|Cookies courtesy Dooher's Bakery, not Google|
These small data files are placed on whatever device you're using to visit them, and the website that left them uses them to remember your actions and preferences - your login, your language, your font size, and other display preferences - so you don't have to keep re-entering all that stuff the next time you come back, or when you click on another page.
I don't want to invade anybody's personal privacy ever - believe me, there are some cookie-setting analysis programs that tell people way more than anybody ever should get to know about we internet users - but I did set up Google Analytics.
Without identifying you personally, Google Analytics tracks basic information like what country you came from, the type of web browser you're using, and what pages you visit within the Hugs site. Then it shares those details with me. A lot of other websites use it too, for a lot of different reasons.
In my case, the information helps me to see what kinds of knitting patterns and blog posts are really popular, so I don't post more of what nobody particularly liked. It helps me ensure that the template I choose for the site looks good on the browsers and devices that people are actually using.
It also keeps me going. I get a lot of e-mail from people who read Hugs, so I know the patterns I post here make a genuine difference, but the volume of visitors from all over the world is hugely out of proportion to the ones who reach out to me personally. When life gets crazy busy and I think the Hugs blog is something I could set aside to make time for the rest, the numbers I see on Google Analytics remind me how many other people care about this place as much as I do.
Truth be told, after a note from a knitter who is knitting a chemo hat for a loved one - and I get those heartbreakingly often - and tied with my own stubborn tenacity and love for routine, Google Analytics is a big part of why Hugs still exists after all these years.
Some people don't want cookies on their devices, and almost every variety of browser software includes a feature that lets you block them. For some sites, that would make it tough for you to enjoy your visit at all, but it shouldn't change your experience on Hugs. If you don't want Google knowing about visit here or anywhere else, you can change your settings to block those cookies. Or, if your browser is a rare breed that doesn't include that feature, you can change browsers too.
Either way - have a great day and thanks, as always, for visiting.