I’ve noticed that bloggers tend to fall into two camps: the obsessed, who want to know everything and constantly monitor analytics for their posts; and the people who don’t really worry about who reads their posts and rarely check analytics. For a while, I was one of those obsessed people who constantly checked analytics, but lately, I’ve been busy, and I’m finding myself falling into a state where I rarely remember to look.
As we approach the end of the year, it’s a good time to take a step back and look at some data to see which of your blog posts have been getting attention and which ones have been mostly ignored. You can do so much more than taking a quick look at your standard analytics package. Here are a few tools and tips to give you a deeper look at whether people are paying attention to your blog posts.
A standard analytics package, like Google Analytics, is a great start, but make sure that you delve deeper than just checking out the simple graph showing how many people visited your blog. Here are a few of the things that I like to look at:
- Traffic sources that show how many people found my blog from various other blogs, web pages or search engines.
- Keywords to see what people were looking for when they landed on my blog.
- Which blog posts got the most visits.
- “In-Page Analytics,” which provides a graphical view of where people are clicking on the page.
Most web analytics track hits by using a snippet of code on your page in order. Feed readers don’t execute those little chunks of code, so you’ll also want to use a feed analytics tool, like Feedburner, for example. This gives you a better idea about how many people read your blog through a feed reader, and you can get access to information like how many people viewed a post in your feed, whether they clicked on any links, etc.
I get a very different picture from the people who read my feed than from those who visit my blog. For example, every couple of weeks, I do a short post on my personal blog with links to blogs posts that I have written elsewhere. These blog posts get almost no web traffic and are rarely posted to Twitter, but they get a lot of views in my feed, and people often click the links to my other blog posts. You might be surprised by how your feed data differs from your other analytics.
PostRank is a nifty little tool that looks at which of your blog posts got the most attention on a wide variety of social networks. You can see how many people posted your content, or commented on it, on Twitter, Google Buzz and dozens of other social media websites. It also gives each of your posts a score between 1 and 10 , which is a great way to see at a glance which of your blog posts were interesting enough for people to want to share them.
There are a few tools that make it easy to see which of your blog posts are getting attention on Twitter. If you shorten your links with a tool like bit.ly that has built-in analytics, you can see how many people clicked on the link and who retweeted it. BackTweets is another great service that searches Twitter for a URL and finds any shortened links to that URL, regardless of who shortened the link and which service they used. This is a great way to see when other people are posting links to your blog posts.
Google Blog Search also has a nifty little feature that lets you see any blogs that link to your blog simply by entering something like this into the search box:
You can look for posts linking to a website, blog post or section within your blog – basically, anything you can define by a URL. You can then sort the results by relevance or date and even filter by certain dates or timeframes, like most Google searches.
What are your favorite tools or tips for taking a deeper look at whether people are paying attention to your blog posts?