I forgot that I’d enabled Google analytics for the XML 2007 web site. Even though the conference is long over, I though it would be interesting to look and see what some of the trends were from September 2007 to January 2008 (keeping in mind that these stats apply to the kind of web users interested in a tech conference, not to the web at large).
MacOS is still #3
Despite the halo effect from the iPod and the widespread use of Mac notebooks among speakers, MacOS still hasn’t managed to make much of a dent in the visitor logs:
- Windows: 80.70%
- Linux: 9.57%
- MacOS: 9.44%
If MacOS can’t beat Linux on the desktop, I don’t know if it has a bright future.
Internet Explorer below 50%
Firefox is still #2 behind MSIE, but for this crowd, the gap is small:
- MSIE: 49.61%
- Firefox: 41.14%
- Safari: 3.50%
- Mozilla: 3.22%
- Opera: 1.76%
If you’re designing or maintaining a web site with a tech audience, you’d better be testing on Firefox as well as MSIE.
Screen resolution and colour depth
I know that web designers like big layouts, but the sad fact remains that 1024×768 is still the most common resolution (and remember that the browser window may be much smaller than the screen):
- 1024×768: 28.32%
- 1280×1024: 25.84%
- 1280×800: 10.61%
A long tail of resolutions follows, but it’s worth noting that the classic 800×600 has only 1.96%. Better news comes from colour depth, where almost everyone has 16bpp or better:
- 32bpp: 80.29%
- 24bpp: 11.89%
- 16bpp: 7.37%
Search engines, referrers, and direct access were all important traffic sources:
- Search engines: 36.77%
- Referring sites: 34.97%
- Direct traffic: 28.22%
Blogs did show up among the referring sites, but the biggest traffic producers were traditional links from partner organizations (other conferences, IDEAlliance itself, etc.) — these were also the stickiest, since most people coming from these links went on to read more than one page.
As far as search engines go, I was surprised to find that nothing really matters but Google (assuming that Google Analytics isn’t biasing the numbers):
- Google: 94.16%
- Yahoo!: 3.46%
- Live: 1.51%
- MSN: 0.45%
I knew that Yahoo! and MSN were behind in search, but I had no idea just how bad it was (at least in the tech crowd). More than half of the people who found the site via a search engine went on to read more than one page.
The top search phrases were rather dull and predictable:
- “xml 2007”: 28.50%
- “xml conference”: 8.22%
- “xml conference 2007”: 3.20%
- “xml conferences” 3.04%
And so on through a very long tail. Individual speakers’ names start appearing soon, but none with more than 10 searches. I trolled through the low-frequency search phrases for something funny (and maybe risque), but all I came up with was the number “736”, which resulted in three visits. I gave up trying to find the site in the Google results for that number. Does anyone really search for a single three-digit integer, and if so, how many pages of results will that person scroll through?