Seeing The Woman In Red with HitTail

ML Sep 18, 2006

What is your website trying to tell you? A new service from PR firm Connors Communications covered in this week’s Business Week (p. 16, Building a Better Mousetrap) and in John Battelle’s Search Blog last Friday tries to tell us. And if you state long enough, maybe you can see the Woman in Red.

(See the HitTail Widget over to the right of this post)

Have you ever found yourself asking what activity is going on on your website, but you’ve been disappointed by having to endure that day-long wait to find out what happened yesterday? If you have, then you may want to check out this service.

The same is true if any of your pages ever got Dugg and and you sat there wondering what activity was going on on your site. HitTail allows you to watch the real-time flow of clicks. Even non-techies can sit back watching the patterns and deriving meaning.

Quoting the Digg user and HitTailer, eConsultant:

A couple of my pages were on Digg yesterday and they had the HitTail code and the system captured data perfectly. The Search Hits tab was really moving like you how it in the YouTube movie!

HitTail filters out all the page-to-page clicks and multiple re-clicks from the same user, so what you have is an almost perfect view of uniques — or the influx of genuine first time visitors. This gives you a pretty good idea in absolute terms how many people visited your site as a result of getting dugg.

You get the added benefit of seeing which searches are leading to your site as they happen. Ajax is used to give you that feeling that you always wanted to get by just loading your log file into a text editor. You know new activity is going on. You just can’t see it because of the way text editors work. HitTail has acheived a unique real-time view where they’re managing millions of records in an a responsive Ajax datagrid, with no data pre-processing to wait for as with most analytic software.

In addition to the real-time search hit view, the service mines those keywords for the best candidate topics for new blog posts as far as drawing in new traffic to your website through search. It does this by analyzing the hits that actually did occur, and picking out the ones that are likely to come up on the first page of results if turned into the headline of a blog post. At very least, it’s greater insight into the search terms that are leading people to your site.

This is a process not only applicable to business blogs fishing for customers, but its also great political blogs, technology blogs, social causes and non-profits, or people simply trying to extend their influence on a topic. It’s an extra little blogging edge.

We joke that it’s like immersing yourself in the data flow, like The Matrix. But its surprisingly more true than you may think. Based on how we highlight the keywords to construct that “river of black” (or in this example, neon green) in your Search Hits tab (the referrer stream), it is eerily plausible to say you might get into the zone and see that woman in red.

And the best part is that you don’t even have to be a techie to do it.

No wait! The best part is that it’s free.

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