If you have ever visited a website before, then information about your computer and browsing habits are left with that website. This helps us website owners better optimise our website and allow us to analyse data about our website traffic. It seems creepy that you’re constantly being tracked, but you’re actually just fuelling the circle of data in cyberspace.
Most websites use tracking software such as Google Analytics, Sitemeter, Jetpack for WordPress, or another service that allows them to see who is visiting their website. I personally use Google Analytics on all of my websites and it allows me to see how many people viewed my website every day, where they were viewing it from, what type of computer they were using, what browser they used, what website they came from, how long they stayed, how many other pages they viewed, and much more. As a blogger, this helps me decide what methods are working for search engine optimisation, which articles are popular, who my target audience is, and much more. If I find that 80% of Omega Web readers are using Firefox as their browser of choice, then I should probably write an article discussing my favourite Firefox plugins. If I see that I am starting to get a lot of viewers from Mexico, I should consider adding an option to translate my whole page to Spanish. If I see that many people are being referred to my site from Facebook, then I can be sure that my Facebook advertising is paying off.
If you are paranoid about websites tracking you and using your data, you should calm down. We don’t have your name (unless you leave a comment), credit card number, address, phone number, or any other personal information about you. Websites can simply record the things that computers can tell them – brand of computer, browser, screen resolution, referring website, Google search terms, etc. When you view a website, there is no way of tracing a specific piece of information back to you. It simply compiles your data into many charts and graphs that allow us website owners to make the Internet a better place. The more websites you visit, the more data we have. The more data we have about people’s browsing habits, the better we can make our websites suited towards you… It all just comes back to making the Internet a better place for you, the consumer.