Sunday, October 28, 2007

Answers from Analytics

I obviously had too much time on my hands, to have opened a free Google Analytics account. Stats wise, this is a great tool, if you really are serious in increasing the number of hits or visits to your website. Great if you are doing business, but this is also quite helpful if you are simply looking to improve your blog . It helps you figure things out- such as where your visitors are coming from and what articles they read.

Looking at the graphs can be quite intimidating at first- daily stats, hourly ratings, geographic locations to name a few. It can really make your head spin, but once you get the hang of it (or you figure out what you are looking for) you can start figuring out the trends.

The first step was to add a tracker to the existing template (I apologize for any errors in the technical lingo). After it was tested by Google Analytics, I simply had to wait while it gathered data. On another note, Yahoo’s MyBlogLog service also gives similar information albeit the one day delay (you can have real time stats if you upgrade to MyBlogLog Pro). Performance wise, I prefer Analytics for its comprehensive reports.

So far I got only a few days worth of stats, but here are some observations I’ve made:

1. New readers (readers who may have just chanced upon your blog via Blogger or perhaps by word of mouth) comprise the largest percentage of your visitors. I’m not sure if this is true with other blogs but this was certainly the first thing I observed. The advice? Promote, promote, promote! Give invites via chatrooms (just prepare yourself for responses like “Wanna mit up?” or “You suck!” nevertheless there are also good responses), invite old friends and complete strangers to read your blog, send everyone messages thru Friendster, scream in the middle of the plaza- whatever you do and how far you go depends on how determined you are. Good luck.

2. It pays to link up. Referrals are the next best thing- this comes in second place. When people browse blogs they inevitably check the blogroll so make sure you link with a lot of fellow bloggers. Everybody wins = ) And oh, try to come up with an outrageous blog title so it catches attention right away. Use your imagination.

3. The Preview Hack. It helps to just tease your readers with previews of your articles instead of the whole thing (also saves space for long articles). Lord knows I’ve had a hemorrhage trying to edit the html template, but after hours of looking through the font size 8 text I gave up. If I would have continued, I might have become cross-eyed by now. Thanks but, I like my eyes the way they are, screw the hack. For the fortunate ones able to correctly change the template, the rewards are more clicks. Your readers have no choice but click the Read more link to read the articles. For my blog, you can see full length the latest seven posts. Oh well.

4. Check which posts your readers click the most. Hot guys? Stories? Humor? Then probably you can build on that. There is, by the way another hack for the Top Ten Posts, which your css/html/xml illiterate friend here has yet to figure out- this is another widget that would help your readers.

5. Less updates=less views, and more updates=more views. I guess the equation explains itself well.

6. The most clicks would always be during the weekend (Thusday, Friday, and Saturday Pacific Standard Time, or Friday, Saturday, and Sunday Manila time). Better make sure to have your strongest, most interesting articles are posted- showtime!

Stats aside, the real essence of the blog lies of course, in the author’s purpose. In the end, that should never be compromised. The beauty of blogging is in the freedom that we get- we are able to say things we wouldn’t otherwise say out loud in real life (and this also explains the case of blog owners who wish to remain anonymous).

We all love our magnum opus. Hopefully we utilize the tools available online to further improve our work.

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