One of the Best Things You Can Do for Online Growth (& a System to Help!)
Yesterday, was officially my first full day back and the very first thing I did was track my marketing and website growth, otherwise known as my stats (statistics).
OK, that's not totally true, the first thing I did was answer emails and plan my day. But I'm trying to be more intentional with my days as I head into 2019 - so numbers was the first *real* work I did when I sat down at my desk (and not the couch - also trying to switch things up with how I work too!).
Tracking numbers which have nothing to do with cash is one of the last things most people want to do in their business. However, I’m on a mission to get you to track your stats and website traffic at least once a month. Because there’s gold in them tharrrr numbers!
I started tracking my data over a decade ago on MySpace (Yes, MYSPACE!) and then on my old blog. I have no idea why those numbers spoke to me - they were essentially another language to me.
But what I do know is that those numbers blew my mind! Watching them inch up day after day, week after week every time I posted something was fascinating to me. And! I realized that those numbers directly correlated with my output - the more content I created, the more those numbers started to inch up. The less I posted, the less they grew.
I was hooked!
And here I am today 15 years later and I know that tracking this data is one of the best things I can do to help inform my decision making, support my gut feelings, and forecast trends before I see them.
And they can do that for you too.
Why You Should Track Every Month
In my experience, most people don’t want to look at numbers because they’re worried they won’t move. But the reality is if you don’t look at these numbers when you’re first growing your business online or if you’ve been online forever you’ll never know what’s working - essentially leaving you in the dark.
Tracking your website traffic, list growth, and social media followers every month allows you the opportunity to see a lot, believe it or not.
Here are some of what tracking your stats can do for you:
It shows you how much your audience has grown over a period of time - no more looking every single day and driving yourself crazy.
It tells you what content your audience engages with, as well as alerts you to what content is doing well (and what isn't) - when you have spikes in your traffic, that means content is getting attention!
It spells out the hard work you’re doing in numbers - I don’t know about you but I have a really hard time remembering numbers from months and months ago, being able to look over my numbers month over month shows me if there’s actual growth or not.
Dictates what social media sites your content does best on - your website traffic tells you exactly what social sites are sending traffic back to your site! This is key to learning what sites are working for you.
There’s much more you can learn when tracking your stats depending on how deep you go. But that’s one of the best things about tracking your growth: you can decide what you should pay attention to!
What to Measure
As I mentioned above, getting started on what you track is up to you. I recommend focusing on social media growth and website traffic in the beginning. It's customary to track previous growth and traffic at the beginning of each month just so you have a good bench march each month (the previous month’s info). Set a reminder in your calendar to track your stats on the first of every month, that way you’ll remember to do it.
For tracking follower growth on social media, simply write down your follower count from each social account. This is the easier basic part.
Now comes the more detailed part; website traffic in Google Analytics (GA).
This is the mother load of analytics and something everyone should be checking each month. Website platforms like Wordpress, Square Space, and Shopify all offer ways to track Google Analytics (or offer their own data to use) which you can use instead of GA. (These platforms offer easier to parse and straightforward info.)
Google Analytics can be a bit overwhelming and offers a ton of info, but it can give you a ton of detailed info if you know how to read the data. There are specific areas you can check monthly without being overwhelmed.
These areas tell you exactly what social media and blogging is doing for your business.
If you're new to Google Analytics I would suggest starting with this blog post first so you get an understanding of how to locate your social media traffic.
What to track in Google Analytics
Here's what you should be tracking in Google Analytics each month:
In Google Analytics on the left hand sidebar click on:
Audience » Overview
Users: Visitors that have visited your website more than once in the past 30 days
New Users: New users to your website - visiting only once in the past 30 days
Sessions: Is a nice way of saying “visits,” Google describes sessions as “a group of interactions that take place on your website within a given time frame.”
Number of Sessions per User: exactly what it says
Pageviews: Total number of pages viewed
Pages/Sessions: Average number of pages viewed during a session
Average Session Duration: average amount of time a user (visitor) spends on your site
Bounce Rate: Percentage of sessions in which a user has left your site after interacting with only one page
To get a deeper dive into what each of these terms mean and what they tell you about your traffic head on over to this blog post.
Acquisition » All Traffic » Channels
Organic Search: Traffic that came to your website through Google and other search engines
Direct: Traffic that came to your website directly through your URL (entering it manually in a browser, or having it saved in their bookmarks, etc)
Social - Traffic that comes to your website through links on social media (Also see below)
Referral - Traffic that is directing traffic to your website from other websites. This is a great way to find out who has mentioned you on their blog or written about your products that you may not know about.
Acquisition » All Traffic » Channels » Social Sessions
Here you'll track all of the traffic from social media platforms. As I have mentioned a few times, read this blog post to get a better understanding of how to track social media traffic each month.
Pro-Tip: if you haven't been tracking Google Analytics, no problem! GA allows you to change dates to look at specific time periods! Use my tracker below to track all of your stats since January!
Make it easy for yourself: The OMG Tracking Kit
Getting started on this can be a bit overwhelming. And because of this, I created a system to help you make it super easy and doable.
It's called The Online Marketing Growth Kit or The OMG Kit for short (lol).
It's the exact same system I use and give my clients, but it comes with a whole lot of info and education to help you fully understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
I wanted to create something that didn’t make more work for you, but instead gave you insight.
Here's what it offers:
✔️ Beautiful spreadsheets in Google Drive to track your social media, newsletter, and website growth! Watch those pretty graphs grow!
✔️ 2018 and 2019 spreadsheets - so if you weren't tracking in 2018, you can fix that today! And they spit out percentages so you can see at a glance what's going on!
✔️ Tips and education so you know what to expect with growth each month. Hint: I tell you the percentages you should be shooting for!
✔️ Videos walking you through how to use the spreadsheets. Bite size workshops!
✔️ A previously recorded workshop showing you how to look at website traffic and marketing growth to make informed decisions.
✔️ An ebook walking you through how to use Google Analytics to study your marketing growth.
This process will save you time and offer you intel you wouldn't have otherwise. And the best part? You plug in a few numbers each month and you're done!
Here's what others have said:
"I love this course and the spreadsheets! It helped me to finally understand what I was looking at in Google Analytics! I could finally "see" what was happening. It inspired me to take my accounting off paper ledgers and into an online area that creates charts. That has been so good for me too!" - Tammy T.
Loooove this tracker! The spreadsheets are so good and it’s given me real data to back up hunches I’ve had so I can now confidently act on them! 😘✨" Jen B.
Don't wait another year to start tracking. Tracking your data will give you the evidence you need to support your marketing decisions. Doing this one small thing every month will help boost your morale and offer you support!