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November 25, 2013

Google Analytics for Bloggers Who Hate Numbers

Filed as Guides with no comments

Analytics: an exercise in number-crunching, or a pain in the neck? It depends on how familiar you are with the term and how much value you place in measuring website traffic. Analytics is the catch-all term for collecting, reporting, measuring, and analyzing data off the Internet in order to understand and optimize the information for the benefit of e-commerce.

Believe it or not, numbers are your friend; especially if you're into e-commerce.

There are plug-ins out there that measure traffic and give web masters an idea of how much users are being driven to a site, therefore giving a good idea on how effective a marketing strategy is, something that web marketers need to know. However, this sort of information isn't as important for a blogger who simply wants to know how many people are visiting their site. That sort of thing still may be nice to know, but it's not as critical.

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July 3, 2013

Why Bloggers Need to Pay Attention to Web Analytics

Filed as General with 3 comments

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Truth be known, you don’t have to, if you don’t want to; but if you have tried using web analytics to understand how your blog is performing in terms of readership and audience, you probably have felt the thrill of seeing stats go up! You probably have also experienced the sinking feeling in your stomach when you see that no one reads your blog. We’ve been there. We’ve done that. We may even have a t-shirt from it lying around somewhere.

In all seriousness, though, blogging – just like most any other activity – requires some sort of feedback. That is, if you want to know how you’re doing, and, if you actually have a goal that you want to achieve. And this, my friends, is the main reason bloggers need to pay attention to web analytics. read more

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October 15, 2012

Top Blogger Smartphone Apps

Filed as Guides, Reviews with 4 comments

Because of the seemingly countless mobile s made for just about anything you can think of, writing blog posts, using social media, and checking website traffic stats for your business outside of desktops and laptops have become possible. Indeed, blogging has now entered the domain of mobile phones.

If youve never experienced the freedom of blogging anywhere, then its time you do. To get you started, here are the top blogging s that you should get for your smartphone. read more

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September 9, 2011

Google’s Big Plans for +1

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Google is in a protracted battle for control of the Internet with Facebook, and its +1 button is one of its newest weapons.

The +1 button as introduced in March 2011 was Google’s answer to Facebook’s Like button for its own burgeoning social network, Google+, allowing users to share articles and ads with fellow members by giving them a +1 vote. The company’s plans for +1, as revealed in recent news releases, could have a very profound impact on all people who use Google Search, even if they are not using Google+.

Google has already implemented changes to its search algorithm that better accommodate the social aspect of Internet searches by turning user signals into ranking factors. This means that the person doing the searching is now impacting how sites are ranked as Google measures things like how many people click on but immediately exit (bounce rate) a site, and how many pages are visited once a user is in the site.

This computing power it takes to measure these factors is significant, however, and so updates like Panda that are used to analyze this data and refine the algorithm are only run periodically. The +1 button gives Google Analytics a new tool with which to measure user signals that is overt; it is provided by the users themselves based on their actual preference for the website.

Allowing this tool to shape the search results of users everywhere has its limits. Critics warn of “blackhats” infiltrating the Google+ system with false identities and artificially altering search results with bogus +1 votes. This makes Google’s persistence regarding authentic identification for Google+ users more understandable, but creates another problem in that many honest people value (and prefer) Internet anonymity. Both of these issues could make the system less attractive to users of both Google+ and Google Search.

Merging a social network with a globally accepted search engine may not be all that easy, but since Google and Facebook will likely never partner in business, it really has no choice but to move forward so that it may curb the threat of Facebook creating its own integrated Internet search function – which can only be a matter of time.

If you are looking to use +1 to help your website, one thing you can do is add the +1 button to sharable pages on your site such as blog articles. You can also participate in Google’s social network to build an authentic social profile by following relevant individuals and engaging in conversations with them to grow your followers.

James Madeiros is a staff writer for Sparkplug Digital, a provider of SEO services for startups and tech companies.

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March 19, 2011

How Google Analytics Can Dramatically Help Your Blogging

Bloggers are always looking for ways to improve their content, site or profile. Bloggers, who were previously ruled off as nothing more than a hobbyists are now make a massive impact on the world around us opening us . There are always ways to improve your content and the best way to do so is through Google Analytics.

If you run your own site and don’t know what Google Analytics is, you’re missing out on vital information. The wealth of data Google tracks when visitors come to your site gives you a very accurate profile of your target demographic and what they’re looking for. Here’s how you can supercharge your Blogging by using Google Analytics.

Are Visitors Really Reading Your Content?

As Bloggers we love it when readers not only share content but well, read it. I’m not talking about lightly skimming through the post and picking out the most important pieces of information but actually reading it. When you log in to Google Analytics and select the dashboard for your site, you’ll notice the Content Overview box in the lower right hand corner. The information in the section shows the top performing content on your site.

Clicking on the top links — which are hopefully Blog posts — shows how long a visitor had that page displayed. You’ll have to estimate how long it would take you to read your post at a normal rate and see if it matches the time reported by Google Analytics. If it’s close (everyone reads at different speeds) then you’ll have a better idea of how your readers are interacting with your content.

Social Media Campaigns

One of the coolest tricks I learned while using Google Analytics on a daily basis was creating custom tracking links that can be used with a Social Media ‘Marketing’ strategy. This is the same tracking link you would build for a traditional Google Adwords run but can be condensed using bit.ly or your favorite URL shortening service.

