Blog Homework: Day 5

I’m away from technology for a couple of weeks, but I didn’t want to leave you hanging. So for 14 days, I’m issuing you some homework. That’s right — you get to work while I get to relax. You can follow all of the assignments here. If you have questions, feel free to post in the comments…It may take me a while to respond, but I’ll be reading everything when I return!

Over the 14 days, I’m going to assign you some tasks that I think will help you streamline, organize, market and ENJOY your blog a little more. For the first five assignments, you’ll be asked to review your blog itself. You’ll get the weekend off, then five more assignments that are focused on helping you build your readership and social media community.

It may be the sweetest word in the English language.

Analytics.

(Side note: do you think Lucas would let me name any future daughters Anna Lytics Widrick?)

It’s no secret that I love analytics — from bounce rates to referrals to everything in between. I love measuring how people read my blog, where they come from, what they do when they’re here…it all brings out the numbers nerd in me.

But, you can’t study analytics unless you actually measure them. So today’s homework is all about setting up your metrics and measurements.

Note: this will vary depending on your blogging platform; Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, etc., and also whether or not you are self-hosted. So take the tools and concepts I talk about here and adapt them to your own situation.

  • Your native analytics program (the one that comes installed with your platform) can be a good place to start — but I would definitely look at adding another tool.
  • Google Analytics is the gold standard when it comes to measuring traffic. It’s relatively simple to set up, gets you instant results, and has a simple dashboard that can help you narrow down by dates, specific browsers and more.
  • StatPress can be a good tool to use in addition to or in place of GA, although it’s not as widely accepted for reporting traffic.
  • I’m a big fan of Get Clicky (thanks for the introduction, Theodora!), which makes it really easy to find stats on live traffic, searches and referrals.

There are other tools that have good reviews from other bloggers, but the lineup above is what I use.

If you’re looking to see how your traffic compares to others (or compare sites of your competitors!), try:

So, it’s time to go find the right tool for your blog and install it. Homework is assigned!

 

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