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.


  1. Google Analytics is great. Here are a few other suggestions that I've played with lately:

    Google Webmasters
    This can be linked into your analytics account but it takes some digging. This webmasters tool is VERY helpful for viewing your site in the eyes of Google. Shows where you break out in specific searches and how often people click through to your site when you show up on searches. Also useful in finding broken links.

    Yoast SEO
    Not for blogspot as much, but for the Wordpress users out there, Yoast has an awesome plugin as well as walk-thru at the link above in making sure you have the best looking search results possible.

    1. Ok, one more...

      Track who is subscribing to your RSS feeds and offer email subscriptions to your posts

  2. Have you thought about making an "all posts" or "table of contents" page? Particularly for the low entertainment/high utility posts, those are the kinds of things people might come back for (or not realize they needed to know until they saw the title), but they can be hard to find buried in the archive. Just a suggestion.

  3. @jorules: not a bad idea, I'd been considering changing up the layout to try and improve flow. I made some changes, let me know what you think.