Hello, hello, friends! This week has been… something else. Today will actually be my very last day of in-person classes for law school; we’ll be switching to online, distance learning then-after. So weird! Earlier this week, I was supposed to be in Arizona this weekend for my step-brother’s graduation, but here I am, flights canceled and out of school for the rest of the semester. Well. On-campus, anyway. But, I just want to remind you guys that it will not be like this forever. Even amidst all of these changes, I want to encourage you guys to stay optimistic during this time. Perhaps, maybe, maintaining parts of our routines that we can is a good idea. So… here’s a blog post on Insights and Analytics, which I wrote two weeks ago when all of this wasn’t happening. Let me know what you guys think! I’d love to continue discussions about things we love during this weird time.
Alright! Let’s talk about Insights and Analytics.
My podcast is live! You can listen to The Blog Breakdown on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. This week’s episode is all about Insights and Analytics that supplements this blog post! Follow along with me as we look at some data and try to infer what that means for our content!
And if you feel so inclined, I would love it if you guys subscribed so that you are notified every single time a new podcast is uploaded! Thanks for your love on the first episode — you guys are amazing!
THE BEGINNING: I NEVER LOOKED AT ANALYTICS
I just celebrated my First Year Anniversary of Blogging! That’s right. The Jade of Trades blog was born this time last year. I can’t believe all of the amazing things this blog has become in the past twelve months. There are, however, so many things I wish I would have done differently with my blog.
Neglecting to look and use my insights and analytics to build better content is one thing I was definitely guilty of. I looked here and there at the data, but after feeling intimidated by the numbers, I’d close them after glancing and never think about them again. But, the key here is to just take it bite-by-bite, step-by-step! You don’t have to know everything all at once; you just have to have a starting point. And that’s here!
Don’t be me! Don’t make that mistake. There are so many amazing tools now that make help make sense of the somewhat intimidating numbers.
A PROACTIVE INSTEAD OF REACTIVE APPROACH
Of course, the main goal of looking at these numbers is to use them to interpret how users behave with our content. We have to make sense of the numbers and actually convert them into useable information that can help improve our readership, subscriber-ship and conversions.
As a social media manager, you definitely need to utilize these metrics because this is the only way you can actually know what your audience thinks of your content.
MAKING SENSE OF THE ANALYTICS NUMBERS
So, let’s take some different metrics and try to interpret what those numbers essentially could “mean” in the context of our readers’ habits. One very obvious example is, of course, hashtags and how many likes you’ve received on a certain post. Hashtags are easy to know if they’ve caused growth or not because you can see specific metrics for how many people have found your post through each individual hashtag.
Perhaps more complex, though, is session duration time, and how that can directly correlate with the loading times of your blog pages. You may not know that at first, but after poking around on PageSpeed Insights and Hummingbird, you may be able to piece it together (like I did!). Google suggested compressing my images and investing in an automatic compression processor plugin to drastically reduce file sizes, and that was such an easy fix! After implementing those small changes, I saw a huge improvement in session duration timing.
USING ANALYTICS TO TRY A/B TESTING
Don’t overwhelm yourself with all of the different numbers and trying to figure out what all of that mean at exactly one time can be so… much. To say the least. Don’t look with a macro lens; instead, let’s look at it piece by piece, implementing small changes week-by-week and trying to improve consistently over time. Not everything has to happen all at once, and honestly, it can’t and shouldn’t happen all at once.
In order to test our content week-by-week, we have to isolate specific elements over a certain period of time to record the change we do or do not see with our audience. If you don’t quite get enough content yet to do this on a weekly basis, perhaps monthly would be better! This methodology is called A/B testing; you can do this with advertisements, photographs, copy, etc. to see exactly how audiences prefer one over the other.
I would also highly recommend trying out some type of grading software! Aforementioned, Google PageSpeed Insights is a great tool to see just how well your website “grades” with Google mapping devices. This essentially looks at a variety of factors such as file sizes, loading times, readability and CSS coding difficulties. This is a great way to skip the inference stage and go straight to converting your data into workable solutions.
WELCOME TO PINTEREST UNIVERSITY. OH, AND HUBSPOT ACADEMY.
Pinterest is the world’s greatest tool, I think, for bloggers. I literally just go straight there if I have a question regarding blogging and it has never let me down! Because Pinterest is essentially a blogger’s community (I mean, c’mon), there are so many helpful things you can learn from others in the same creative space as you.
I also love listening to podcasts like Blogging, Unscripted by Danielle Gervino and reading (well, listening) to audiobooks on social media and blogging. However, with these things, I find articles to be better for this kinda thing — because the algorithms and digital landscape change so rapidly, books usually aren’t the go-to for that (weird, right? I know. I’m a law student).
However, I think the most helpful tool I’ve ever had for learning about algorithms and the buyer’s journey [hello, did you get spooked when I said “conversions?” Then this is for you]. The certification is called “What is Inbound Marketing?” by Hubspot Academy. The Hubspot Academy actually has so many useful tools and I love their e-courses! I’m taking a few every couple of weeks. Definitely so helpful and understandable. The course is actually free! Take it here.
I did this class, actually, along with a Google Analytics Certification course in my undergraduate years of journalism school. I think the class was… Digital Analytics? Yeah, that’s the one. We had to complete this training to pass the class, and while I dreaded it at the time, I find myself thinking about it… a lot. I think I’ll actually take it again sometime soon.
AND LASTLY… THE BLOG BREAKDOWN.
Of course, I have to plug this again… duh! My podcast is live now, The Blog Breakdown, and the second episode is a walk-through of analytics and insights. I’d love for you to check that out. And while you’re at it, you can subscribe, too! Or… not. It’s whatever. But I’d love it if you did. 🙂
Thanks again for all of your love on last week’s blog post and the first podcast episode on Instagram Stories! And, if you haven’t listened to it yet, don’t worry. They aren’t going anywhere!
You can listen to this week’s episode wherever you listen to podcasts.
HEY, BLOG AND SOCIAL MEDIA NUTS, HERE’S SOME ADDITIONAL READING: