217 How To Create Tracking System For Your Blogging Business

By Leslie Samuel | Analytics

May 27

Are you tracking the important metrics in your blogging business?

Can you easily tell how well your marketing efforts are performing?

Or are you at a loss when it comes to deciding what you should be tracking and how to do it?

In today’s episode, I’m going to share how you can use tools that are freely available to provide deep analytics that can help you grow your business.

Listen to This Episode

Inside This Episode

In his book, The Greatness Guide: Powerful Secrets for Getting to World Class, Robin S. Sharma made the following statement:

“What gets measured gets improved.”

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How To Create Tracking System For Your Blogging Business

Ever since I read that statement, it has left an imprint in my mind. Why?

For two reasons:

  1. I’ve never really focused on tracking and measurement in my business – not to the level that I’d like.
  2. I know that there’s power in the numbers and that by knowing and understanding the numbers, you can make decisions that can help you grow your business significantly.

Now that I’ve left my job, it’s more important than ever for me to not only run my business, but grow my business. And to do that, I need to track consistently and improve.

Here are the tools I’m using to make that a reality.

Google Analytics

This first one is a no-brainer. Google Analytics is a free service provided by Google that has become the industry standard for tracking your traffic.

Although Google Analytics is free, it is extremely powerful and if you don’t have it installed on your blog, consider this task #1.

 

Google_Analytics

Google Analytics

It shows you how many visitors you’ve had to your site, in addition to a bunch of information about those visitors like how they got there, how long they stayed, what they did while on your blog, and much more.

It allows you to see how well your site is doing in the search engines as well as on Social Media.

In addition to all of that, it gives you the ability to do advanced conversion tracking, where you can see how your traffic results in sign-ups to your email list, product sales, or virtually any aspect of tracking how well your blog is doing.

Chack out my free Google Analytics Dashboard. It's an easy way to simplify Google analytics.

Google Search Console

GoogleSearch_Console

Google Search Console

Google Search Console, formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, is Google’s way of giving you deep insight into how your site is doing in the search engines.

It’s also a place for you to provide Google with information about your site and all its pages so that they can do a better job at ranking your site for relevant keyword search phrases.

One of the things every blogger should do is generate an XML sitemap and submit it to Google Search Console so that they can know what’s on your site. You can create an XML sitemap using the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.

Once you’ve done that, you can go to your search console and see exactly what your site is ranking for and how well it’s ranking for each keyword phrase. Knowing this can help you do a better job with coming up with content that you can more easily rank for. It also gives you the ability to see if there are any problems with your site from the search engine’s perspective.

The Google URL Builder

The Google URL Builder is something that I’ve only recently gotten into heavily. The Google URL Builder is a great way for you to create tracking links for when you’re marketing your content all over the internet.

If you’re posting a link on Social Media and you want to be able to determine exactly how much traffic came to your site from that particular link and what the results were (i.e. email list sign ups, sales, etc.), you can use the Google URL Builder.

Google_Analytics_URL_Builder

Google Analytics URL Builder

Anytime you post links back to your site, it’s a good idea to use a tracking link. When you combine tracking links with Goals in Google Analytics, you have a recipe for success.

If this sounds a little vague, go ahead and listen to the episode for more clarity.

Jetpack Stats

The Jetpack plugin is a plugin that was developed by Automattic (the company behind WordPress.com) that does a lot of things.

One of those things is that it provides you with statistics for your WordPress blog. These statistics are similar (in some ways) to some of the stats that you get in Google Analytics (Visits, traffic source, etc.).

Jetpack

WordPress.com Stats

However, there’s one thing that this does that the Google Analytics platform doesn’t do. It tracks the number of clicks on your site to external sites.

That comes in very handy when you’re trying to see how the links on your site are performing.

Pretty Link

The Pretty Link WordPress plugin is a must-have for anyone who does affiliate marketing. It allows you to create “pretty links” for those long affiliate links that you’ll never remember.

Pretty_Link

Pretty Link WordPress plugin

For example, my affiliate link for Hostgator is http://secure.hostgator.com/~affiliat/cgi-bin/affiliates/clickthru.cgi?id=lrsamuel. Can you imagine me trying to remember that when someone asks me for my link? Instead, I use Pretty Link to make it www.becomeablogger.com/hostgator.

However, pretty link also allows you to track those links. You are able to see how many clicks all of your Pretty Links have, and even split them into special groups. For example, I have a group for all of my affiliate links so that I can go into the group and see how my affiliate campaigns are performing in terms of clicks.

Rescue Time

Rescue Time is a great app that you can install on your computer that sits in the background by tracking your time and provides you with reports on where you’re actually spending your time.

