Analytics and analysing numbers used to be how I spent most of my time. I was so interested; I should probably use a different word than interested, it felt more like I was obsessed by numbers. The first thing I did, when I woke up in the morning, was to check the stats on my website. It didn’t take a lot of my time each morning, but it felt like I just had to take a short look at how many people had visited my website while I was sleeping.
It was a weird thought. It wasn’t right. I had fun doing it, and I compared the stats to the different day of the week, and I compared the different weeks and the different months. I started discovering what type of content attracted most people. I focused on the methods to drive more traffic to my blog. It all made sense, even though it felt like I was becoming a lone nut, obsessing over data.
Things have changed
I am not sure what happened, why I made the sudden move. I was thinking about what I was doing for a long time, without really doing anything about it. I was having fun, and it was working. I was receiving more traffic on a daily basis. I know something happened to me when I experienced problems with my blog. I am talking about serious problems. First, my blog was offline all the time. It was giving me a hard time. I was spending most of my time trying to figure out the technical difficulties. I was hardly writing anything all week. And then, I got hit by Google, with a manual spam action.
Again, I’m not sure what happened, if it was all the trouble I was experiencing, or if I just started to think that all the analysing and obsessing over statistics was taking too much time or that I was thinking too much about it, or what the reason behind my switch really was, but now things are very different.
I hardly check my stats. Don’t get me wrong, I am still interested in knowing how many people are visiting my blog on a daily basis, and I am really interested in their behaviour after they arrive at my blog and I’m enjoy reading reports about where they are coming from; how they’re finding my blog. But, I hardly ever check my stats.
I’m not saying that what I’m doing now is much better than what I used to be doing. But, it feels a lot better. I’m focused on writing and creating content, and I feel more creative and I have more energy. There are only two statistics in Google Analytics I’m checking on a fairly regular basis – once a month or so.
- bounce rate, and
- time on site
What I really want to know is how many people (readers) are leaving my blog after just reading one article. I want as many people as possible to stay on my site for a very long time, and to keep reading articles. That’s it. That’s all I really check and try to improve in Google Analytics.
Why do I only need two statistics?
I believe that I need to stay creative and focused on creating high quality content, and my blog is my virtual home. This is where I tell people to visit. It’s like I’m opening the door for you, letting you in and showing you around and then, we’re at the table talking. I’m telling you stories about my experiences, and hopefully you find them interesting and you don’t want to leave until late at night.
You find me interesting, not just one article. It’s the first time you visit. I’m telling myself, I need to keep improving my blog so that you, even though you don’t know anything about me, you want to come back and read more. If you’re in a hurry, that first time, you can subscribe to my newsletter, and I’ll send you an email with my best content. Or, I’ll add links in the sidebar to my latest articles and inside the content to relevant articles. This helps the reader to understand what I’m writing about, and even though it might be your first time here, you’ll be intrigued to visit more pages and read some of my other articles.
I know Google is a complex search engine, and that the algorithm changes (constantly). But one thing that’ll never change is the fact that the users are all people, and what Google (and all the other search engines) are doing is to help people find the best results for what they’re looking for. If most people who visit your blog really enjoys your blog, and they keep reading several articles every time they visit, and they’re staying for a long time, Google will know and it’ll understand that you’re popular and it will eventually give you the gift of a better ranking. It’s more complex than this, but hopefully you get my point.
It’s hard to stay on top of SEO. It takes a lot of time, and sometimes, like I wrote at the beginning of this article, it can feel that you get obsessed by numbers. I switched focus to people and that’s why I have written a lot about how important comments are and the reason why I keep building relationships with like-minded people.