I finally signed up for Google Analytics. I know... I know... there's no excuse in taking so long to sign up for such a great tool when it's free. But I'd been using another stat counting site and didn't see any reason to switch.
Okay you drug it out of me with that look... I didn't know it was free either.
Of course, this has highly elevated Google in my mind. Despite my abandonment of AdSense from this blog, I really do love Google and all the great services they've offered me. Gmail is my best friend and confidant. Blogger has replaced the little keyed notebook I kept under my pillow. And Reader is my daily paper... with news, comics, and human interest.
So far the interface is a breeze to navigate. Everything is very big and represented visually, which is great for a person like me. I only have to click around and see exactly what I want - visitors, where they come from, what they're doing. Since this is a blog, mostly reserved to the home page and not a lot of pages to navigate through, some of the more advanced features (like bounce rate) are lost on my use.
My favorite feature so far has got to be the Traffic Sources. Basically it's a little bit of reassurance that all this time I've been spending on Entrecard, Digg, and StumbleUpon isn't all for not. I'm not getting staggering numbers of people visiting the blog, but it's super helpful to know where those people are coming from. I could easily redirect my efforts or try something new, and that helps a lot. I love to make the best use of my time possible (maybe I'm weird that way) so this helps me to weed out activities that are a total waste of time (like Furl & Reddit, I see...).
I'm not usually a super analytical person. I never have been. But Gooogle Analytics presents it in a way that is really easy for me to see the cause & effect relationships of what I've been doing to promote this little monkey here. Because honestly it's not that fun writing when you don't think anyone is reading :).