Tag Archives: Analytics

10 Things I Learned In 2011

This was quite an intriguing year for me. There were some changes I made, some changes I will be making, some things I won’t be changing, some things I wrote about here that worked and some that didn’t. In essence, it was an incredible year, and unfortunately I can’t say it was all good or bad. But it was honest, and on this Christmas day I’d like to share some thoughts, feelings, and ideas with you to see what you think, what you’ll do as well, and what you think might just be nuts.


by Don O’Brien via Flickr

1. I learned that I am better live than on video. This was the year of video for me as I got my first camera and made my first 11 videos ever. I even learned that I had a YouTube channel that I knew nothing about. I gave 3 live presentations this year and got better feedback from all of those than I did for at least 9 of my 11 videos, but that’s okay. Live I get to move around and laugh with people; on video, I have to sit at my desk and just talk. Yes, I’ll be making more videos this year as I endeavor to get better and to just create more content; think about subscribing to my page, although I expect I’ll be embedding those videos on my blogs as well. Oh yeah, a major lesson; if you’re making videos to drive people to your website or blog be sure to tell them what the link is; ugh!

2. You never know what’s going to catch on with people or how it’ll manifest itself. Would it surprise anyone that the top 5 visited posts of mine in 2011 were written before 2011? Well, that’s not totally true; post #5 was written this year, which is pretty cool. My number one post is that tongue in cheek post about “cleavage” that I wrote in January 2010, and it’s so far ahead of all the other posts that I’ve decided it’s time to remove it from being viewed anymore.

You might ask why, or maybe you don’t care, but I’ll tell you why. It’s been viewed 4 times more than the next closest post, and that’s just ridiculous. At the same time, I think it throws off anything else this blog might be about. The number one search term for this blog is “cleavage” with “cleavages” coming in at #8; I didn’t even know that was a word. So it’s gone. I expect my traffic to drop a bunch over the next few months but as my friend John Dilbeck recently wrote, it’s about ethics and integrity sometimes.

3. That post at #5 that I mentioned above proves that there’s not only a lack of attention for some groups of people in social media, but that some people are ready and willing to help make inclusion of others a part of their mission. That of course was my post on 21 of the top Black Social Media Influencers. That one touched a nerve and sparked a lot of interest, and I saw where there were posts from others having lists of folks that weren’t the same as what big media lists all the time, which is often devoid of persons of color. Of course, it also got quickly forgotten, which pretty much helped to lead to my post about feeling like an old black radical, which was one of my most commented works of the year.

4. People love to hate what you love to hate. That’s a strange thing to say but it seems to be pretty true. When you don’t like something it seems to touch a nerve for a lot of other people who have hated the same thing but either couldn’t figure out how to say it or didn’t want to say it first. My post on the Top 21 was my most commented on post of the year, but the next 5 were all from some kind of rant I wrote about concerning either blogging or social media. The top commented on post was when I avowed that I wasn’t registering to comment on other blogs and a few other things I didn’t like, with 60 comments. Yeah, that may seem pitiful when many other bloggers have hundreds of comments on their posts but so be it. Maybe this does mean that being controversial does work; still, you’d best be ready for it.

5. Sometimes your worst isn’t so bad while other times it really is. I had 15 posts in 2011 that didn’t even get 10 comments, and since I respond to most comments, that’s pretty bad. Actually, it’s less than 5%, but I still don’t like it. The post that tanked the worst for the year was when I wrote about AffinityClick, an affiliate program that everyone else must have already knew was pretty bad before I wrote about it since not even the 2 people that commented on it referenced it. Now that’s a real shame, as it ended up with only 5 comments. The next one surprised me, that being when I asked people what makes you smile and included the cutest video of a penguin being tickled that just made me smile a lot. This last one didn’t surprise me all that much as I gave a CPAP followup; if you don’t have sleep issues why would you care?

Having said that, some posts that seemed like they didn’t do well did okay in other ways. For instance, I wrote an Easter post where I shared some Peanuts videos, and though it only go 10 comments my bounce rate was only 46%; that’s not bad, though I wonder where people went. Also, the second part of my better blogging series only got 9 comments, yet it averaged 6 minutes and 18 seconds per visit, which means people actually read it.

6. You can get people to stick around to read a post when you’ve got their attention. This year I had 3 posts that people stayed for longer than 10 minutes reading, and even commenting on here and there. One was motivational: Only Concern Yourself With What You Can Control, 10 minutes 14 second. One was controversial: Penn State & Joe Paterno – My Take, 10 minutes 25 seconds. One was a rant: WordPress 3.3; It’s On My Nerves Right Now.

