Who Goes Here? (Site Statistics)

Saturday, October 31, 2009 7:20 | Filed in Blogging, Technology, The Pickards

One of the problems for people who trawl through their site statistics from time to time is a tendency to start looking at them too regularly and trying to find patterns which don’t actually exist. This is when you start asking yourself things like “how come my page visits are 0.3% down on last month?”.

But if you can manage to look at your site statistics from time to time without getting drawn into this sort of nonsense, you can determine some interesting things.


Firstly, there’s the question of what people use to access the site. The large proportion of “unknown” users (around 16% of the total) suggests that maybe the statistics package isn’t the best and latest available (and it isn’t; it’s a full release behind the current up-to-date version of that package) and so I shouldn’t draw too firm a conclusion from any of this, since any browser could be up to 16% out, but it would appear that on my site Internet Explorer (22%) and Firefox (19%) are almost on a par in terms of visits.

User Agents for ThePickards.co.uk

This is actually quite plausible, as while the proportion of Internet Explorer users in the UK is, on the whole, significantly higher than this, techies (some of whom I presume read the techie stuff on here) are much more likely to use Firefox: thus if my site is skewed towards techies, it’s also likely to be skewed towards Firefox.

If I actually drill down and look at browser versions, then you see something quite interesting. In terms of Firefox, by far the biggest percentage of users using those browsers are using the most recent version (96%), whereas the situation is reversed for Internet Explorer (only 26% using the most recent version, compared to 29% still using Internet Explorer 6).

My theory is that the reason updates of Internet Explorer are lagging behind is because of its use as a corporate platform: it doesn’t get upgraded quickly but there is a significant lag time while the IT department of the appropriate organisation get their arse in gear to upgrade everyone to the newer versions. Well, there’s that and the possibility that people who are using Internet Explorer by choice are, on the whole, less fussy about using the latest version of their browser than users of other browsers.


And what sort of platform are people using?

It’s fairly clear that Windows is the platform popularity king, and WinXP is still by far the most popular version. Goes to show that for all the hype about Windows Vista, people didn’t really want it:

(Note: figures adjusted to remove spiders/bots and ‘unknkown’; these are based on known user platforms only)

Platfrom Use
Windows XP 51.0%
Windows Vista 24.3%
Mac OS X 8.2%
Windows NT 7.3%
Linux 3.7%
Windows 2003 3.1%
Windows 2000 1.1%

(Only figures > 1.0% are shown, meaning that the likes of WinCE, Win3.1 and SunOS are not listed).


Well, it’s actually a slight surprise to discover that the country which provides the most visits to my site is the US (56.0%), what with me being based (and hosted, and ‘domained’) over here on t’other side of the Atlantic (where the UK provides 19.6%). Then again, there are simply more people in the States, which could well account for it to some extent.

Map showing visitors to ThePickards.co.uk

But again, it’s the sheer geographic spread that I find impressive: there are 10 countries which have generated 1000 visits or more in the last month, a further 22 countries which had 100 visits or more, and another 36 which were responsible for 10 or more visits, all the way down to my solitary visitor from Yemen, who viewed two pages. Hello!


The point hardly needs to be made, but Google is very dominant in the search market, accounting for 96% of all searches which drew people to the site.

Search Engines referring to ThePickards.co.uk

What tends to be slightly more interesting is looking at what people were actually searching for. Until I excluded it via the robots protocol recently, a number of people were still finding my site searching for “find madeleine” and then obviously sending me abuse simply because I had posited the theory that she may in fact have been dead (note: not that I felt that this was a good thing).

There are quite a few people turning up here looking for “Reynholm Industries Intranet Password” (and variations on the theme). Those looking for that will be disappointed as I don’t say what it is — but I do give a clue. “John Harrison MBE MIDSC” is also quite popular, in relation to a chain email doing the rounds which doesn’t actually contain any facts but is quite anti-Islamic, so it’s nice to see that people are trying to check up on the supposed (but not actual) author.

Although I suspect the person who arrived here having searched for “home made porn” on Ask Jeeves was somewhat disappointed. I am more than happy to educate those people wanting to know more about the unique Andy Kadir-Buxton, and to give people an idea of “when was Furness Abbey built?”. There also seems to be an awful lot of people wondering if they have swine flu…

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