If you have been following these Blog Exercises for the past six months, your site should be rocking. I asked you early on to define what you do clearly as it helped to clarify your site purpose and goals and your reason for blogging. You were to define your specific audience, part of identifying like minds, those you wish to have in your online community and as customers. In the process, you were to also focus on developing relationships with other bloggers, with those who influence your own work, and how to write about others using proper citation within copyright laws, and how to group people together complemented by association and reputation, and how to become a fan blogger, passionate about your subject matter.
You’ve been working on a consistent workflow, developing your editorial calendar to schedule posts during the year with attention to seasons, anniversaries, industry events, and monthly events and holidays.
It’s now time to start examining all this activity, learning how to evaluate and measure it.
It’s time to talk stats.
Let’s begin with some basic terminology.
Go to “Web Statistics and Analytics Glossary,” an article I published recently to help my college students learn the terminology associated with web statistics and analytics.
Review the words that make up the world of counting visitors on the web. I can be like learning a new language. These are the words of your business, or your industry, as a blogger and web publisher.
Check out your web statistics and analytics program.
Poke around the web statistics and analytics you currently have access to on your site. You may have more than one. Get familiar with it. What features does it offer?
Can you track visitors by type such as unique visitors? Can you easily identify their location? What pages they read? The search terms? Most popular posts? Clicks and referral links? Go through each section and study it. What information does it provide? Does it offer comparisons, comparing one stat to other or against time? Learn what your stats or analytics program can do and the basics of how to use it.
If you are on WordPress.com, check your WordPress.com Stats.
If you haven’t already, sign up for Google Analytics.
NOTE: Google Analytics is now available on WordPress.com sites. Go to Tools > Available Tools > Website Verification Services and add the Google Webmaster Tools code there. It should connect directly to your Google Webmaster Tools account, thus Google Analytics. If you wish a more complicated method, Jonathon Balogh found a work-around that is not for the light-hearted and not completely free.
There are a variety of stats and web analytics programs to experiment with. See examples of free or inexpensive options featured in Mashable’s listing of 5 super cheap web analytics tools and VR Marketing Blog list.
Over the next few months, we’ll dig into your stats to help you understand which stats to pay attention to and introduce you to basic web analytics so you can get a grip on how your site is doing and how to make it do better.