Amongst the many website reports provided by Google Analytics, one viewed frequently is the traffic sources report.  I'd like know if there is a sudden spike in readers coming over from or or (ok, that last one isn't likely to happen).  It's interesting to see some new patterns emerging over the last six months.  Now, Google Analytics doesn't work if the browser's javascript capability is turned off, but I'm going to assume that only a small percentage of you are configured that way.  True?

This chart represents traffic sources over the last 30 days:
Image:Traffic source dynamics are changing on
The largest chunk, 32.49%, comes from direct visitors typing in in their browser or opening up via an RSS reader.  I don't know how many RSS hits I get a day -- stopped tracking long ago when it was over 20,000 -- and Google Analytics can't tell me which are via RSS (nor does it monitor RSS hits).  

The next largest group, 28.47%, are Google search results.  Google calls these "organic" rather than referral, but there are also 3.68% coming from Google referral.  I assume those are from Google tools other than search, does someone know?

After that is where things have changed a bit.  The 13.19% in third place is from (14.26% is "other", the combined sites #11+).  More than one in ten visits to this website start from the community aggregation site. Not many new visits start from there (only 8.63% of all referrals are new, versus almost 34% overall).  Thus we can conclude that for those in the Lotus community that use PlanetLotus, you are using it frequently and using it to read sites you were likely already reading.  Now perhaps you find out about new stuff faster or, as I believe to be the case, ignore postings that are uninteresting to you -- based on indicators like the keyword count.

Of the remaining top ten, Yahoo and feature in there, along with Twitter.  I try to tweet every time I have an interesting new blog posting, and now 1% of all visits originate there.  Only 18% of these are "new", which isn't surprising, since most of the people who will see tweets about a new blog post are already following me.  

I know that some Twitter followers find it annoying to read about new blog postings there, but as a Twitter consumer, I love it.  Why?  Because I have a dirty little secret.  I don't use RSS.  I used to, but I stopped.  Even with the convenience of a built-in feedreader in Notes 8, I'm not interested.  Why?  Because I found that I was a slave to those unread marks in exactly the same way that many of us feel about our e-mail inboxes.  Yes, I realize, there's nothing requiring me to keep up with RSS feeds.  But it was a psychological burden to at least look at subject lines from sites that were only occasionally interesting to me, and when I went back later, to figure out where I had left off.  Obviously, RSS is a good tool and I know that many of you use it with great success.  For my personality and computing patterns, though, I find it unnecessary.

Some of you might then wonder, how do I keep track of what is going on online?  I use a combination of PlanetLotus, Google alerts, technorati and twitter searches/follows, and the links on my own blogroll.  I know it means I won't find everything that is of interest to me, but I'll take that risk.  I still find news stories faster than I get alerted about them internally (like Friday's article, didn't even know it was coming).  And, to the point of why I don't use RSS, I find the Twitter tweet about a new blog posting tends to have more context -- in 140 characters, I can usually say a bit more about the topic of a blog post, or for someone I'm following, I have some sense as to what else is on their mind right now.

Everybody manages content in their own way and there is no "right or wrong" here.  I simply find it interesting to know that there are so many methods of arriving at the same destination.

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