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Before you read what I’ve written below, I suggest that you have a look at this blog post by Tim Ford first.  Then it will become clear why this post is not related to SQL Server or even IT :-)

Let me tell you this little story about Luke, a bloke living down the street not far from the city center.  Well, it was a Friday night and he was going to the pub, just like he usually does on Friday nights.  It’s his favorite pub, the LNCP, and he has a habit of meeting his mates there.  The LNCP, some people say it stands for the Live Nude Cats Pub because that’s what they’ve seen there after they’d had several drinks too many.  Or at least, that’s what they think and claim to have seen.  Luke wouldn’t know and he doesn’t mind, he’s allergic to cats anyway, nude or not!

LNCP, the real meaning is Local Natural Coffee Pub, which is a beverage that you can get there 24/7.  It’s known for its high level of several substances, including caffeine obviously. But also some other rather undefined ingredients.  The locals have come to appreciate this beverage – just like Luke – and especially in the weekend they consume quite a lot of it.  The pub owner doesn’t want to give away her secret, no one knows how this magical drink is created.  In fact, all that she’s told them about it so far is that the brewing process is done by simply using some magical tool, library or bong.  Which isn’t of much use to those who’ve tried to reproduce it at home.  They’ve searched all local libraries for books containing its formula, nothing.  They’ve asked around if there were any wizards who knew of magical tools that could produce such a drink, no result either.  And let’s not mention the bong – that’s what they’d use after yet another unsuccessful search to temporarily forget about the fact that once again they hadn’t succeeded.

Anyway, Carabella – which is the pub owner’s name – she was quite good-looking.  (Isn’t that always the case with female pub owners in a fantasy story?)  And Luke and his mates, as they were regular customers, they knew her quite well.  And it happened to be that on this Friday night she showed them a special little hidden door at the back of her pub.  She told them, if you drink three of my magical LNCs in less than five minutes time and then walk (or better, crawl, as the door was quite low) through this door, you’ll experience the most magical moment in your life!

So the guys – they didn’t have any other plans that night and they were quite curious after what she’d told them – they accepted the offer.  They went through the door and came in a sort of stable.  Looked a bit like a horse stable, only, it was different.  They didn’t really know why, figured it was probably just some magic playing around with them.  Then suddenly a little white horse came out from under the hay.  It spoke to Luke!  The guys first wondered about what was happening and then they saw: the pony had wings, it was a Pegasus!  And as everyone knows, Pegasus can communicate with humans.

The Pegasus said to Luke:

Could I assist you in any way?

Luke thought about it for a while but answered negatively.  Although they are strong creatures, he wouldn’t know why he would need assistance from a Pegasus.  But the little pony insisted and said:

Are you sure?

But yeah, Luke was sure.

One of his mates shouted out that there was a door at the other end of the stable and suggested they should go and have a look.

Behind this door there was a magical landscape: a huge valley filled with large fruit trees singing all kinds of song, birds in many colors looking like rainbows all around, animals in all kinds of shapes.  But there’s one problem.  A huge problem.  They are located at the top of a very steep mountain!  When Luke will look out the door the first time, he will appreciate the gorgeous landscape but as soon as he looks down he’s going to be very sad about the pony, or better, about the fact that he refused the pony’s help!  Because after all – as everyone knows – Pegasus can fly, even the small ones!

Then Luke woke up, all sweaty and reeking of something, he didn’t immediately know what it was.  When he looked down he noticed that he was in the middle of some horse dung in a stable he didn’t recognize.  He heard something move behind his back and turned around to face a small horse.  He vaguely seemed to know this animal.  Suddenly it spoke to him:

As I’ve started, so I’ll finish!  Would you require my help?

Luke thought about it for a moment and replied:

Sure, I’ll take your help.

Then the horse said:

Well done young Skywalker!  Just ask George “Let’s Have Padme Die Of A Broken Heart Instead Of Anakin Crushing Her To Death” Lucas what on earth LNCP stands for next time you see him.

