Measuring success is everything in business. Whether you are blogging for fun or for profit, monitoring your website traffic is very important. Paying attention to the traffic my websites receive helps me determine what to write and whether or not what I am writing is worth my time. If I was not paying attention to how my content was being accessed I would not know if it was being effective or not.
There are many tools that you can use to measure the success of content on your website. The most common is Google Analytics. Google Analytics is an excellent free tool that will give you great insight into the traffic your website is receiving. It gives you a breakdown of where your traffic came from, why it came there, how long it stayed, and how quickly it left to go somewhere else. Google Analytics provides a good overview of your website’s traffic. There are many things that I feel are important that it is lacking, but it is a free service and it does a great job considering it is free. I run Google Analytics on all of my websites and my clients’ sites as well.
The important thing that Google Analytics does not do is help you figure out how well your content is converting based on the keywords you hoped people would use to find it. When you write an article, you hope that somebody will find it by doing a Google search that will result in your website showing up for them to click on. Usually, people are searching for something that results in them landing on a page other than your homepage. Unless their search is very specific or they search for you by name, they will most likely end up on an article or blog page. If you sell products, they may end up on a product page. Wouldn’t it be great to know if they were finding what they were looking for? The search engines are getting smarter at making sure the search results users see are relevant to the keywords they used to search, but the search engines are not perfect. There are many tools you can use to get more detailed information. SEOmoz and Kissmetrics are just two of the many services available. Both provide different information and have a monthly cost. When it comes to good information, it will usually come at a cost. Though there are paid alternatives to Google Analytics I have yet to find one that I think offers enough added value to justify the cost. There are other services such as the aforementioned that provide specialized data to help you on your course to generating more traffic, leads or sales.
My wife has a blog where she posts from time to time about her life, our family and projects she does in our home. Most of her blogs get about 30-40 unique visits per month. After she started showing an interest in Pinterest I decided to install a Pinterest widget on her website that would allow people to Pin items from her website. I encourage her to use imagery to showcase her projects on her website. One of her projects that she did was a wood sign. She did a step-by-step tutorial with photos and posted it on her blog. Somebody pinned it to Pinterest and it has been consistently receiving 600-800 unique visits per day. This one post makes up for 89% of her monthly site traffic. She had no idea this was happening until I looked at the Google Analytics report for her website and noticed the spike in traffic due to this post. It is quite apparent that people enjoy her projects and that sharing them on Pinterest is a good channel for her content to be shared. Now I am encouraging her to take on new projects and then showcase how to do them on her website. We have also been talking about how to look for projects she can do that people are looking for that don’t seem to have a good source of information for online. This will help her get an edge and stand out in a search.
Every web professional has different thoughts on the best way to measure the traffic of your website and decided where to go from there. Every year I attend at least two conferences where speakers discuss Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The problem is that you can have all of your websites and it’s content optimized but if the content you have is not actively being searched for, it will not matter what you do. Your website needs to contain information that people actually want to consume and that is how you get new eyes flocking to your website all day.
The first step is knowing. If you do not have some sort of tracking system installed on your website to give you at the very least a snapshot of daily activity, you need to get that taken care of. It is easy to install Google Analytics tracking code into your website. If your website runs on WordPress, Joomla or some other content management system, it is as easy as installing a free plugin that allows you to enter your Google Analytics account. Tracking will begin immediately and you will have something to look at later that day. After a few days, you will know what is popular on your website. You might be surprised at what people are coming to your website to see, I know my wife was when I told her about her blog’s traffic. Many times my clients are surprised as well.
Having the data gives you a way to measure success and gives you a better idea of what to do next. Without this, you are flying blind.
If you need help getting tracking software installed on your website, contact us. Someone from my team can help you start to understand the traffic that your website is getting. Just this month we started working with one of our clients closely to deeply analyze his website’s traffic so we can find new ways to increase traffic based on what people are doing to find content similar to what his website offers.