Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tracking your website

The above picture is from my dashboard on Google Analytics. If you run a website, or are thinking about running a website, I highly recommend creating a Google Analytics account and inserting the code into your site. It has been really helpful with my site to figure out all sorts of ways of improving it. The data above is for the last month. I can tell from the dashboard that:

- My number of pageviews (the bottom center graph) is trending upwards. I received a lot of link backs from various sites (including I Like The Cut Of His Jib!! and Connecting the Dots, as well as LinkdIn), which means word is getting out about my blog.

- My bounce rate has plummeted. Bounce rate is when someone comes to your site and leaves from the main page, typically because your site isn't what they were looking for, or because they found no reason to click anywhere else. I made structural changes to the website over Christmas, and the bounce rate (bottom graph on the right) has plummeted.

- I set goals of more interaction (meaning you click on more than 2 pages) and engagement (meaning you spend more than 3 minutes on the site). The upper right graph keeps track of those.

I like Google Analytics because I can get information about my blog and make changes.

- I modified my top 5 most viewed pages to have a suggest link at the bottom, so that when the reader gets through the post, they have incentive to read more on the website. It dramatically increased my website engagement.

- I made sure that the search terms that commonly lead to my site (FITREP, house hunting leave, LES) had pages that were easy to find on the main page. The end result was my bounce rate dropping dramatically.

- I modified the mobile version of the site to load faster, and I noticed more mobile users staying on longer.

In short, if you intend to blog, put Google Analytics on right away and check it once a week. You'll get great feedback that will help you accurately tailor your website to your viewers.

And, if you have recommendations on how to get your website out to everyone, by all means drop a comment below.