If you are a blogger and aren't utilizing Google Analytics, you are really missing out. Especially if you are a nerd like me and love charts, graphs and spreadsheets.
If you aren't familiar with Google Analytics, I'll tell you a little bit about it. It is a free service offered by Google (duh) and it analyzes all of the traffic on your site and presents it to you in an easy to read and understand format, using lots of charts and graphs (squee!). If you have multiple blogs, Etsy stores, etc. you can track them all in one simple place.
For example, I have all three of my blogs (Change is Good, La Petite LaPointe and CDEdesigns) and my Etsy store on my Google Analytics account. I can easily switch back and forth between all four website profiles to view their reports.
Setting up your Google Analytics is a little tricky -- I would say you need to be an intermediate level blogger. But using their basic setup is definitely on a beginner level.
Since I'm really starting to try to get the word out on my main blog and my Etsy site, one of the features of Google Analytics that I particularly find valuable is the "Traffic Sources" section. It tells me how people are getting to my site.
Currently, for this blog, 22.5% of my visits are from direct traffic, 77% have been from referring sites and .5% are from search engine searches. The majority of the referring site visits were from entering a linkup party such as A Soft Place to Land's DIY Day. In fact, 50% of my visits were from that particular linkup. (It helped that I was one of the first 50 people to linkup, so my entry didn't get too buried in all of the links.)
This information lets me know that there is value in these linkup parties. That they are worth the effort it took to make the post, add the links on my blog, and then post the link on the linkup party's blog. Which sometimes takes a great deal of time, especially when you have a 15 month old little one who demands your attention (and rightly so.)
One of the other really cool features of Google Analytics, is the Map Overlay. The Map Overlay shows you how many people have visited your site from around the world. Currently, on this blog, I have received visits from the following:
United States 372
New Zealand 1
I am fascinated by all of this information, and slightly obsessed with checking my analysis every morning. :)