Rescue_Time

Rescue Time

How does this relate to business? Well, if you’re spending a ton of time on Facebook, that’s time that you could be using to spend on actually building your business. When you get that report letting you know that you were only 60% productive this week, you’d be surprised at how much that does to prompt you to change your behavior.

It’s an app that I recommend for all bloggers to install, not because of the direct impact on your business, but because of the impact it has on how you spend your time. And we all know that time is money.

Monitoring Progress

Analytics

Monitor progress

“What gets measured gets improved.” However, that’s only true if you take the time to analyse the data and change your behavior.

I recommend for you to set aside time to analyse your numbers on a regular basis. For you, that might be every week, every other week, or even once/month. This analysis a critical part of the process.

Listen in

All of this is covered in the episode, but don’t just settle for reading it. When you do so, you miss out on all the fun banter. Go ahead and listen in.

What about you?

Are there other services or apps that you use to help you track your business in a way that helps you to grow your business? Go ahead and share them in the comments below.

Resources Mentioned

  • Google Analytics –  free service provided by Google for tracking traffic,  doing advanced conversion tracking, and other means to track of how well your blog is doing.
  • BAB Dashboard – A post I wrote where I included a Become a Blogger Dashboard for free that will help you use your Google Analytics data in a way that is easier to consume and understand.
  • Google Search Console – formerly known as the Google Webmaster Tools. It provides Google with information about your site and all its pages.
  • WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast– helps you generate an XML sitemap and submit it to Google Search Console.
  • Google URL Builder – helps to create tracking links for when you’re marketing your content all over the internet.
  • Jetpack Stats – a WordPress plugin that provides you with statistics for your WordPress blog somewhat like Google Analytics, but this one tracks number of clicks from your site to external sites, as well.
  • Pretty Link – recommended for those using affiliate links. This helps create easy to remember links and allows you to track those links, too.
  • Rescue Time – great tool to measure and track how you spend your time as you work on your computer.

 Infographic

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How To Create Tracking System For Your Blogging Business

 Transcript

Some people just love being able to read along with interviews, or they might just prefer to skip the audio completely and just read through the transcript. Hey, if that’s what floats your boat, it is all good. Here’s the transcript just for you :)

Click here to download transcript.

  • Tom Parker says:

    Hey Leslie,

    Great episode. I love tracking and stats. 🙂

    I find the following products and services incredibly useful when it comes to tracking business stats:

    1. Pinterest Analytics – This gives me a really good overview of the type of content that’s resonating with my Pinterest followers and is great for getting fresh content ideas.

    2. Tailwind App – This gives me lots of additional and useful Pinterest stats which aren’t included in Pinterest Analytics. One of the most useful reports in Tailwind is the ‘Peak Days & Times Report’ which analyses all of my pins, tells me the exact days and times that I’m getting the highest engagement levels and automatically schedules new pins to go out at these times. It’s really helpful for maximizing engagement and clicks on Pinterest.

    3. Zaxaa Reports – Zaxaa is the shopping cart I use and I love their reports. They instantly show me what the lifetime value of my customers is, which traffic sources have the best EPC and so much more.

    By the way, there is a way to track clicks on your site to external sites within Google Analytics. If you go to the ‘Behavior’ panel, then click ‘Site Content’, then ‘All Pages’ and then type ‘outgoing’ in the search box, it will bring back all the clicks to external sites.

    Hope this helps and thanks again for a great episode.

    Tom

    • Interesting. Do you find that Pinterest works well for you niche?

    • Tom Parker says:

      For my fitness site, I’ve found Pinterest works really well. Weight loss and yoga in particular are really popular on there.

      I’ve not tried Pinterest for my PLR site but I’m hoping to get some pinnable content ready for it in the next couple of months.

      I just listened to your latest podcast and heard about Pinterest becoming your number one social referrer. Congratulations on that. Sounds like you’re getting lots of traction with it.

    • Yeah, I’m actually quite surprised that it’s doing so well for me. It’s not a TON of traffic (yet) but I get a few hundred visits per month. I think that’s great because we’ve just been doing it for a few months. We’ll see how it goes over time.

  • BJ Henderson says:

    Thanks for this Leslie. I incorporate some of those into my blog, but didn’t know about the Google URL Builder. It’s a tool I need. I don’t think I do enough tracking with my blog so that’s definitely one I’m going to look into. It’s important to realize the impact tracking can have on your business. It gives you so much information to improve.

  • Ron says:

    I am using Jetpack and WP Stats. I also use Google Analytics. Can you please tell us more about the Google URL Builder and how to use it? Thank you Leslie. 🙂

  • Chioma says:

    SumoMe is also another GREAT tool! And it’s free! I just started using it a couple days ago and I LOVE it!

    • Yep, that’s a good one to get started with, especially since it’s free. I recommend it for people who don’t want to spend money but would like to have a popup.

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