And the little white horse took off its mask, or better, her mask.  Luke didn’t know what was going on but heard her say:

Shall we have a shower?  You really need to get rid of that smell!

Luke didn’t need to think twice this time!

Morale to the story: any man given a second chance should think twice about it before answering!



Now that my blog is about one year old (first article: 2008/07/27) it’s time to have a look at some statistics.  To analyze my blog’s usage I’m using Google Analytics.

Ow, I like Numb3rs btw.  I guess that’s one of the prerequisites to be a professional in the Business Intelligence zone of expertise.

Some General Statistics

Let’s start off with this interesting graph:

Visitors overview graph for one year

What the chart shows is the number of visitors for a whole year, starting at nothing and nicely going up to about 100 per day.  In case you’re wondering why the drawing looks like an irregular sine graph, every cycle represents one week with the lowest parts being the weekend.  Which means that my blog is not as popular during off-time periods as it is during working hours.  Looking at its content that’s normal and acceptable.

Taking a more detailed look, the first few months are good for the lowest amounts of visitors.  Which is logical of course as my blog was built up from scratch.  In 2008 a peak day was 31 visits on November 26.  After New Year’s day, visits started increasing.  This is explained by the fact that the most popular article until now was posted on November 11 (more on that later) and that more and more posts are being added every month.  Some other peak moments were February 23 counting 54 visits, May 28 having 80 visits and July 21 with 108 visits, currently the record!

Some more general numbers

Articles: 41 (well, 42 after I post this one, what a coincidence :-) )

Comments: 36

Visits (whole year): 8,898

Unique visitors (whole year): 7,322

Pageviews (whole year): 10,931

Highest number of visits in one day: 108

Countries where visits came from: 118

The Visitors

Following is some information about you, the visitor.


Where are you coming from?

World map showing numbers of visits over a year

Most visitors, 35% to be precise, came from the US.  Here’s the top 5:

Top 5 countries where visits came from

Belgium is at second place with almost 10%.  In most cases this would be weird for such a small country but as I’m Belgian it is quite normal and just a matter of social connections.

Browser, Operating System and screen

What are you using to read my blog?

The most popular browser is Internet Explorer, with almost 62%.  Firefox is second with 31%, followed by Chrome with 5%.

Taking a closer look at browser versions for Internet Explorer we see that 7.0 is the most popular with 61%, followed by 6.0 at 22% and 8.0 at 17%.

For Firefox this statistic is a bit harder to read.  Let’s just say 3.0 is the more popular one when looking at the whole past year.  Here are some details in graphic form:

Firefox versions visiting my blog

When looking at the figures of last month we see that FF 3.5 was picked up quite well with 3.5 good for 19% and 3.5.1 counting 17%.

As for operating system the numbers are not very challenging: 98.45% is using Windows, followed by Macintosh with 1% and Linux with 0.5%.  Apparently my blog had 2 visits from an iPhone as well.

Now, a closer look into what version of Windows is being used.  Almost 70% uses XP, followed by Vista with 22%.  Windows 7 is not mentioned at all although I’ve used it to visit my blog.  Hmm, I wonder what happens with pre-release versions of OSes in Google Analytics…

The resolution at which you’re reading my blog is very diverse, 102 different screen resolution settings were used in this one year of visits.  The most popular are these:

Most popular screen resolutions

The lowest one in this list would be 1024×768.  The template that my blog currently uses is 720 pixels wide.  I’ve been wanting to make the detail part a bit wider, this now confirms that I can do that without disturbing too many users.  Now it’s just a matter of finding some spare time :-)

Traffic Sources and keywords

How do you get on my blog?

The source that gives me the most visitors is Google with 72%, so no contest here either.  10% of you is going directly to my blog, without any search engine and another 10% is reaching my blog through, which is Ordina’s blog where some of my posts are being duplicated.

