How much do you really know about analytics? Are you like me where you think knowing how many views/visitors/referrals you have makes any sort of difference to your growth? Well, the old me thought that way. The new me now realizes these are just numbers and hold little to no weight on their own. After a little self-learnin’ these are some quick and dirty analytics tips to give some new bloggers an idea of how to grow their site. Hell, this is useful in general when it comes to websites.
- Your number of visitors doesn’t tell you much about how people use your site. All it tells you is how many devices hit your blog. I personally don’t find the number useful unless you’re experiencing some real growth. Not by itself anyway.
- Your conversion rate is what you really care about. This is the number of people who perform an action that either makes you money or has some positive effect that leads to growth. A person who reads your blog is one thing. The person who reads and signs up for your mailing list is the real gold mine. What page did he hit before he signed up? Who/what referred her? What trends do I see that lead to successful conversions. These are powerful numbers to know.
- Your goals give your numbers meaning. How do you want people to visit your site? What do you want them to do? What are you trying to achieve? If you don’t aim to answer questions like these, you’ll just look at your numbers simply as “higher equals better.” Good luck making improvements with such a generic idea of growth. Trust me, I’ve made this mistake. No more!
- All visitors are not created equal! Man oh man, I was an idiot for not connecting this together earlier, but people interact differently on a website for a host of reasons. For example, if I found your blog because of a web search, chances are I’m just going to view the article if it’s relevant or back out pretty quickly if it doesn’t If I came across it on BlogLovin, maybe I’ll browse a bit more. Each user type might be more prone to some actions versus others. You’ll never know if you treat all visitors the same. The groups of users based on actions or tendencies are known as segments. Defining and tracking segments are CRUCIAL.
- Google Analytics is a great place to start, but it doesn’t end there. Clicky, for example lets you view the actions of an individual user on your blog. I might put together a list of services sometime, but here’s a link to a pretty good top 10 list (searchenginejournal.com).
- All actions, like visitors, are not created equal! What matters more to you, signing up for a newsletter or sharing a post via social media? Clicking an ad or visiting a link for a product you’re selling? You want to focus on stats that lead to your most valuable actions!
- Okay, let’s be honest here: you should be assigning value to everything. Why? Because this is analytics and everything matters. Remember, you want valuable conversions. This means everything that led to that valuable action must have a value. Search terms, types of posts, pages, referrals, and more are all up for grabs.
- Your stats should indicate future investments such as targeted marketing campaigns or site modifications.These investments should, of course, enhance strengths and minimize weaknesses. They should always contribute to creating more opportunities for valuable actions.
- Analytics also require testing. If you aren’t experimenting, you won’t know what works. See what ignites some valuable conversions and repeat to see if you can pinpoint a trend to exploit.
- Make your data as complex as possible. By this, I mean track as many factors and combination of factors as you can. A language can’t tell you much if you only have a few words. Analytics will reveal the language of your blog and what makes it tick. The more data you have, the more it can tell you.
Do you see how powerful this is? It may not be the most fun aspect of blogging (it certainly isn’t for me), but it’s vital for growth. Of course, not all bloggers have growth in mind. If you’re doing this for the art of writing, more power to you. I personally want to make this my living so this is definitely important to my future. I hope I helped some of you on your path.
Peace out, party people.
Previously: Not Hosting WordPress Yourself