Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Tracking Referrals: Part Two

Update: I removed this from the site. Apparently it was causing IE6 to crash entirely… which isn’t quite browser-friendly. sigh Here’s hoping this shows up as a Radio macro so I can insert it into the site without any compatibility problems. Many thanks to Buzz, Ernie, Will, Jenny and Robin for chipping in to help identify when the site was working again!

On the right-hand column, you can now see sites who are directing traffic to this site. I ended up using Stephen’s setup – but it’s not perfect yet. Stephen gives you two options – you can either use his script or you can install the script on your own server. I tried getting it to run on my server, to no avail. Many thanks to Stephen and Will for their assistance in trying to isolate the problem. (Note: I’ve narrowed the possible faults to two areas but don’t have time right now to correct them. Anyone with perl experience is welcome to contact me and let me know what’s going wrong.)

So I reverted to using Stephen’s script on his machine at downes.ca. This is a very simple solution – all you need to do to make this happen is insert one line of code into your blog, and it will start tracking the info. That’s it. After an hour or two, you’ll start seeing results populate the box. Very nice. It will even track day links, so if you include this on your template for each day, you’ll be able to point to sites that are linking to specific posts of yours.

Some limitations to this implementation:

  • It doesn’t filter out links from my own site. So you’ll see lots of visitors from this site showing up on the referral list. (This would go away if I could get the script to work on my own server.)
  • It only tracks the last 24 hours of referrers. I’d prefer to keep the information persistent, so that anyone browsing my blog could see the conversation that built over time.
  • It’s dependent on someone else’s server. Stephen is to be commended for making this available, but if his site goes down, I lose this info. Again, this wouldn’t be an issue if the script were running on my own box.

In all, I like this solution. I still maintain that the better long-term answer is for Userland to develop a macro that would capture this info automatically for Radio blogs. They may very well be working on it (I hope so!) already. We’ll see.

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