Bing is at position 6 with 0.86% but this number is not fair because Bing didn’t exist when my blog started.  If we look at the statistics of last month we see Bing at the fourth position with 3%.  Although still no competition for Google, it’s the second search engine in the list.  I’m interested to see how this will evolve.  Only time can tell :-)

Concerning the keywords used to find my blog the story is not that easy.  In total 5,120 different key phrases have been used during this past year.  Looking at the global list does not tell me that much except that “kb948109” is the most popular one with 1.18%, obviously leading to the article about this particular KB.

The Content

What are you reading the most?

This is as far as I’m concerned the more interesting part because it tells me what articles are the most popular and thus gives me an indication what people are looking for.  It’s also satisfying to see a new article go up in the list.

Let’s have a look at the most popular articles since I started my blog.  One article is far ahead of all the others, with almost 23%.  That article is Calling a web service from SQL Server 2005.  This is one of my longer posts.  It will be no surprise that this article is also the one with the most comments, 10 in total.  When examining the entrance sources for this post I noticed that 5% are finding this article through Stack Overflow.  With some Google magic I indeed found two threads that are referencing my article!

The second most popular article is the one mentioned earlier about KB948109, with 4.5%.  It seems that quite some people are experiencing this issue, just like I did.

Position number three goes to Excel Automation: the CultureInfo bug with close to 4%.

As you’ll agree, the above statistics are not treating my newer articles fairly.  So let’s now take a look at the same list whilst only taking last month into account.

At number one it is still the same post of course, but it’s losing ground.  This time it’s scoring 17%, 6% less than over the whole year.  Actually, “losing” is not a correct statement, it’s just that the competition is getting tougher.

Second most popular post: Reporting Services 2008 and SSL with 5.6%.

Third most popular post: SSRS and MDX: Detecting Missing Fields scoring 4%.  Interestingly, this one was posted less than a month ago.  It’s also one of my longer articles.

Some Analysis Fun


A while back I posted an article about good customer service from the people at Firebox.  This was on May 30, 2009.  The same day I emailed their customer service just to let them know that all was received in good order and to say thanks.  This email did not mention that I posted an article about their service on my blog but in my signature I do have a link to my blog.

And indeed, through Google Analytics I can see a result of that email, more precisely through the Network Locations page.  This shows a list of internet providers, but for companies it usually shows the name of the company.

List of Network Locations through which my blog is visited

Hmm, number 3 is an interesting one :-)   But that’s not what we’re looking for here.  This is:

There were 19 visits from the people at Firebox!  Drilling down on this we get the following interesting graph:

When did the people at Firebox visit my site?

As expected, this happened the days following my email to them.

We can now slice our data using another dimension, Browser for instance:

Firefox is most popular at Firebox!

I guess this is no surprise either, Firefox differs only by one letter from Firebox ;-)

Operating System is another dimension showing interesting results:

The people at Firebox use several OSes

It seems that the people at Firebox are quite free as to what OS they use.

The Screen Resolution dimension shows that maybe it’s time to get them some new screens :-)

Screen resolution at Firebox

And lastly, guess what Landing Page shows?

What Landing Page are the Firebox people getting on?

Right, as expected.


Out of curiosity I’m now going to slice the data related to the visitors coming through “microsoft corp”.

Guess what OS?

OS used by Microsoft people


Browsers used by Microsoft people

And now a really interesting one: Source!

Google is the most popular search engine at Microsoft (as far as my blog visitors are concerned at least)

See that number one?  It’s not Live, Bing or MSN, it’s Google!  Looks like there’s still some work to be done.

Where are they located?

Microsoft locations visiting my blog


The above shows that the longer a post, the more visitors it attracts.  Which is quite normal obviously.  And that Google Analytics can be used to have some fun.

To further conclude I would like to thank everyone who has visited my blog and/or posted a comment.  If you keep on visiting, I’ll keep on writing :-)

Have fun!


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