7. You can write posts that drive people to other posts. Bounce rate refers to whether a person will visit another page of your blog or website after reading the one that got them there in the first place. My average bounce rate on this site is 73.13%, which is probably normal for most bloggers, even though some will try to tell you they have phenomenally bounce rates; yeah, right. Anyway, I had 16 posts this year with bounce rates under 50%; these 5 were phenomenal though:

Some Blogs To Share 33.33%

Affiliate Programs I’m Connected With – Part Two 33.33%

An Important Blog Page If You’re Looking To Do Business 27.27%

Twitter Mix Of Sociability And Business 22.22%

Check Your Blog Commenting System 12.5%

8. I’ve learned how to handle grief way better than I ever thought I could when I was younger. I lost my grandmother this year and a great friend from college, and as tough as each was, I realized that none of us are getting out of this existence alive and thus we need to make sure to live for the moment. When some bad things happened I didn’t feel the crush of any of it, from what I mentioned above to having to sue someone for payment to having my first bouts ever of not wanting to do anything at all, even though I pushed on. There are fears we all have and the ability to push through them and learn that, for the most part, none of them are close to being as bad as we thought they’d be is a great lesson to learn.

9. I learned that I’ve become one of the great survivors. I celebrated my 10th year anniversary in business on my own, and when you consider that more than 90% of small businesses fold within 5 years I’d say that’s not a bad accomplishment. Of course I’m still learning great lessons almost daily and I’m not close to being Bill Gates rich, so I have a long way to go. I’m hoping for a great start to 2012; actually, I already have, but I’m not talking about it. 🙂

10. I learned that others value loyalty as much as I do, whether they’ve thought about it or not. “If loyalty is to mean anything, there must be a risk attached“. – Frank DeFord

Loyalty is at the top of my morality and ethics list, and I believe that loyalty deserves to be rewarded if it hasn’t been abused. There are some people who were commenting and participating on this blog at the beginning of the year that are still commenting and participating. I’d like to give them some love as my final act on Christmas day, although the first person I’m going to mention doesn’t have her blog anymore, or will be transitioning to a new blog, or something. lol Anyway, here we go; I thank y’all with a big thumbs up (from a tiny baby) and wish you and everyone else a great Christmas and great success as we move towards the new year:

Val from Absurd Old Bird

Beverly Mahone from Beverly Mahone

Sire from Wassup Blog

Rummuser from Ramana’s Musings

Allan Douglas from Simple Life Prattle

DeAnna Troupe from Learn Small Business

Melinda from Finding The Humor

Mitchell Allen from Morpho Designs

Charles Gulotta from Mostly Bright Ideas

Carl from Webmaister Pro

Ajith Edassery from Dollar Shower

Scott Thomas from Views Infinitum

Gebriele Maidecchi fro Esimple Studios

John Dilbeck from 21st Century Affiliate Marketing

Vernessa Taylor from Local Business Coach Online

Ileane from Basic Blog Tips

Evelyn Parham from Evelyn Parham
 

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Disappointed By Your Videos Viewer Count?

Early this past year I did my first video and popped it up on YouTube, then onto this blog. It was very short and just an introduction, and I knew I had to get better at it. To date I think I’ve done 9 videos, and I think my last one wasn’t all that bad, even if it wasn’t totally for the masses.

However, I have to say that I was kind of shocked when I looked at the numbers of people YouTube said had seen it. Actually, for the longest while it showed only one person had seen it, and I was surprised by that because a number of people had told me they had looked at it. Today it’s up to 4 views, which is still way down. Then I looked at the numbers for my other videos and only one of them seems to have kind of popped. What’s strange is that another video of mine only shows 4 views, yet I know more people than that viewed it because I put it up on Facebook and it was probably one of the most commented on posts I’ve ever had, if not number one.

Then I started to realize something. If you post your video anywhere else YouTube can’t count it. I started doing some research about it and it seems to be true based on a number of people writing about it. Even Google, in its own subversive way, indicates that those numbers won’t show.

Well what the hey? How are we supposed to know how effective our videos are if we can’t get an accurate count? Are we supposed to drive everyone to YouTube instead of our own sites just so we can find out how many people are really viewing our submissions?

Although I’d already been thinking about this for a couple of weeks, it was a post on Adrienne Smith’s site titled How To Get More Views On Your YouTube Videos that got me to think about writing on the topic. I asked a question about the post, where she’s promoting a guy named Paul Wolfe that’s put together something telling us how to get more visitors to our YouTube site. Her response to me was that getting people to your YouTube page could help get more visitors to your blog or website.

