3 Steps to Making the Most of Site Analytics
Most bloggers publish content week after week, regularly contribute to social media conversations, and drop their share of emails. Occasionally, maybe once a year, they stop and ask themselves:
Am I getting anywhere? Well, are you?
Honesty Is the Best Policy
There’s a saying that goes “Little by little, one travels far.” Many people attribute this to J.R.R. Tolkien, and countless memes and mugs exist as evidence, but this isn’t true. Tolkien never penned these words. The statement, however, is true. If you’ve ever hiked up a mountain, you know this. Step after step, turn after turn, you lose a sense of time until you finally reach an overlook and turn around. The whole journey stretches out before you. You’ve come a long way.
As you churn out blog after blog, the numbers may start to run together. You lose track of what you’ve accomplished until something prompts you to stop. Instead of a scenic vista, however, it’s probably a question that hits all of us from time to time: Is this actually making a difference?
We all want growth, of course. But before we can plan for growth, we have to look at the journey so far. We need to evaluate and be honest with ourselves. We need to look at the analytics.
What Does It All Mean?
Not only does Google corner the market on search, its Google Analytics tool is king in the website data department. If you already use it, that’s great! But you probably also know, or will soon find out, that the data, while helpful, can be hard to follow. Google Analytics tracks blogs, yes, but also mobile apps, business websites, and a lot more. It’s really more than a new blog platform requires.
But you should still pay attention to data. Your audience is talking to you through their behavior on your website, and the data can help you set better goals for a successful future. All you need to do is focus on what really matters to you right now.
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If you want to design your future, you need to understand where you came from. These are the three steps you need to take to understand your blogging data:
- Analyze. Look at your data by month, quarter, or year. Where did your traffic come from? What content was popular on your website? What types of content led to conversions (if you’ve got conversion-tracking set up).
- Hypothesize. Once you’ve got that data, review it. Are you satisfied with your results? How are you doing compared to the year before? What type of success would you like to see next year? What changes could you make to your website or marketing strategy to help you achieve those results?
- Optimize. Once you’ve clarified a strategy (in the hypothesize stage) it’s time to execute. Set benchmarks for what success looks like with each of these hypotheses and then measure your progress throughout the year.
Before you set goals for next year, take some time to figure out how well you’ve been doing so far.