sly : marketing

The Only Two Google Analytics Stats You Need

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 creativeย 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.

That’s the:

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 focusedย 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 areย and the reason why I keep building relationships with like-minded people.



20 responses to “The Only Two Google Analytics Stats You Need”

  1. Lisa Buben says:

    Jens, I’ve focused less on all the analytical’s of Google as they grew and become more clunky to use.I have a plugin on site that tells me traffic and occasionally now I check webmaster tools for more info and analytics but not daily as I once had. It takes away our creativity! Great post Jens.

    • Hi Lisa,

      That’s interesting. Please share the name of the plugin you’re using.

      I don’t check Webmaster Tools as often as I should. I have had some major problems with my blog, and I believe they could have been avoided if I had been checking Webmaster Tools on a regular basis, now it’s been like once a year or so.

  2. Hi Jens,

    I can SO well relate to all that you said because it’s something I was doing sometime back too ๐Ÿ™‚

    Yes, those stats or counts can get you obsessed, though I was usually checking it once daily when I used to log in to my dashboard for commenting, and that too because I have Jetpack – one part of it…lite version I think, and that shows up right way when I login. It’s not actually an obsession or else I’d be checking many times a day…lol…never done that, but now ones passed over that stage I guess.

    Yes, Google is too huge and SEO isn’t something any of us can bank on for ranking as it’s forever changing. But Webmaster’s and Google Analytic are places I check off and on to see and know more about my traffic source, and general know how so that I know what direction to take my blog. Any errors show up there and you can take timely action before it’s too late, and I think any change for the better is good and should be adopted, isn’t it?

    However, if you were to reduce all of such things and even do less of social networking and sharing of your posts, here, there, and all over, you could really be so much more creative and productive. I think that’s a wonderful feeling, something I plan experimenting on very soon as I carry on the little experiment on my blog with the various commenting systems I am trying.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I haven’t tested Jetpack, is that something your still using? Like you said, I’m focusing much more on being productive and creative. That’s part of why I am not checking my stats more, and why I am not using all the advanced reports in Google Analytics.

      I have discovered that for me, not selling any products online, I don’t need that much information about my readers. I need to know that they are satisfied with my content and that my blog is working, that’s about it. And, then there’s high quality content and relationships.

      • I was using it earlier to the present WordPress default commenting system. But I didn’t carry on with it because there was no way to enable a reply me kind of option (so that the commenter’s notified when and if the blog owner or anyone else replies to their comments), and that additional plugin you can add to the WP commenting system – so the switch.

        I agree with you there, if you just focus on writing, you can do wonders, and that’s where the real writer in you comes out. Being a blogger it becomes tough because you have so many additional things to do – the worst being promotion.

        You are right there, it’s the relationships that matter and if your stuff is good, people will come either ways. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • The reply me is important, that’s how we continue the conversation on our blog and I don’t think I could use a commenting system without it.

          It’s too early to say, but I have a feeling that things are getting better for me and that I can focus more on creating content now.

        • Harleena, I’m so glad you switched away from JetPack comments so I can now get notices when you reply to my comments!

          • So sorry for the trouble you had to go through, Carolyn. But unless I’d tried it, I wouldn’t be able to write about it, which I plan doing very soon. Yes, I put tried the reply me plugin with the default system and then added CommentLuv reply me (just this option) – again, till I try and test things out ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I like Quill Engage emails that take my Google Analytics and break it down into a scanable reports that are super easy to understand and process. I’ll tweet you the link Jens.

  4. The JackB says:

    Time on site is under utilized by people as a valuable metric. It goes a long way to helping people understand how engaged the readers are.

  5. Hi Jens,

    I mostly use JetPack stats, though they report very low compared to other stats. I use JetPack stats with a Chrome extension that shows me in a badge how many visits I’ve had so far for the day. Just a glance and I know whether I’m getting good traffic that day.

    My Bounce Rate is pretty good and time on the articles is pretty good too. But when I get a huge amount of traffic on an article, I want to know right away without having to check constantly on my stats.

    I appreciate this, Jens. With all of the information on GA, it’s hard to know what to focus on. I always like seeing what’s important to people.

    • Hi Carolyn,

      I really enjoy analyzing all the numbers, but it’s not a good way to spend my time like that. I need to focus more on creating content, and I remember all too well what my focus was when I was “obsessed” with stats. It was hard to start doing anything really, I was just thinking about tiny details on my blog and how to improve conversion rate and test if changing the color or the font would make them stay longer etc.. That’s important as well, but that’s not how I can spend my time at the moment.

      • You got me looking at stats more deeply, Jens. I know the purpose of the article was to get me to look at stats less, but hey, it backfired on me. :-p

        What I found was pretty interesting. I looked not only at the articles that had the best bounce rates and time spent on articles but then I went to the audience that had the best.

        You know what I found? Triberr readers had the best bounce rate and most time spent on articles. I do believe they are an especially intelligent and engaged audience.

        If you’re trying to sell something they may not turn into customers, but they are super about sharing.

        Your tribemates might just be your most valuable audience, Jens! I would be interested to learn whether these stats are true for Sly Marketing as well as for The Wonder of Tech.

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