Love Adrienne but frankly, seeing the numbers I do, I’m not sure that’s going to occur any time soon. To date I have 13 subscribers to my page, and to be truthful I didn’t learn until the beginning of November that one could subscribe to a YouTube page; shows how little I’ve paid attention to the video aspects of social media other than one’s webpage. I’m not sure how many of those people have turned around and visited any of my blogs, and to be truthful I’m not realizing that I’ve missed out because I’ve never given the URL on any of my videos to this point, and seeing I’ve done videos for 3 different sites that’s a major thing to overlook.

Now that makes 2 questions I have no answers to; how many people have visited my site(s) because they’ve seen a video and how many people are watching my videos when I post them elsewhere. Man, I hate not knowing stuff like this, but there seems to be no way around it.

Do I decide to stop doing videos then? No, that’s not the answer. Do I stop posting videos on my blogs? No, I don’t think that’s the answer either. I think if one wishes to get some kind of idea on how a video might have performed one has to look at other analytics. In this case I went to Google Analytics to take a look at this post on my business blog celebrating Post #900 there.

I only wrote 2 paragraphs on that post and then popped in the video. According to Analytics, people have spent an average of 4 minutes and 54 seconds on that page. I know almost no one needs that long to read 2 paragraphs, so this tells me that there had to be a good number of people watching the video, based on the number of people that actually visited based on those same analytics. The video is just over twice as long as the time on that post; no, I’m not about to dig deeper. lol

This is one of those times where the numbers one gets aren’t even close to accurate, but you have to be prepared to push past it. If I didn’t have other ways of checking my statistics, I’d think no one cares about my videos and would stop making them. Course, it’s not like I’m getting Bieber numbers, but maybe one day… 😎

And I wish I could figure out how to get YouTube to stop on a picture without my having that goofy expression on my face all the time!
 

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The New Adsense Interface

I’ve been using Google Adsense for years, and of course I’ve talked about the problem I recently had when they killed it from this blog. Still, I’m earning an average of $150 a month from it for my other sites, so I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.

First, let me own up to this; the image is for Sire, who loves the ladies. He hasn’t been as active lately, off doing other stuff, but this will bring him back for sure. 🙂

Anyway, lately when I’d been going to check my daily earnings I’d seen this thing talking about the new Adsense interface, which would give me more information on my Adsense accounts than before. I’ve hesitated for about six weeks, but I figured it was probably time to go for it, especially after checking out the videos that I’m going to post below. What they’ll show is that if you’re already using Analytics that it’s in a weird way an extension of that, only for Adsense instead. Actually, I have to admit that, as I was looking through some of the things it can show you that I was shocked when one of the reports I was looking at showed me that the 728×90 ads that I run mainly on my medical billing site bring in the most money overall. Here’s a 7-day look; click on the image to see it enlarged:

That’s quite illuminating for sure. It tells me that I need to rethink my ad strategy on some other things as well; bigger just might be better.

Anyway, there’s nothing I could tell you that would be better than these 3 videos that the Adsense folks put out themselves, so here you go:


 

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Traffic From My Campaign

As you know, last week I decided to take a shot at writing two posts a day, with the second daily post highlighting a product of mine. I thought that waiting a couple of days and then looking back at how it all went as far as traffic and analytics went would be an interesting thing to see.

I have to say that “interesting” really is the correct word for it; “well” definitely is not. Whenever you try something new, you need to have at least a couple of things you want to track as far as seeing what happened. In my case I wanted to see three things: one, would anyone actually read the product posts; two, would my traffic go up because I had two posts a day for a week (okay, six days); three, would I send any traffic to my other sites, where all my products ultimately reside.

Let me start with this; I never expected to sell a single product. If I’d gotten lucky maybe one or two sales might happen, but I wasn’t expecting it. That’s because this blog really isn’t for that type of thing. What I expect I’ll do is run the same exact series on my business blog, almost word for word, and see if it generates anything there, though that blog isn’t nearly as popular at this one.

Now, a quick look at my three things. The first was whether anyone would actually read any of the posts. Well, I think I knew someone would read them, but how many folks. It turns out not all that many. None of those posts made the top 10 visited articles for the week, though 5 of them made the top 20. That’s not so bad until you see the numbers overall.

