Friday, May 28, 2010

Day Eleven: Counting Your Chickens

Well, now that you have your blog up and running, it's essential to ensure that you are attracting and expanding your target audience. Fortunately, there are some very handy tools to help you monitor your progress.

Bravenet and Google Analytics are just two of the possible counters, for lack of a better term, which enable dopes, doyennes, and everyone in between to track their traffic. Happily, both services are free of charge.

You need to know who is visiting, how they found you and what they were looking for. Both Google Analytics and Bravenet provide you an incredibly sophisticated perspective on website usage and, if you map trends, help you to orient the site to attract the right people.

Here's a brief, simplified, and by no means complete summary of the data you can access:

Visits--not particularly useful; 100 visits could be 100 people visiting once or 1 person viewing site 100 times.

Unique Visitors--this is the metric that matters--a visitor that has not visited your website today.

Page Views--total number of time page reloads–-could be that one person--your mom, your secretary, or your stalker. Also could be an ever increasing fan base.

Page Views Per Visit.

Bounce Rate--how many people make it to your home page and then go away immediately. Experts say if you are getting 35% then you’re doing really well; 50% is average. Like your golf score and your weight, lower is generally better. Although, if they depart quickly it may mean that the visitor found what he needed on the home page, such as address or opening hours.

Exit Page.

Traffic Sources--where your visitors are coming from--is it other sites, search engines, etc.

Future topic: what to do with these numbers once you crunch them. Meanwhile, have a lovely holiday weekend; we intend to take a break from blogging and hit the beach.

Posted by: Keri

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