A is For (Google) Analytics: Welcome to Part 1 of the Blogging Basics Series

Happy April Fool’s Day!  Welcome to Part #1 of my 30 Part Blogging Basics Series. Today kicks off the A-Z Blogging Challenge, and the Ultimate Blog Challenge–both of which I am participating in this month. I love my readers, and many of those readers are other bloggers, so I’m giving a little something back to all of you for the month of April.

I’ve decided to devote 30 days of blogging madness to sharing everything I’ve learned about  blogging and to give you tips on how to have a better blog, become a better blogger, and ultimately become more successful. If you haven’t subscribed to my blog via RSS (top of right sidebar just above my shiny, smiling mug) or via email (look to the left), you need to right now, because the next 30 days will be the most valuable posts I’ve produced beyond the almost famous Top 10 Reasons I Never Visit Your Blog Anymore post.

A is for (Google) Analytics

The A-Z Challenge and Ultimate Blog Challenge can be combined as long as I stick to the appropriate letter format, so today’s insights are about Analytics tools–Google Analytics and others. You might not be familiar with Google Analytics or other stat trackers, but if you want to be a long-term successful blogger, you’ll need to implement analytics tools at some point. (If you’re only blogging for the “fun of it” and not worried about traffic, skip this post and check out some of my other lovely posts on life, travel, social media, writing, and humor. Wink).

What are analytics? 

Analytics are tools we use to measure web traffic and our overall blog effectiveness. With analytics we can find out where the traffic is coming from, who your visitors are (demographics), which content visitors preferred, and how they engaged with the content (did they share it, “bounce” away, click a link in the content?). Analytics show what works with your blogging and what doesn’t, and when using analytics to measure traffic stats over time, you’ll be able to fine-tune your blog for success and increase traffic to your website.

This is a screenshot of Google Analytics for my blog. It's slightly off, however, because I didn't install Google Analytics until March 10th, 2012.

Which analytics are best? 

There’s always debate over which analytics are best, so I’ll simply share the tools I use and have used to measure traffic stats on my blog. WordPress offers a Jetpack plugin for self-hosted blogs which allows me to view my stats straight from the WordPress dashboard (convenient), and I installed Google Analytics (comprehensive) tracking code in early March. I rely on a dual method of measuring traffic–Google Analytics and WordPress Stats via Jetpack–because they each serve specific needs I have in my blogging. These analytics tools will always show some variance, and there is no 100% accurate method of measuring stats (if someone tells you there is, they are full of BS), but these are as accurate as I need for my purposes (for now).

In the past I’ve used Lijit, Site Meter, and Stat Counter analytics tools, but I encourage you to explore and find what works best for you. I won’t waste your time with a comprehensive list of analytics tools to check out, because you can find that on this excellent post: 20 Analytics Tools For Blogs from another awesome blog I read sometimesI encourage you to read about and try whichever ones appeal to you, because whether one analytics will be better than the other will become an aside with the blogging education you’ll be giving yourself in the process.

Let’s re-cap by checking out this cool video on analytics:

That’s all for Post 1 of the Blogging Basics Series. Have you subscribed to my blog yet to keep up with the entire series? If not, what are you waiting for? Subscribe and check in tomorrow for B is for Blogging Platforms: The Good, The Bad, and The Sucky. It will only keep getting better, so you won’t want to miss out!

Do you use analytics tools? If so, which ones? Tell me in the comments!

If you liked this post, I’d be grateful if you took advantage of the sharing buttons located at the bottom of the post. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my posts. I appreciate you!

Post update: I recently installed Stat Counter analytics to add to my other tracking methods. Stat Counter is somewhat awesome, because it tracks so many other details that Jetpack stats do not. The fact of the matter is, analytics are great, but tweaking must be done to find the best fit. I am still tweaking all kinds of blogging things myself, because this is the nature of the blogging beast–always evolving and ever changing.

57 Comments

  1. “Almost famous” my butt… That post has already received a star on Hollywood Blogevard! I’m do excited about A-Z that I can hardly contain myself :)

    I’ve never heard of Jetpack, so something to check out for sure. Looking forward to your choices for sucky platforms tomorrow lol.

    • Tony, I choked a bit, but I’m going to get back full-swing into the series. No worries!

  2. This should be an interesting series for the A-to-Z Challenge, I’ll definitely be following along with it.

    Cara

    • Thanks, Cara, I think you’ll pick up a lot if you’re still on the learning curve. 

  3. Andi-Roo: “Babes, do we use analytics on my blog?”
    Husband: “Yes. Duh.”
    Andi-Roo: “Which ones?”
    Husband: “Google. Duh. Why?”
    Andi-Roo: “Cuz Amberr asked & I have to answer.”

    Am following cuz you are BAUS! 
    xoxo ;p

  4. Great info! I’ve been using google analytics for my site. I signed up for it and popped the script in my header. Easy as pie!

  5. Sounds like an interesting series, I’ll be reading what you write.

  6. I decided to stop using Jet pack. I discovered that it was sucking down the speed of my site over the weekend. I am looking for a good alternative now. I still have good old GA! I want to try Church Analytics which is owned by John do of Tentblogger. But you have to pay for a subscription. 

    • Susan, I just removed a couple of badges for that very reason, too. Church analytics, hmm. I’ll have to check it out. 