That’s because now we have to look at the second thing, overall traffic. And my overall traffic was down for the week, even with two posts a day. It dropped precipitously after Monday, and by Saturday, I was showing visit numbers lower than normal. Okay, it was a holiday week in the U.S., so I’ll try to take that into consideration to a small degree, since most people still have internet access during holidays, but even I wasn’t as active online as I normally might be. I will say this, however; those folks that did read the product posts spent more time reading them than my normal average except for one post, so that’s a bright spot.

That brings me to the third thing, which is if I drove any traffic to my other sites. On this one I’d have to say that the word “drive” is ambitious. A couple of people came over and looked at a product, but left almost immediately; average page view time was 16 seconds. That’s on the business blog. On my SEO website, only 3 people clicked on the product, and it averaged 0 seconds; how does an analytic show 3 visitors and no time on a site? Well, it did; freaky.

What can I take away from this? Actually, I’m not sure. Do I go with my entry premise that almost no one would really care about my particular type of products on this site? Actually, I think I can say “yes” to that one. Is this an indictment against 2 posts on one day as being too much? I’m not as sure on that one, but it’s possible that it could have felt like overwhelm. Some folks might have seen two posts, been unsure which one to click, and just avoided both of them. Maybe Chris Brogan’s thought on multiple posts a day doesn’t work, but I can’t be sure about it. Will this type of thing work better on my other blog, where that’s really the audience I want to reach for at least some of these things? I’m not sure about that one either.

Hmmm, maybe this one wasn’t as scientific as I had hoped it might be in the long run. Too many extenuating circumstances to get a clear thought on it all. Then again, it gave me something to write about, and once again proves that one can find inspiration anywhere. You have any thoughts on it?

Casio Desktop Printing Calculator






SEO Is Easier With Websites Than Blogs

If you remember, back on January 1st I had a pretty comprehensive post on Page Rank and SEO, where I did an examination of this blog, and another blog, to figure out where page rank and SEO might have some sort of affect on the pages within a blog. I pretty much came to a conclusion that it was hard to to proper SEO to a blog because even if you only write on one thing, there are so many other variables on a blog that it’s hard to get a good page rank; that is, if you really care. I decided to do another long project, adding something else into the mix. So get something to drink, sit back, and either read or listen, via that Odiogo button there at the top left of this post, because this one’s going to be long.

What I’ve done is gone through this blog, my business blog (Mitch’s Blog), and my main business website. I’ve selected the top 10 visited pages, or articles, for each of these entities, based on Google Analytics. I’ve checked them for page rank, and then I’ve checked them on Google Rankings to see, based on the main search terms, where they might come up, if at all; only the top 500 this time, though, so I could get through it all. My point, which will be proven, is that SEO efforts for websites can bring some nice results, much nicer than with blogs, even if the niche is more defined. Yeah, there’s a lot of link love I’m giving myself, in case you ever decide you’d like to see what all I’ve been writing and creating over all these years, but hey, it’s also a research project, so forgive the indulgence. I do this for you, my faithful readers. My story and I’m sticking to it. So, let’s begin.

Let’s start with this blog. To begin with, it’s not always easy to figure out which search terms to try to find blog entries for. This means that the ranking figure might be skewed too far one way or the other. But we’ll take it as it’s worth. Here are my top ten articles, my Google rank, and my Yahoo rank; none of these pages has a Google page rank, so why even chart it. Here are the other numbers:

9 Instant Tips On How To Leverage The Power Of Squidoo (used to be 1) 4 Google, 0 Yahoo

Be Responsible For Your Own Life Google, 0 Yahoo 0

A Point About Commenting On Blogs Google 0, Yahoo 0

Getting Google Desktop To Index Thunderbird (this page has a 0 page rank, instead of being unranked) Google 6, Yahoo 2

Another Rant On NYS Internet Taxes Google 48, Yahoo 0

Dofollow/Page Rank Discussion Google 31, Yahoo 1

My First Week In Reno Google 0, Yahoo 0

Kontera -Performancing Ads And TTZ Google 0, Yahoo 32

My Big RSS Subscriber Contest Google 0, Yahoo 1

The Dance-Off Google 0, Yahoo 0

Out of those 10 posts, I think only two can really be considered as legitimate as far as the search engines go, those two being the one on Google Desktop and NYS Internet Taxes. The rest,… well, iffy at best.

