[David Strom's Web Informant] December 30, 2014: Why you need to review your stats regularly

David Strom david at strom.com
Tue Dec 30 13:34:07 EST 2014


Web Informant, December 30, 2014: Why you need to review your stats
regularly



I admit it; I have fallen out of the habit of reviewing my various stats on
my websites and other content-oriented places. For many years I dutifully
kept track of how my posts were doing, who was commenting, where backlinks
were coming from, and so forth.



For some reason, I stopped doing this in the past year. Maybe it was just
being lazy, maybe because I had gotten very busy with a lot of very
interesting assignments. Maybe it was just old age: I have been writing
stuff for more than 25 years, after all.



Well, all of those (and others) aren’t valid excuses. You need to check
your stats, and check them regularly. There are lots of interesting things
hidden in them that you might not realize, and some of these things can
help you delivery better content, or target new audiences, or figure out
what you are doing right (and do it more often) or wrong (and avoid or
improve).



Wordpress’ Jetpack delivers an annual email summary of your blog and its
posts: this is a very useful reminder that you need to dive in deeper and
see what is going on with your blog (or blogs, in my case). And
Slideshare.net also has some great analytics. This service is a wonderful
place to post PowerPoints of my presentations. Looking at these analytics,
I would have found out:



   - *In**fluence can be found in odd places.* A post that I wrote for
   SoftwareAdvice.com about real-time retail store tracking was picked up by a
   blogger for the point-of-sale system Vend.com, that brought a bunch of
   visitors to my site back in the spring when I was quoted by their blogger.
   Could have been an opportunity to talk more about the subject.
   - *Don’t knock the long tail. *I am still the leading expert on a very
   obscure Windows error message: if you were to Google “Windows Media
   Player error c00d11b1” you will see my post in the first ten or so results.
   The post has received more than 380,000 views in the more than eight years
   since I wrote it, and it is still getting comments on my blog and links in
   the Microsoft forums too. Why is this important? All this traffic on a very
   specific subject can help raise your Google ranking, and also provide an
   entry point into your content ecosystem if you manage it properly.
   - *My influence beyond North American borders is somewhat quirky.* The
   second most-visited place of origin for my Slideshare.net account is
   Ukraine, with about half the views from the US over the past year. Again
   attesting to the very long tail, a good chunk of these views came from a
   presentation that I posted five years ago on how to set up your first blog
   and business email. (That kind of makes sense.) For my blog, other popular
   countries of origin for my visitors were India and Brazil. Don’t forget the
   rest of the world when you are posting your content and widen your
   perspective to engage more of these readers.
   - *Twitter and Facebook were both important traffic drivers for my blog
   over the past year.* This emphasizes how critical your own social media
   accounts are and how you need to cross-link posts among them. Combined the
   two were equal to the traffic brought in from Google organic searches,
   which is another important element in referring traffic too. Don’t just
   post blog entries on your blog: I have begun cross-posting my content on
   LinkedIn Pulse and Medium and they are getting a fair share of views there
   too. The analytics for those sites could be better though: for example,
   Medium only allows you to look at month-long intervals at a time and Pulse
   will only send you static results in regular email summaries.



There are lots of Twitter analytic tools, and some that are quite pricey.
One that I like that has a free version is TwitterCounter, including who
unfollowed and followed you over time. For example, I got excited this week
to see that the actor Taye Diggs followed me (he has been following my
wife’s Tweets for some time) but our local mayor dropped me (oh well).



Happy new year and may your stats encourage you to deliver better content
in 2015! You can comment or view links to the above content here:

http://blog.strom.com/wp/?p=4684
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