  7. This is some good stuff Amberr. I can’t wait to read the B section.

  8. A-Z Challenge Holla!  I like the thematic challenge(s).  I am not a fan of Google Analytics.  I know there is nothing spot on, but Google is not even close in my book.  So for now, stat counter.

    • Cari, it really isn’t accurate. I’m now using several methods. 

  9. I’m glad you decided to include the A to Z in your challenges, and that you introduced me to the Ultimate Blog Challenge! Your first post is much more thorough than mine…I’ll have to step it up. ;-) Great post Amberr!

  10. You know, I feel a bit stupid now when I think about what my A to Z posts will be. I may need to think of something useful to blog about. Great job, Amberr.

    • Christina, I plan on jumping back into the series but no A-Z. Way too late. Ah, well. 

  11. You are right about there not being one perfect tool for analytics. The good news is that you can use many of them in tandem. It works pretty well.

  12. Wowzer, your post reminded me that I haven’t check my Google Analytics in ages :D Thanks, Amber!

  13. Great post, thanks! Very clear and concise … gee, even I understand it now. :-z

  14. Great post. Clear, concise … even I understand it now :-z. Good luck with B-Z.

  15. Really helpful post Amberr. I have not used Google Analytics yet, just basic page view tracking, but will look into it now.

    Am also planning to stick with you through the alphabet. 

    Thanks for this generous impulse to share your experience.  

  16. All useful points to consider, Amberr. Thanks so much for sharing:)

  17. This is stuff I needed a couple of years ago.  Oh well.  Better late than never, right?  Thanks and I’m looking forward to the rest.

  18. What a great idea for helping others who will visit during April! Thank you!

    • Thanks, Andi. I tried to click on your website and got nothing. if you come back, I want to visit you in return!

  19. Yay! Excellent theme for the A-Z Challenge, Amberr! I know I’ll benefit from your posts. :)

    • Intricate, I am really happy to know you’ll get something useful from the series!

  20. Amy left a comment on the wrong system so I copied it to leave her: Amy Tobin has left a comment on your post.

    Great stuff. Putting it on my AMG page on Facebook…

  21. I use Google Analytics and am a simpleton. I just want to see traffic grow and not too concerned about when or what to post b/c I do it for me. Do you use it to change your blogging strategy, so to speak?

    • Lisa, I just keep blogging about what I love, but it does warm my heart to see the traffic picking up over time. I’ve worked really hard to get it where it is right now, and it’s been a long, sometimes frustrating road for me. 

  22. Wouldn’t the raw webserver (apache) logs be pretty close to 100% accurate? My ISP offers up different web based reports that parse these logs. You’d be surprised just how off Google Analytics can be.

    I tend to treat Google A as a thermometer that’s accurate within +/- 15 degrees. I know when it’s hot and when it’s cold.

    • Jeff, that’s exactly how I use it, and when paired with the other stats trackers, the 15 +/- is pretty much dead-on. Thanks for your comment!

  23. “A” is for awesome. I can’t believe how much you have progressed in your writing career and hope that you continue on with your awesome work. :-)

  24. Hi Amberr, this is a great starting point for getting serious about blogging.  I went to Google Analytics and learned that in order to track my websites, I need to install some code on each page I want to track and analyze.  For some reason I thought that this information was already “out there” and I could just access it by typing in any URL.  Thanks for getting me started down this road of data mining.  You handed me a shovel and now it’s up to me to start digging.
    BTW, I just figured out how to subscribe to your blog.  New posts show up at the top of My Yahoo! homepage (the default page when I open my browser).  Is that what is known as an RSS feed?

    • Philip, Bingo! That is the RSS feed, and you now see it through your Google feeder. Yay!! 

      I’m glad I could get you started down the road of data mining–now you’ll be lost forever. Muahaha. I kid, I kid. :-)

  25. Afternoon! I’ve used Google Analytics, before, with a company I work for. If you know how to use it, it’s immeasurably useful. I recently started using it for my blog. While I know what each function does, it’s a different matter, altogether, to consider what to do with the information, lol. I love using it, however, and it’s interesting to analyze the data against posts and topics and to see where the readers are going and what they really want.

    • Fiona, for some people Google  Analytics might provide too much information. It’s geared for those who are trying to keep up with more sophisticated marketing measurements, because there are so many functions! I kinda just keep up with the basics–traffic, where they come from, demographics, are they new or returning..that type of stuff. Great comment!

  26. Started up with Google Analytics when we began blogging. I am very interested in checking out the Jetpack plugin. Thanks! Ellen

    • Awesome, Ellen, let me know how you like Jetpack. It’s very easy to download, but it does have a tendency to slow some things down, according to my other pal on here.

  27. QUESTION! My friend on WP wants to know how many subscribers she has. I told her about FeedBurner but that doesn’t work for WP. Got any advice? I’m going to share this post with her!

    • Tell her to install the Jetpack Plugin, Lisa, and then she can see the WP site stats. 

  28. My blog is through blogger.  There is a category in my layout called “stats.”  Is this the Google analytics you are referring to?  If not, how to I get GA?

Your thoughtful comments are love to me. Thank you!

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I’m an Atlanta, GA Social Media Manager, blogger, writer, and brand ambassador. My passions are books, travel, social media, blogging, and creativity. My hobbies are product reviews and photography. I'm a deep thinker, dreamer, lover, and compassionate soul. Expect humor and occasional sarcasm. Welcome!

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