, you must either access it from a university computer (or your computer that is connected to the VCU wifi), or you  must log in remotely and use the proxy connection from home, because it's subscription-only access.

Dunn, S. (2013, Feb 18). Some job candidates watch a potential employers' every click. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from

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