Next, let’s take a look at my business blog. This one, it’s slightly easier to see how the SEO efforts went, but this time some of the posts do have page rank, so it’s included this time around:

RAC Audits – A Commentary PR 0, Google 1, Yahoo 1

My Personal And Business Goals For 2009 PR 0, Google 19, Yahoo 1

Did Martin Luther King Jr Believe In Our Future? PR 1, Google 18, Yahoo 0

PR 1, Google 2, Yahoo 0

The 7 Habits Seminar PR 1, Google 1, Yahoo 0

Is Fox News Anti-Obama? PR 0, Google 14, Yahoo 0

Am I An Invisible Man? (this is actually one of my pages on that blog) PR 2, Google 53, Yahoo 24

Group Think Doesn’t Always Work PR 0, Google 3, Yahoo 1

Quotes I like (another one of my pages) PR 2, Google 0, Yahoo 0

Evaluating Employees And Yourself PR 1, Google 4, Yahoo 0

As I said, more of these work as far as being able to see how my SEO efforts worked, but probably four of them aren’t all that valid.

So, those are the two blogs, and truthfully, though some of the numbers on this blog look pretty good, I don’t think they’re valid. And for my business blog, more are valid, but I’m not sure anyone would be looking for the keywords I used to search for those articles.

Now, though, we’ll take a look at my business website, where most of the pages we’re going to look at would offer legitimate search terms I might be found for. Notice the PR difference, as well as the more legitimate search term rankings:

Employee Evaluation Module (this is actually my most searched and reviewed product page, which I’ve never mentioned here because I doubt there’s a single person who visits this blog who could use it, as you’d need to have employees) PR 2, Google 1, Yahoo 1

2009 CPT Code Changes (one of my healthcare newsletters PR 2, Google 2, Yahoo 4

Tribute (this is a tribute I wrote to my dad when he passed away) PR 2, Google 122, Yahoo 0

Records Retention PR 2, Google 106, Yahoo 0

Free Newsletters PR 3, Google 1, Yahoo 1
( for this one, since I offer two newsletters, I also did a second search term, for free healthcare newsletter, and it came up Google 6, Yahoo 2)

Biography PR 2, Google 0, Yahoo 0

Chargemaster Consulting PR 2, Google 6, Yahoo 2

Charge Capture Consulting PR 2, Google 8, Yahoo 0

Healthcare Consulting PR 2, Google 221, Yahoo 0

Executive Coaching PR 2. Google 0, Yahoo 253

As you can see, every page here except for my bio page is ranked by either Google or Yahoo (I didn’t even know what kind of search term to use for my bio, so I left it alone), and the search terms are more accurate because, on a website, it’s easier to define what each page should be about. Now, many people forget two important things about internal pages. One, to optimize them at all, which is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen. That would explain why so many internal pages aren’t ranked on most websites; I’m happy to say that the majority of my pages have a page rank of some kind, if only because it shows that they have been optimized. Two, if they optimize, most people use the same exact meta description and keywords on every page of their site, which is a mistake because every page on a website isn’t optimized for the same thing, and the search engines will ignore pages where the optimization doesn’t match what the page is about.

Now, let me be clear here; I still don’t care all that much about page rank. However, unless they’ve banned you for some reason, it’s still a nice indicator of whether or not you’ve optimized your site pretty well. It still doesn’t mean anything as far as visitors or even making sales or more money, but it does mean you have a better opportunity to be found on the search engines, if only because someone just might put in search terms that will lead them to you. Just like we look at Alexa and Technorati, or any of the other little things we can choose to view (see the two ranking icons to the upper right, above the Twitter bird) that rank us in some fashion. It’s better being on a list, or a ranking of some sort, than not being noticed at all.

I believe I have achieved my purpose, but I need to define it a little bit better. There are things we can do on our blog to help generate more interest, to get people to read more of it, and hopefully to get it to rank in some fashion, long term, on the search engines. But when all is said and done, it’s quite possible that blogs are just so active that posts don’t really get a chance to get rankings, even posts that continue getting visits years after they’re written, if you’re lucky (that’s where internal linking might be able to help), so don’t kill yourself trying to make every one of your blog posts optimal. If you can stay somewhat consistent on a topic, as I do with my business blog, you will have a better chance of attaining and keeping a page rank, because every blog post I mentioned on my beginning of the year post, at this point, has lost its page rank. Don’t beat yourself up over it.

However, when it comes to your real websites, using good SEO skills can help your pages get ranked, which means you’ve probably optimized them well enough to have a legitimate chance to be found on the search engines. With blogs, it seems to be more important to generate visitors in other ways, such as commenting on other blogs, and many of the other ways that so many people have written about that I’m not going to bother going into it again. When it comes to your blog, just write, and write as well as you can. It’s a blog; have some fun with it.

Star Trek Waterglobe Holiday Style

Price – $21.95






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