Archive for August, 2012

First of all welcome to the new blog.  I am hoping that some of my readership that is more focused on the wild and sometimes scary world of online sourcing and talent acquisition will follow me over to this new Tumblr blog.  Yes I have loved being on WordPress but I like the Tumblr platform because it allows you to build your audience in an organic way and has some real customizable features….but as always you have to be able to measure your audience and that is what this entire post is about.  And if I am being honest I also have a lot of people who have asked me to give them a quick tutorial on Google Analytics so I can now point them to this article win/win.

So let’s start at the beginning…because it’s a very good place to start (isn’t that a song?).  Anywho, what we need to ask ourselves is what kind of metrics will we measure for the success of our blog which goes back to some original questions that we should be asking ourselves such as:

  1. What is the purpose of the Blog, is it to just create readership, is it to brand, or is it to convert potential customers to one of your services, or maybe it’s simply to rant in a safe/secure environment to get things off your chest.
  2. What factors will indicate success when looking at the above needs, is it overall readership, is it time on site, or is it visitor flow?

Tough questions for the blogging initiate to figure out.  There are bloggers out there that would just tell you to get out there and write and find your voice.  I am not in disagreement with those folks if you are simply looking to impart information, however if you fall into the branding/converting category of blogging then you need to have a strategy in place that will bring people to your page in a way that helps you increase business.

My favorite platform by far for ongoing metrics is Google Analytics.  I like them because of the depth of data that they provide but also because they have excellent product development teams that continue to improve the performance of the system and again and again measure new areas that are important to bloggers.

So here without further preamble are all the things you need to know and look at when you are using Google Analytics to measure your blog:

First thing you will find is your Dashboard.  This is going to give you some very high level information about the readership/traffic to your blog.  This is actually traffic being measured from my other personal (and top secret, sorry) blog that went up only two months ago.  Here we will find:

  • Visitors – total people who have visited your blog or alternatively the number of total hits you have because…
  • Unique Visitors – it the actual number of people that have hit the blog to read it.
  • Pageviews – the number of times the visitors have viewed a page within the blog, if this number is higher that’s a good thing because it means that your readers are reading more than one article on the blog.
  • Pages/Visit – this is the average number of page visits per reader.
  • Bounce Rate – people often ask me what this is so basically it’s the percentage of people who leave your site after landing there, most blogs sit in the 70-80% bounce rate so if you are under 70% you are capturing your audience for a longer time and also your Time on Site will likely go up.  For example the SocialHRCamp Hashcaster site has a bounce rate of 45% which is fantastic.
  • % of new visitors is pretty self explanatory, suffice it to say you want to see that number go down to the 50-60% range over time to indicate that you have a core number of loyal readers, however, you never want your blog to stagnate either so don’t shoot for 0% new visitors because then you are not growing

Here is where we look at conversions.  Once you have decided what your points of conversion are on your site then you can measure those.  So in this case we wanted there to be four Goals/Rates that we measured:

  1. Engaged Visitors – defined as people making 2 or more page visits in a single session.
  2. Readers – defined as people staying on the site for more than 2 minutes per visit.
  3. Events – defined as people going to our events section.
  4. BlueBelt – defined as people going to our BlueBelt training pages.

As you can see the overall conversion rate is approx 47.27% which is pretty good except when you look at the fact that only approx 10% of your goal conversions will actually likely become a client, so obviously we would like to see that pushed up to the 60-70% area.  And clearly we need to work on the BlueBelt conversion rates.

Of course we all like to know where are traffic is coming from and who doesn’t love looking at a map to find out.  This is a visual exercise so as you can see most of my readership is North America centered with a good amount throughout Europe, Africa and EurAsia.  South America is representing as well.

This is one of my favorite dashboards as it shows you exactly where your traffic is coming from and which traffic is staying.  Believe it or not the browser preference of the audience says a lot about what kind of people are attracted to your blog.  For instance if you have a primarily corporate audience then you would expect the IE numbers to be much higher, however, if you have a nerdy/geeky audience then you are more likely to attract open source browsers like Chrome and Firefox.  My expectation is that a month from now when I start looking at Stats for this blog we will have more of a Firefox/Chrome audience.

Want to know how your blog is doing from a mobile perspective, given that over 50% of internet traffic is expected to come via a mobile phone by 2013 this might be important to your site.  If you are using a Mobile optimized plugin then it might be a good measure of how well that plugin is working to render your site experience.

This is the coolest new feature of Google Analytics and it’s called the Traffic Flow.  It is a visual representation that can be filtered and sorted by factors such as:

  • Country of visit
  • City
  • Language
  • Subcontinent

Here you can see which actual pages/posts people are landing on when they come to your blog and then where the bounce or drop offs are happening from the blog.  As you can see from our Traffic Flow we get a lot of drop off after initial visits to the blog, however most of the folks that stay do actually convert for us.

Overall it’s just good to know how your sources of traffic are changing over time.  Is your blog easily found in search traffic?  One of the issues with Tumblr is that it isn’t easily indexed by the search engines as it appears to be just one large blog site whereas WordPress has a distinct advantage.

Hope that helps you figure out a bit more about the mysteries of traffic…have a great week and don’t forget, the Source is out there.

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