Are You Getting The Most Out Of Pages On Your Blog?

Image of What was I thinkingHow you write your posts and its content is really important! But so are the pages on your blog!  Did you realise that visits to your pages can be higher than your posts?

But when was the last time you audited your pages and made improvements?  Especially your ‘About Page’ since this is where new readers find out more about you, your blog and decide whether to subscribe to your blog.

Conducting Page Audits

The key with any page on your blog is to focus on:

  1. Is the page relevant/useful for readers? – if not remove or improve!
  2. Is the page title meaningful to readers?
  3. Is it engaging and provide sufficient information to be of value to your reader?
  4. The best location for the page link – Should it be at the top of the blog or a link in the sidebar?

One option for auditing pages is to use Google Analytics data to help guide improvements.Here is how I’ve done this on my blogs, The Edublogger and this blog.

Below is comparison of the rank of each page in terms of top content viewed on each blog, by pageviews, for the last 6 months:

Image of page rank table

My conclusions are:

  1. Readers priorities are helpful tips and resources on The Edublogger – not surprising
  2. My ‘Blogs I read’ page receives the most pageviews on my personal blog – surprising given the link to the page is in the sidebar only
  3. Checking out my ‘About page’ and ‘Other Sites’ are a high priority for readers of my personal blog
  4. My page ‘Want automatic notification?‘ which explains to readers how to subscribe to my blog has poor pageviews on both blogs

Improvements made are:

  1. Updated both ‘About pages’
  2. Updated ‘My Other Sites
  3. ‘Want automatic notification’ page obviously not working probably because new readers don’t understand its relevance.  This has been renamed ‘Info for First Time Visitors’ and includes more helpful tips
  4. Have added a Contact page to my personal blog

Another option for auditing pages (better option) is to get readers to review your pages and provide feedback.

Image of page audit pleadIf you have time would love feedback on my different pages, especially My Other Sites and Edublogs Help Info!, in terms of is the information relevant, meaningful, engaging – what improvements would you recommend?

FINAL THOUGHTS

Here are resources to help you work with pages and Google Analytics:

  1. Differences Between Blog Pages and Posts
  2. Have You Set Up Your About Page?
  3. Changing Your Display Name and Setting up your Comment Avatar – makes it easier for readers to write more personal comments
  4. Setting Up Google Analytics on Your Blog
  5. The Basics of Using Google Analytics

This was part of the Day 5 Task for Building a Better Blog.  If you would like to join us in Building a Better Blog – there is plenty of time.  Start whenever and do it at your own pace!

Image by Twenty Questions licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike!

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Can You Use Aids To Help Conversations?

Oh I just love it when someone shows me a cool tricks that makes life easier (and interesting)!

So I’m very pleased Christy Tucker showed me how to do a Quick and Dirty Comment Analysis using aidRSS. More importantly aidRSS is actually designed to help people like Ann, Confessions of an Oversubscribed Reader, find the “best posts” from blog feeds to reduce information overload.

What is aidRSS

AidRSS monitors a blog feed by creating PostRank™ for the posts based on the amount of conversation generated (combination of number of comments, del.icio.us links, tweets, Diggs and Google trackbacks). The higher the PostRank score the better the post is considered in terms of conversation.

PostRank score is used to sort the posts into Good Posts, Great Posts, Best Posts and Top 20 Posts. The idea is you make your RSS subscription manageable by subscribing to the AidRSS feed for the “best posts” from a feed (e.g you may choose to limit your subscription to the “Great Posts only”).

Example of AidRSS conversations

Using AidRSS to Analyse Your Posts

Image on the right shows the different ways aidRSS analyzes a conversation.

As Christy Tucker points out initially your blog’s analysis is limited to recent activity whereas she has used previously so results display back to July, 2007.

