You’ve been blogging for months now. You’re developing great content on a regular and consistent basis. You’re building your community by actively leaving comments on other sites, and some of those people are coming back and leaving comments on your site. You want to grow your blog, but what’s the next step? Tracking and quantifying your site.
First, a disclaimer– don’t become fixated on numbers. Once you’ve got tracking software in place, it’s SO easy to become fixated on numbers. Check your numbers once a week while you’re growing: any more than that and you’ll focus too much on numbers and not enough on your site.
- Feedburner / BlogLovin’ / RSS sites. You want to make it as easy as possible for readers to regularly read your content. Two ways to keep track them are through Feedburner, which aggregates RSS feeds, like Google, Bloglines, Yahoo, so you can keep track of them in 1 place, and Bloglovin’, a third party site where you can reader all of your favorite blogs at once.
Both sites offer you the ability to see how many subscribers you have and offer some statistics– though I find Feedburner offers more statistics, in addition to email subscription options!
- Google Analytics is probably one of the most popular and commonly used statistics sites. Google, as a whole, offers a really comprehensive platform for bloggers– from Blogspot and Feedburner to Picassa and Google Webmaster, Google Analytics and Google Affiliates– you can really do it all through them alone (though I find it better to mix and match for my own needs!).
It’s important to make sure you’ve installed in properly. For years I had issues with Google Analytics not registering my data correctly– it was because of this that I found alternative sites to use (which you’ll see below).
- Quantcast is one that I tend to check monthly– to get a quick overview and detailed information on my demographics and what percentage of my traffic is global vs. national. When putting together a media kit, the demographic information that Quantcast can provide is fantastic– from income brackets to age brackets and educational levels, it’s the information your advertisers are going to want to know.
For my site, I can say that my average viewer is a woman aged 18-34 who is a college graduate, has no kids, and has a household income of $60-100,000 a year.
- Statcounter offers the same core analytical and statistical information that Google Analytics does: pageviews, major keywords & search terms, visitor time on site. It also offers you great tools like IP look up, in-depth “came from” data (where people are visiting you from). I find the layout for Statcounter clearer and more intuitive to use.
I love how detailed links like “Recent Came From,” “Entry Pages,” and “Recent Keyword Activity” are– the information it provides is clear, in-depth, and invaluable.
- Internal Stat Counters: Blogger and WordPress both have plugins that allow you to monitor and track your stats from within your dashboard. This is convenient for day-to-day tracking and to give you a quick glimpse at what’s going on on your site for a particular day.
The best part about all of these options– that they’re free. You can track your pageviews, demographics, keyword searches and more, without spending a dime. BUT it’s all valuable information that’s necessary if you want to make a dime.
I like to use multiples in order to gain a more accurate portrait of my sites traffic– I compare my WordPress stats to Statcounter and Google Analytics monthly, to make sure that I’m providing as close to accurate data as I possibly can.
What sites do you use for measuring your site? Have you found greater preference for one over the other? Do you absolutely hate one site and only use another?