Blogging Mistakes: #3 — Ignoring Your Analytics

Blog Analytics

Blog AnalyticsPart 3 of 10. Are you aware of the incredible insights you can learn about your blog visitors? Simply by installing analytics code on your website, you can gather generic information about who your visitors are, where they came from and what they found interesting on your site. Without this information, you are “flying blind.”

This data is commonly referred to as “analytics”. Your analytics data can tell you a lot about your audience and about how to better run your blog. Yet many blog owners don’t know to install the code or if they do, they don’t look at their analytics at all, or only give it a cursory glance.

Here are some of the important things your analytics can tell you:

  • Where your traffic is coming from. Is it from search? Is it from referring sites? Is it something else entirely?
  • What keywords people type in to find your blog and where you rank for those keywords. They might be completely different than the keywords you were deliberately targeting.
  • Who’s linking to you and who’s sending you traffic. If someone went out of their way to link to you, there may be other opportunities for a partnership there. Perhaps your blog commenting or guest blogging is paying off and you should do more of that.
  • Your best posts and your worst posts. What kind of topics did people like and what did they not like? Which posts get people to stay the longest? Maybe you should be writing more of those.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Your analytics data can give you all kinds of insights into how your audience operates and where you should take your blog next.

Free vs. Paid Analytics

The most common way people get their analytics is from the king of search, Google. Google Analytics is free and easy to use. All you need is a Google account which you may already have if you have Gmail, a YouTube channel, a Webmaster Tools account or use other Google tools. Once you log into your account, you will add your website and then copy and paste the code they provide into your website.

Many themes offer a box to paste the code into or you can get a plugin like Google Analytics for WordPress by Yoast.

I am not alone in believing that Google’s traffic numbers are overstated most likely because it adds in bots and other automated searches. Even so, most people use Google Analytics even if they have other stats tools.

Another free source of analytics may be right in your website’s cPanel. AWStats is in the Logs section. This tool does try to isolate the automated searches and give you information about those separately. There are charts comparing various metrics. Custom date ranges are not available, however.

Clicky Web AnalyticsI use Google Analytics and occasionally check my AWStats but I am loving Clicky. Clicky is easy to install on your blog through a plugin created by Yoast. You get some basic analytics right in your dashboard but the detailed reports are found in your account on the Clicky website. You can customize a dashboard to see various stats at a glance and then you’ll be able to drill down to get more details

It is very easy to see which posts are getting a lot of traffic and where those readers are coming from. For example, when you use social media to promote a blog post, you can easily see if that strategy worked for you.

Another nice feature shows you traffic to a specific page from a keyword search and where you ranked for that keyword.

Then on the cool side is the Spy feature which allows you to see real-time visitors and which page they are visiting and then where they go next.

You can install the basic Clicky analytics on one website for free so you might find it interesting to compare the numbers with Google.

Don’t make the mistake of overlooking this treasure trove of information. At the very least, install Google Analytics and then set a time each month to review the reports to determine where you need to spend your time the following month.

Christine Cobb

Christine Cobb

is a web technology consultant, a small business online marketing consultant and provides information for new bloggers and affiliate marketers.
Christine Cobb

Comments

  1. I totally agree! You turned me onto Clicky and I think it’s awesome! Easy to understand, complete, accurate. Good stuff all around 🙂

  2. We’ve been using Google Analytics since the time that we started. One thing I understood from Google is on how to use this very great feature. It does help companies and helps us think a better strategy into pulling people to really visit the site. I don’t know about Clicky yet. But with the review you gave, it seems like a great plugin. I think I am going to try it.

  3. Great advice, Christine!

    That’s one of the huge things that I tackle with my coaching clients. They come to me and say “what next?” and I say “Well, let’s look at your numbers.” Then we look at lists, traffic, sales, etc, to see where the weak link and the strong links are so we know where to go to from there.

    But, as you said, you have to have the data to be able to analyze it.

    Plus, it’s so rewarding to go back in time through your stats to see how far you’ve come. 🙂

    Great post!

    • Christine Cobb says:

      Thanks for stopping by Nicole. You know it’s really cool when you study your stats to find out that you are ranking #1 for a key phrase. That’s real motivation to continue working to repeat that.

  4. I have never heard of Clicky. Do you recommend that I uninstall Google analytics and instead use Clicky? Or do you have both analytic tools installed on your blog?

    • Christine Cobb says:

      Hey Carol,

      I learned about Clicky from the guy behind the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin. I did not remove Google Analytics which is now connected to my Webmaster Tools account.

      I like to review my stats with Clicky better because it is so much easier to read and easier to see what information on the site is resonating with visitors.

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