Monday, November 9, 2009

Is Google taking over the world? And, why am I okay with that?

The time has come to talk about Google Analytics a bit more. I know it is a big, scary sounding movement, but it is extremely simple to use, free, SO useful, free, easy to use, useful, free and very simple. In other words, there are no cons, all pros about using this wonderful service from Google.

Google Analytics provides you with free custom reports that show you how people land on your blog or website, where they were referred from (like another blog, a direct google search, a link in an e-mail, etc.). It shows you what keywords people are using to find your blog, how many visitors you have, how long your visitors stay on your different posts and where your visitors are in the world. Google Analytics even lets you know the type of internet connections people use to look at your sites.

For example, I know that 8% of my visitors use Google Chrome, 44% use Firefox, etc. I know that 23 people have found my blog by clicking the link on Jennifer J. Bennett's blog and that those people spend an average of 1 minute and 35 seconds on my site. I know that overall the average reader spends 4 minutes and 18 seconds on my blog and that one reader reached my blog by searching about termites on Google. I also know that my contest post has gotten the most reads in the past month but that my post on being a more or a less was read for the longest amount of time.

Though you may feel this information is odd or more than you would ever want to know about your blog, it can be a powerful tool to reach more people and to build more effective content.
  • Knowing what posts attract the most people can give you a clue as to what people might like to see more of
  • Knowing your "high traffic" days tells you when to post valuable information (like you new book's release date)
  • Reports breaking up your website traffic let you know if the same people are visiting your site day after day, or if you are actually reaching new traffic. Knowing this will help you know when to increase efforts to attract new readers.
You can use Analytics to monitor multiple websites and blogs. Go to to sign up. Once you add a site, they will have you copy & paste some code right above the ending body tag (which is "/body" enclosed in <>) into the HTML of your site. In Blogger this can be found by clicking on the "Layout" tab of your blog, then clicking on "Edit HTML" on the top left. Scroll down toward the very end to find the body tag. Simply paste and then save your changes. Within 24 hours you will know all you want to about your blog.

So, are you an Analytics user? What other tools do you use?


  1. I'm curious, and I tried, but it screwed up my layout when I added it.

    It is a useful tool, though, I work for a website and our google analytics data is invaluable.

  2. Great point, can't believe I haven't been using it.

  3. I'm one of the 8% Chrome users -- I'm definitely a huge fan of Google -- they're a monopoly (or approaching it), but they're a philanthropic, socially conscious one (which isn't a huge deal for me, but it's definitely better than the evil empire mentality)... for now.

    PS - I check out analytics about 1/month... interesting stuff, though you can definitely succumb to info overload.

  4. L.T. - that must be a cool job. I know I'm jealous.

    Wes- Tacitly observed.

    Bane- I love how they are socially conscious and generally awesome to work for. They have so many amazing features (example: Google Apps); I agree with the overload bit as well though.

    Marsha- Me too. I use as much of their stuff as possible.

  5. Bless you my child!! I've never figured out the HTML thingie (yeah, I'm pc challenged) and you put it quite simply, I can't wait to go try it out. I had feedburner, no clue how to use it. LOL

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom :0)

  6. An insightful post Regina! I haven't used Analytics. It sounds like a valuable research engine.

    Thanks for the link.

  7. Indeed. Miss Jilly Sinclaire and Mister Sheets thank you.

  8. I love Analytics! I check it every night. I love to see what searches brought peeps to my blog and what cities they are visiting from. Yes, I am a little addicted!

  9. I tried to use these feature before, and I messed everything up like L.T. said. I might have to give it another try.

  10. Is this limited to only blogs, or does it work for a web site's traffic too? Looks like a lot of great information to incorporate into our internet sites.

  11. Joanne- it works for websites in the very same way. Just paste your code above the ending body tag and you are good to go. It will usually start feeding you data after about 24 hours.

  12. Susan- It might not hurt to try it again like you said. Sometimes it is harder to find the right spot with customized blogs but it should work the same. They've developed new code recently so it may work better with your site.

    Amber- I'm growing to be more and more addicted. My favorite Google thing is Google Apps. It is as easy and wonderful as pie.

    Kristi- I hope it works for you. Feedburner is another of those tricky ones. I started using it way late. so far I have one subscriber with it.