Site Stats: Why Analytics Are Awesome

If you follow me on Twitter (@girl_onthego), you may have noticed that I’ve been testing out scheduled tweets over the last week or so. Ranging in frequency from every hour to every two or three hours, I’ve re-posted old blog entries. Here’s what I’ve learned from watching the statistics on my site:

 – Those blog entries I re-posted did indeed see an upswing in hits

– The search terms that were finding my blog started to include older terms – for example, older theater reviews were picking up new hits when they hadn’t for a while.

– Depending on the frequency of updates, my blog saw traffic as much as 2-3 times higher than it would have on days when no new entries were posted.

– Nobody on my twitter complained about the extra posts. (Critically important, as it’s not worth pissing off loyal readers to get a few more blog hits.)
 

The fourth bullet point brings me to the main reason I chose to try this experiment: on Twitter, the stream of information can be such that users who aren’t logged in at the exact moment of a new blog’s posting may not see the link, particularly if they’re in a different time zone (or on the other side of the planet).

Thanks to Google Analytics (different from WordPress’ Site Statistics information in that it runs far deeper and allows multiple perspectives on statistical data) I can see where my site views are coming from – and this helped me to understand that while I have friends and readers on all but one continent, chances were that they weren’t seeing my tweets about new posts. (Of course, the best way to guarantee you never miss a post is to subscribe to new updates, per the link to the side of this entry.)

The costs of the re-posting experient? Time; about ten minutes’ worth a day to schedule a re-post every hour. The mental effort was minimal – choosing what to post, and how to frame it for new relevance. The benefits were positive – I tracked retweets via my phone’s Twitter app, and found new followers along the way. Plus, it relieved some of the burden on days when I was too rushed or too stressed to write up a new post by keeping my blog entries fresh enough to continue showing up in search results.

Overall verdict:? Success.

Edit: It’s come to my attention that a number of readers are trying to figure out how to install Analytics on their WordPress.com-hosted blog. The lack of ability to install Google Analytics onto a WordPress.com blog was what prompted me to move rlbrody.com to a self-hosted space. 

3 responses to “Site Stats: Why Analytics Are Awesome

  1. I’ve recently started a free trial of Hootsuite Pro to schedule tweets by uploading a spreadsheet, which saves a considerable amount of time in setting up the tweets. Is it worth $10 USD per month? I’m not sure yet. I’m still trying to find the right balance.

    I use retweets to fill those days I’m not tweeting a new posting for my personal blog (Monday/Wednesday/Friday) and writing blog (Sunday). The in between days are when I typically see a dip in traffic. I suspect I might get more traffic if I was posting new content more frequently. As long as I have a non-writing job to pay the bills, retweeting old blog posts will have to do for now.

    • Rachel / @girl_onthego

      Interesting. Let me know what you find with Hootsuite; I tried downloading the trial once but it didn’t work properly for me. I didn’t realize you had two separate blogs – interesting. So the writing blog has less traffic through the week, or does traffic from the personal blog cross over on the other days?

      • The personal blog seems to attract all the spammers and crazy people who live on the Internet. If I’m reading the search engine tea leaves correctly, I may only have two dozen regular readers. Traffic dips when I don’t have a post and/or tweet. I’m experimenting with posting two or three items per scheduled day to see if that improves traffic.

        As for the writing blog, the traffic is fairly consistent from day to day with people searching for actual content. Almost no spammers. Real comments from readers. I’m happy with it being a niche blog with a niche audience.

        The only time I have crossover traffic between the two blogs is when I have a link connecting the two. I’m hoping that spammers and crazy people don’t make that connection.

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