I love Users

google map of visitors to my site

Track visitors to your website using Google Maps

Or, I love seeing I HAVE users anyway, which until recently I have never been quite certain about. If you are an avid blogger, and have any kind of audience at all, this is usually not an issue as there are many ways that users leave traces of their presence voluntarily in the blogosphere. Comments and Trackbacks are the typical way this occurs, and should I ever get the pleasure of either, I’m sure to be thrilled. However for a standard HTML page, there is really no way to know that you are getting any traffic unless you are geek enough to keep track of server logs and stuff like that. As narcissistic as my tendencies are, I have never take the time for that. Well that has all changed. Last week, I installed the wonderful little javascript widget from gvisit and was amazed to see that somethings , or someones are hitting my homepage fairly regularly, and from all over the place, and i can see that displayed on a google map for no charge! woohoo!

As if that weren’t post worthy enough on its own, they have even taken it one step further and generated an RSS feed of that information. To me, this is one of the greatest things to happen to my homepage ever. Using some fine rss aggregator (I choose the free RSS to JavaScript Service, but there are many others), I can now display on any webpage the location of the last 10 users who have visited that page. (more if you donate) This is in effect a web browsing mirror, that allows users to see, that I can see, them seeing me. My head is spinning. RSS rulez.

The big question now is, how do I use this power for the purpose of good instead of evil? I want to have it on every page, but that just sounds ridiculous (or is it ? hmm…). My blog has the potential of having the most traffic, so for now I should probably put it here, and see how it goes.

I do have some constructive criticism. First, you can’t block yourself from counting as a user, so each time you go checking your site to see from where the latest visitors have hailed, you become another hit yourself. To get around this you can simply NOT put the RSS feed right on the page itself as i have done, or go to the gvisit map page , so that is probably not fair. What would be helpful is if the time displayed in the feed was the time that the user hit the site and not the last time the list was updated. It kinda looks like everyone came to the site at the same time which is of course false.

Regardless, its amazing. Go check it out, copy the code to your site of choice, and then write these guys a big fat cheque to donate to this amazing service.