If you have a blog or website and haven't installed the Google Analytics script, then get it. Right. The Fuck. Now.
There is an unbelievable wealth of information captured, filtered, and presented that can be incredibly useful to even a "hobby blogger" — and it's all for FREE!
First I'll go over some important metrics to which you should be paying close attention. Then I'll breakdown my metrics from the past year for an in-depth look. If you haven't already checked out the first post from this month revealing traffic statistics and the hard-earned cash I made, start there since I already talked about a few areas on this topic. Let's start:
- Most Popular Post(s): Knowing which posts are being read the most give you a hint on what topics you could write about more and also which pages to focus on when optimizing your site to drive people from these posts to other pages on your blog.
- Referrals: If another blog or site is sending you a lot of traffic, perhaps you could develop a relationship with them to see if this could increase more. If it’s a search engine, use on-page SEO to see if you can rise in the rankings.
- What Keywords are Sending Traffic?: Knowing the specific keywords that bring people to your site is very useful, especially if you're going to use PPC advertising or specified SEO.
- What’s Your Bounce Rate?: Bounce rate measures how many people arrive at your site and then leave immediately without viewing any extra pages. Keeping in mind some people are looking for very focused information and not want to browse around, you still want to get this number down as low as possible.
- Is Your Traffic Seasonal?: If you run a Christmas blog, I would expect your traffic to be very cyclical. Focus on how to drive traffic to your site during those critical times of the year.
Don Does 30 Analytics and Metrics
Most Popular Post(s):
My TOP 3 most popular posts of all time are (in order): 25 Chinese Knockoff Toys That Will Completely Ruin Your Childhood, followed by Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: How Much Would Those Drugs Cost?, and finally 5 Reasons Why Top Gun Will Only Ever Be Second Best. This shows that Challenge #3: Classic (Manly) Movie Marathon was very popular due to the fact that two of the top three posts are from that category. This could be something I revisit in the future and WATCH MORE MOVIES!
The highest category is "Direct", meaning people are coming back to my site by directly typing "www.dondoes30.com" into their browser — this is a good sign. Next is reddit — a GREAT site when someone posts one of your links on there — followed by other social networking sites and, of course, Google.
Keywords Sending Traffic
Keywords are a little trickier to narrow down with Google Analytics because "30 day challenge" and "30-day challenge" are recorded as two separate instances in the analytics even though their only different is that small hyphen. Scroll through this metric and get a good feel for common and repeated keywords. For instance, I receive a lot traffic related to the "Onnit Primal Challenge" but it's broken up into many keyword combinations. I rank well for those keywords because there are so few websites out there talking about the Onnit Primal Challenge.
83.78% is pretty horrible for most industries. In fact, if you're curious to see how your bounce rate should rank up against other sites like yours, check out this guide to bounce rates broken down by site type. Very helpful.
There is no way my site is "seasonal" but there are certain months that garner more traffic than others. The most successful months today were Challenge #4: Cooking for My Wife and Challenge #10: Tumblr 30-Day TV Challenge.
Introduce Yourself to a Fellow Blogger
Email, tweet, or Facebook another blogger in your niche to introduce yourself and your blog. Don’t ask them to link to your site or anything — the point isn’t to have any ulterior motives other than to reach out and establish a relationship.
The most positive outcome with not result from asking for something, but will come from you giving something.
What does YOUR site offer and what can you give? This will of course vary from site to site but it could be a helpful tip, a suggestion, a question for them to post about, an offer to write a guest post, a thank you for a good post they’ve written, or a word of encouragement to let them know that you appreciate their site.
Hell, you may not even get a response (don’t be offended if you don’t, us bloggers are busy people), but you might be surprised at the results.
Keep the email brief and to the point. Many people are inundated with email and don't want to be confronted with a long, rambling blurb about how you "omg! created the next FACEBOOK!" If you need more details on etiquette, this more in-depth posting about emailing a blogger can get you started.