A is For (Google) Analytics: Welcome to Part 1 of the Blogging Basics Series

This is a screenshot of Google Analytics for my blog. It's slightly off, because I didn't install Google Analytics until March 10th, 2012.

Welcome to Part #1 of my 30 Part Blogging Basics Series. Today kicks off the A-Z Blogging Challenge, and the Ultimate Blog Challenge–both of which I am participating in this month. I love my readers, and many of those readers are other bloggers, so I’m giving a little something back to all of you for the month of April.

I’ve decided to devote 30 days of blogging madness to sharing everything I’ve learned about blogging and to give you tips on how to have a better blog, become a better blogger, and ultimately become more successful. If you haven’t subscribed to my blog via RSS (top of right sidebar just above my shiny, smiling mug) or via email (look to the left), you need to right now, because the next 30 days will be the most valuable posts I’ve produced beyond the almost famous Top 10 Reasons I Never Visit Your Blog Anymore post.

A is for (Google) Analytics

The A-Z Challenge and Ultimate Blog Challenge can be combined as long as I stick to the appropriate letter format, so today’s insights are about Analytics tools–Google Analytics and others. You might not be familiar with Google Analytics or other stat trackers, but if you want to be a long-term successful blogger, you’ll need to implement analytics tools at some point. (If you’re only blogging for the “fun of it” and not worried about traffic, skip this post and check out some of my other lovely posts on life, travel, social media, writing, and humor).

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What are analytics?

Analytics are tools we use to measure web traffic and our overall blog effectiveness. With analytics we can find out where the traffic is coming from, who your visitors are (demographics), which content visitors preferred, and how they engaged with the content (did they share it, “bounce” away, click a link in the content?). Analytics show what works with your blogging and what doesn’t, and when using analytics to measure traffic stats over time, you’ll be able to fine-tune your blog for success and increase traffic to your website.

This is a screenshot of Google Analytics for my blog. It’s slightly off, however, because I didn’t install Google Analytics until March 10th, 2012.

Which analytics are best?

There’s always debate over which analytics are best, so I’ll simply share the tools I use and have used to measure traffic stats on my blog. WordPress offers an awesome Jetpack plugin for self-hosted blogs which allows me to view my stats straight from the WordPress dashboard (convenient), and I installed Google Analytics (comprehensive) tracking code in early March. I rely on a dual method of measuring traffic–Google Analytics and WordPress Stats via Jetpack–because they each serve specific needs I have in my blogging. These analytics tools will always show some variance, and there is no 100% accurate method of measuring stats (if someone tells you there is, they are full of BS), but these are as accurate as I need for my purposes (for now).

In the past I’ve used Lijit, Site Meter, and Stat Counter analytics tools, but I encourage you to explore and find what works best for you. I won’t waste your time with a comprehensive list of analytics tools to check out, because you can find that on this excellent post: 20 Analytics Tools For Blogs from another awesome blog I read sometimes. I encourage you to read about and try whichever ones appeal to you, because whether one analytics will be better than the other will become an aside with the blogging education you’ll be giving yourself in the process.

Let’s re-cap by checking out this cool video on analytics:

That’s all for Post 1 of the Blogging Basics Series. Have you subscribed to my blog yet to keep up with the entire series? If not, what are you waiting for? Subscribe and check in tomorrow for B is for Blogging Platforms: The Good, The Bad, and The Sucky. It will only keep getting better, so you won’t want to miss out!

Do you use analytics tools? If so, which ones? Tell me in the comments!

Comments: 2

  • Eric says:

    Good write-up. I look forward to the rest of the blogging series.

    To add another web analytics tool, SkyGlue (skyglue.com) is a Google Analytics add-on that automates advanced Google Analytics and introduces individual drill-down & visitor retention measurement . SkyGlue for Bloggers to engage better with their readers.

  • Eric, thanks for the awesome suggestion. I’m going to go by and check it out. If you have an opportunity, drop by my blog and check out my observation on blogging platforms. I’d be curious to see what feedback you had. Cheers!

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