google analytics and dull productivity blogs

I have been doing some work on my blog, though at time of writing my ISP does not seem to be letting anyone see my updated site. Usually these things just sort themselves out, and generally the tech support people just read from a script and know less than I do, so phoning them is more diversion than useful activity.

Last week I was keen to put some sort of page counter onto my website, but after a little research (five minutes with google and a couple of forums) I simply decided to go for google analytics. There seem to be two relevant google options, webmaster and analytics.

Webmaster - not really sure what it does, and it wants a site map to do most of it. So I decided to pretty much ignore it.

Analytics - this provides a piece of code that you insert into your webpages and then google kindly tracks hits to your website and provides lots of spiffy analysis that you would happily pay money for.

The piece of code is easily inserted in Rapidweaver (by way of explanation - go to the setup button, press the advance tab, and paste the code into the relevant box, alternatively, Rapidweaver is a software application that you can use on an Apple Macintosh computer).

This whole process passed my stringent test for ease of use, not only did I manage to do it, but I managed to do at while watching NCIS at the same time. Clearly this is not heavy duty mental gymnastics we are talking about.

Now that I have the technology to monitor traffic, I have also been reading up on how to boost traffic. Basically quote your webpage address everywhere you can, and update your site. So, I have updated the site to put the blog page as the home page, as it is the one that is updated most often, taken out a page that had some images on it, as my photos are uploaded to Flickr these days, tagged all my blogs again.

I will probably try and keep my blog entries short and snappy, and restricted to a single topic, which should make them more useful to the casual browser of interesting tags, who might not be interested in wading through just everything.

I have also looked at the technorati top 100 blogs. What an incredibly odd selection. Basically if you took out all the computer orientated and productivity orientated, then you would not have much left. Strangely this does not reflect public interest in other forms of media, so I suspect that blogs are still a rather techie persuasion.

Also browsed some of the less obvious productivity blogs, and I am inclined to agree with Merlin Mann (http://www.43folders.com/2008/09/10/time-attention-creative-work) that productivity and lifehacks are getting to be an unproductive distraction rather than something genuinely useful or informative. Certainly browsing some of the productivity blogs and the me too comments, carefully providing links back to their own productivity blogs, felt rather arid. If people find them useful, then good luck to them, but it does need to be done well to bring anything new or worthwhile to the table.

Maybe that explains why technorati no longer seems to track blogs that well, the number of blogs has entered the gazzillions while the quality has taken a nose dive.

Maybe we are just at a time of transition, we know that things are different now, but while we know that we are not in Kansas anymore, we still have not quite figured out where we are.