Here is the analysis for All My Posts for my Mobile Technology in TAFE blog:

Image of All Posts Analysis

Compared to Good Posts:

Image of Good Posts

And Great Posts

Image of Great Posts

Finally Top 20 Posts

Image of Top 20

When aidRSS Top 20 Ranked posts are compared to Google Analytics data for Top Content (shown as GA Rank for 1 Dec, 2007 to present) you get a slightly different picture of your top posts:

Image of Google Analytics comparision

My thoughts are:

  • Google Analytics is good for showing how visitors to your web page interact with your content — as it provides information on the number of people who visit your web site.
  • AidRSS provides a different view from Google Analytics by showing readers responses to your content
  • Feedburner is important for knowing how many people are subscribing to your blog

What I’ve found interesting (but not necessarily surprising), especially when I analyzed The Edublogger, were some posts were popular in terms of bookmarking but not generating comments. For example, How I Use RSS To Make My Life Easier was bookmarked 16 times in del.icio.us but only received 7 comments. Why? Because it was mainly sharing information. Whereas my Share Your Blogging Experience & Tips For Participants of Open PD post generated comments, with thought provoking conversations, because it contained very little information and instead asked readers to share their experiences.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Plenty of food for thought for me and thanks Christy for the cool tip! Meanwhile I going to say Comment Challenge Day 18: Analyze the Comments on Your Own Blog can be ticked off 🙂 .

What are your thoughts on AidRSS? Are there any other similar type tools that I should check out?

And if you’re enjoying this blog, please consider Subscribing for free!

Why Didn’t I install Google Analytics Sooner?

There is one very simple reason why I have taken so long to install better statistics on my blog – working out what to do when you first start blogging can be overwhelming!

When I first set up this blog, I did google the topic which gave me lots of articles on all the different options I could use; including the advantages and disadvantages of each. But it was too much information. I just wanted to be shown – what to do, why to do and how to do it!

So I went with Sitemeter – which has been okay for my wiki but hopeless for my blog because it only provides me statistics on number of visitors and no other details (my blog does not support the javascript required to track important information like referring sites, pages viewed).

Thankfully, Darren (Problogger) rescued me by making me dig into my blog’s statistics this week for Day 11 task for 31 Days to Build a Better Blog – and I have now installed Google Analytics. It does have lots of features that are initially overwhelming – so here is my quick guide to help you understand why you should use Google Analytics and how can use it to get information which will help you be more effective!

WARNING – Google Analytics does provide much better statistics but it does takes 24 hours to display the statistics – so if I want to know what is happening on my site today I have to wait until tomorrow to check. Sitemeter displays the statistics in real time – if I have a sudden surge in traffic I know about it immediately.

Selecting a Date Range

This lets you see an overview of what has been happening at your site over a period of time, and you can compare it with a previous date range.

GAnal1

Digging Deeper into Your Statistics

Google Analytics has so many options for you to look at – and different bloggers will be interested in different statistics depending of what they need to learn from their statistics.

Take the time to check out each option – and drill down into specifics (e.g. referring sites, top content) – to start to get a feel for what it all means to you.

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When you look into each option in more specific detail e.g. Traffic Source > Referring Sites you will be provided with greater detail. Make sure when you do this to keep an eye on Bounce rate (The percentage of single-page visits i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page. The lower the percentage the better – as it means they are reading more of your content!)

GAnal3

Make sure you view your data in different views – because you will learn different information from each view!!! The option to change views is located about Bounce Rate.

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When you change to different views look out for the drop down boxes as they let you change the data type you are analysing!

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Check out referring sites!

How visitors locates my sites is important because it tells me how much traffic is coming from this source, how interested visitors being referred from these sites are interested in the topics I write on and occasionally I also learn great information from the referring site.

At the moment – twitter is my highest referring source – which is of no surprise to me as I believe twitter is moving blogging to a new phase!

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If I do not recognise the referring article I will often go and check it out.

The following image shows how an article on Google Reader Blog is linking to my site – it was automatically inserted in their article because I linked to this article when I complained about SlideShares being removed in Google Reader. And people are actually following this link to my site ROFL.

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Check out Top Content

Remember to keep an eye on Top content – it will tell you what people like to read and what may be attracting them to your site. Interestingly enough my post on UMPCs has the highest traffic – probably because it is one of the first in depth posts written on their use in education.

GETTING MORE OUT OF GOOGLE ANALYTICS

There is no way I can cover all the great information you can gain from using Google Analytics – there is just too much (apologies for the long post!). But I do recommend you watch Beth‘s video on Using Google Analytics! – she has some great tips (thanks to Michele for putting me onto this!).