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How Often do You Check Your Analytics?


Posted by on August 27, 2008

Using an analytics tools such as “google analytics” is a great way to understand where your visitors come from and what they do when they visit your site (among other things).  However, I’ve noticed that a lot of folks are obsessed with their analytics, they check it daily or multiple times a day…why?  Analytics is a great way to monitor your site progress and traffic fluctuations but there is just no reason to look at it multiple times a day or even daily, you’re going to drive yourself nuts!

Constant analytics checking can actually be discouraging and disappointing.  Let’s say for example that you took the time to write what you consider to be a great post, you put it up but then notice that nobody is really reading it.  You spent all that time writing a post and nobody cared about it!  Now you are a bit upset and discouraged, well don’t be.

I used to check my analytics all the time and then realized that it was extremely counter productive, I became infatuated with little numbers instead of with the conversations and existing visitors that I already had.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for using analytics and I do think you should check it, but perhaps less frequently.  Try checking your analytics weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly.

Here’s a little trick that I use for myself.  I set up goals for myself in between my analytics checking periods.  For example, I tell myself I won’t check my analytics for 1 month.  During that one month I promise myself that I will be a more active participant on other industry blogs.  Perhaps I promise myself that I will spend more time researching my post topics, writing guest posts, tweaking my tags, changing my site design, etc.  Once I set these goals for myself I don’t check my analytics data until my set time period is up.  So far what I have found is that in that one month period my traffic always goes up.  This is because I spend more time actually improving my blog, instead of freaking about my traffic.

Spending more time focusing on the blog (and the readers) itself, allows me to really concentrate on the things that matter.  I keep my head down and stay in the trenches, every now and then I poke my head out to see how things have changed.  Setting up goals and timeliness have really helped me improve my blog, increase my traffic, and focus more on my community.  I don’t get discouraged anymore, in fact when I see my traffic numbers rise, I get pumped up and excited to keep writing!  For a blogger it can be tough to find motivation to keep writing, especially when you’re traffic isn’t growing, or worse, is declining.

To sum up, using and analytics tool is a great way to monitor your blog and understand where your visitors are coming from and what they are reading.  BUT, give yourself a reason to check your analytics, only check your data when you have spent a good amount of time making improvements.  Use your analytics checking as a reward for the hard work you have done to improve your blog!

how often do you check your analytics?  do you set goals for yourself?

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  • http://www.sharingatwork.com Daniel J. Pritchett

    I check Sitemeter throughout the day to see who's coming in, where they're coming from, how long they're staying, and where they're leaving to.

    Keep in mind that my blog is not quite two months old and I'm still trying to figure out how to make it more useful to others. Since I don't get many comments yet these passively-generated stats are the next best thing.

    I imagine once I cross some threshhold of viewership I'll stop micromanaging and just hit Google Analytics every so often to look for larger trends and blog optimization opportunities.

    It helps that I'm not advertising on my blog – I don't actually need to worry about time on site and conversion as anything other than an indicator of how much interest I'm generating.

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

      hi daniel,

      i used to check my stats often as well, and to be honest it just became a bit stressful because i expected to see certain things that i didn't.

      if you have a new blog then setting up goals is especially important for you. if you set up goals and execute on them you will definitely notice an increase in traffic. it's hard not to check your stats all the time, but it's for the best!

    • http://www.ariwriter.com Ari Herzog

      Daniel, welcome to the blogosphere. The fact you've been writing for two months but commenting on other people's blogs is indicative (to me) that you've done your homework.

      I am sometimes lax on this but I try to read other people's words and comment when inspired 80% of the time and add new content of my own 20%. That's a useful metric you might want to try.

      Additionally, I clicked over to your blog and saw that you have a feed counter showing the number of subscribers. Taking the advice of Dan Schawbel, I'd suggest removing that widget until you have over 150 or so subscribers. This is because, sometimes, people won't subscribe or comment on blogs that have a lower number. Additionally, if you want to follow Jacob's advice (which I agree) to not obsess over analytics, then remove any indicator of such, i.e. feed counter.

      • http://www.sharingatwork.com Daniel J. Pritchett

        Thanks for the helpful feedback Ari. I am conflicted about the widget, some folks say any number of readers helps and others say it doesn't. I think taking it down just so I can focus on what's going on is probably a solid idea especially at this point in my development.

        When you say 80% reading 20% new content do you mean 4 out of 5 of your posts are “reblogging” others' content with your comments added or did you mean you spend four times as many hours reading as you spend writing?

        • http://www.ariwriter.com Ari Herzog

          By 80-20, I refer to the larger percentage devoted to marketing your brand, i.e. your name, on places where you think other people might appreciate your comments and click your name to get to your blog or Twitter feed or what have you.

          Take this time, measured by whatever metric you want, to listen and learn from others. Comment on their blogs when applicable.

          Link your name with your portal to all things you, e.g. your blog, your Twitter feed, your Facebook profile, whichever. By the law of social proof, if enough people see your name in enough places relevant to them, they will click over to you and see what you have to say and comment when they feel it is applicable.

          Maybe it's not 80-20. Maybe its 70-30 or 50-50 or 20-80. Point is make the web community about “us” and not so much about “me” or “you.” Make sense?

  • http://www.interleado.com Peter Cullen

    Checking your stats daily is really going to give you a headache.

    We develop software that lets you check you rankings (amongst other things) once a month, but some people still insist that athey need daily updates to their rankings!

    I've just joined the Search Marketing Salon on LinkedIn, think I'll request a connection also.

    Starting new companies is tough at the moment with the global cedit crunch impacting everybody.

    Good luck with the new company.

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

      hi peter, just accepted your linkedin invitation, glad we could connect. thanks for reading and commenting!

  • http://www.interleado.com Peter Cullen

    Checking your stats daily is really going to give you a headache.

    We develop software that lets you check you rankings (amongst other things) once a month, but some people still insist that athey need daily updates to their rankings!

    I've just joined the Search Marketing Salon on LinkedIn, think I'll request a connection also.

    Starting new companies is tough at the moment with the global cedit crunch impacting everybody.

    Good luck with the new company.

  • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

    hi peter, just accepted your linkedin invitation, glad we could connect. thanks for reading and commenting!

  • http://thebestfreedatingsite.com/ Daniel Lumb

    I totally agree with getting so obsessive over analytics. The larger picture and quality content is far more important than getting caught up in tiny traffic fluctuations.