Building a Google Tracking URL is extremely simple and will give you a better understanding of which Blog posts are the most popular in the social sphere.

Here’s how I set up my tracking URLs

Campaign Source: Where is the content originating from? Hint: It’s most likely your Blog
Campaign Medium: Where are you sending the content? Twitter, Facebook or just a general Social Network submission?
Campaign Term: Always left blank
Campaign Content: Short name of the Blog post.
Campaign Name: What major category would it fall under? Is it part of your campaign on tracking tutorial posts or opinion pieces?

The results are available for each site under Traffic Sources > Campaigns.

Using these links when posting on Facebook, Twitter or any network will give you a more accurate reading of how the Social Sphere responds to your content. When working with clients and using Google’s tracking URLs, it showed me which post categories were popular and how I should improve on them. Just as important, Google Analytics also showed which posts failed to capture attention and frankly turned off followers.

Google Analytics packs a treasure trove information about your site. When used in creative ways, it can reveal much more about your site, your brand and how it’s being perceived online. Combining Google Analytics with your existing analytical tools can energize any social strategy.

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November 8, 2009

Sunday Morning SEO: Long Tail Keyword Research With Google Analytics

Filed as Features with 8 comments

One of the things SEO specialists often talk about is the power of long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are the search terms with 3 or more words that don’t have high search volume. The shorter keywords have higher search volume but in aggregate, the long tail keywords provide the bulk of a site’s search traffic.

For example, you can have a Europe travel site that ranks well for europe travel but the majority of your traffic will come from terms like:

  • europe travel deals
  • europe travel guide
  • europe travel packages
  • europe travel books
  • cheap europe travel

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October 19, 2009

Metrics Metered

postrank-logo

When I set up my first Web site in 1995, Web counters were the big thing. Virtually every site had one of those (rather pointless) rolling counters at the bottom that tracked how many “hits” the page got. We were, at that point, obsessed with the idea that our pages were being read and could care less by who. The whole idea of international publishing was still new and exciting.

Later counters became more evolved, the term “hits” became meaningless and we focused on “visitors” or “users”. A variety of new trackers, most with their own buttons, began to pop up. Those slowly replaced the hit counter as the new metric to watch.

However, as the millennium rolled over and the first tech bubble burst, we saw even more advanced metrics rise out of the ashes. Attention became the most valuable thing to track, especially in an AJAX Web where page views and visitors would be almost meaningless. It was no longer a matter of just how many people visited, but how long they stayed and what they did.

Now we’ve moved forward again, this time it’s “engagement that we’re looking at. Services such as PostRank allow you to track comments, tweets and links to your site as part of your “Engagement Score”, combining that info with your other, more traditional data.

But with so many metrics to track. There’s a legitimate question about what stats are the most important for a blogger to track. The answer is simple: All of them and none of them. read more

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August 31, 2009

Movable Type Monday: GoogleAnalytics, User Export, DebugMode, and More

Happy Monday, folks! We’re going to start this week with some plugin news. First, Dan Wolfgang has released an update to Better File Uploader that takes advantage of the new Entry Asset Manager in Movable Type 4.3. Better File Uploader is exactly what it says it is — a file uploader for MT that provides more features and a better UI than the built-in one. Get it and see for yourself.

Also this week, Okayama has created a new Google Analytics plugin. This one pulls your data into your blog stats in your dashboard. This sounds very convenient for doing a quick check of your Google Analytics data.

Our last plugin for this week comes from, Byrne Reese. Have you ever wanted to analyze the data MT gathers about your users? Or generate a list of users you could use for a mailing? User Export can do those things. It will export all the data about selected users, including their custom data.

Finally, Beau Smith wrote a tutorial that shows how to use configuration directives — including ones you create yourself — to determine whether comments in your templates get written. This is a clever approach, and I can see it being useful for a variety of task.

What have you done with MT lately? Let us know in the comments.

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May 25, 2009

5 Things to Do With a Blogging Day Off

In the United States, today is Memorial Day, a holiday in honor the veterans who fought for our country over the course of our history. It is a holiday for most and a chance to spend at least some of the day reflecting.

As such, many will not be blogging today, but that does not mean it is always a full day off. Most, myself included, will be spending at least some time working on our sites, just not necessarily writing new content for it.

If that describes you, here are five things that you can do, other than actual blogging, to help your site and keep it going strong. Best of all, these are all, for the most part, short-term tasks you can pick up and drop off between other activities on a holiday.

Here’s 5 suggestions on how to spend your blogging holiday if you plan to spend at least a little bit of in front of your computer. read more

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April 8, 2009

Are You Using Google Analytics? Is Your Code Up To Date?

A survey on 10,000 of the “top websites on the Internet” (according to Alexa) done by Pingdom reveals that a whopping 40% of the Google Analytics users still use the old tracking code, known as urchin.js. This script still works, but it might not in the near future.

“The information we are getting from Google is that urchin.js will be decommissioned sometime this summer,” says Julien Coquet from LBi, a Google Analytics Authorized Consultant.

When we asked Julien what will happen once urchin.js is decommissioned, his guess was that it will eventually start returning a 404 error (file not found) and therefore stop registering traffic.

There’s really no reason to use the old urchin.js script, the new one (known as ga.js if I’m not mistaken) is faster and has more features. If you’re a Google Analytics user, you really should check what version you’re using, and update the code if it is pointing to a file called urchin.js.

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