July '06: Month end stat thoughts

I've been moving the last couple of weeks, hence no posts.

I just figured out a problem I was having connecting to the Internet yesterday, so today it's been browsing browsing browsing.

I also just grabbed last month's stats (from AWStats) for my site, and hooked up Google Analytics (having grabbed an invite from the Digital Point forums - to quote Gavin, "woot"). Looking at browser stats in particular (from AWStats - Analytics won't be functional until tomorrow), I noticed a couple of things.

Keep in mind that this is for my site and part of Gavin's site (The Framing Business). For my site, I've a more technical audience (save my Waking Life Script visits), and Gavin has a more more technical audience.

1) Internet Explorer 7.0 is increasing in usage.

I myself have downloaded IE 7 onto one of my computers, and it really isn't that bad of a browser (a significant upgrade from IE 6). The type is also noticeably clearer, compared to any other browser I've tried (Firefox, Netscape, Opera). IE 6 usage is still very high, but if Microsoft is really going to roll-out IE 6 as an automatic upgrade, then that would not only be a good thing for Web site developers, but also for the general public (assuming the file size isn't too bad, but at least with Update it can download over a couple of days time - great for low-bandwidth users).

2) Firefox 1.0.x usage is still unusually high.

In particular, 1.0.7 usage is still relatively high. I also found a couple mentions of 2.0 (which I've seen before), but also a new Firefox 3.0. While both of these could be fakes, I'm more likely to believe that these are actual browser strings.

3) Netscape usage continues to drop.

Netscape usage has been dropping on my sites for some time, so nothing new here. Opera usage is actually higher than my Netscape numbers (but otherwise lower than Firefox and IE).

4) Opera users are slowly growing.

Opera users visit my site, but the numbers appear to be lower than even Safari users (I only say that since I'm targeted to more Windows technology). Other than not being able to find a quick way to jump to the address bar using only the keyboard (Alt + D in both Firefox and Internet Explorer), it's really not that bad of a browser. I'll still use Firefox as my core browser, primarily because of the ultra-nifty and handy extensions, but I think I could be convinced to use Opera if I didn't require a number of extensions in my daily browsing experience.

Nonetheless, I'm still going to recommend Firefox, since I'd like to hope that you start browsing better with Firefox, and graduate up to becoming an advanced user - hence the need for a larger assortment of extensions (something Opera currently cannot provide).

Closing thoughts:

Make sure your own browser of choice is fully upgraded to the current version, and if your browser doesn't check for updates on a regular basis, check for them yourself (or upgrade to a browser that does, like Firefox or Opera, and in the future, IE 7).

Finally, if you'd like to try it out, and you have Windows XP SP 2, I recommend downloading IE 7. I recently upgrade my core machine to SP2 (I recently picked up a free machine that already had this update, to which I installed IE 7) and will be downloading 7 onto my core machine as well. It's a significant update, and quite the browsing experience.