I’ve been doing business online for about 20 years. I’m embarrassed to say that for many of those years, I wasn’t terribly effective or profitable. And sadly, I know why. I treated my business like a giant guessing game, focusing on the parts of business I enjoyed doing and hoping they produced a profit. I was flying blind most of the time and in the back of my mind I knew that was a problem.
But I didn’t attempt to fix it. In all honesty, I didn’t want to do the work. I put in a few half-hearted attempts to install some analytics, but when I ran into some technical difficulties, I gave up and walked away.
It all seemed so confusing and frustrating. I wanted to focus on being creative and doing the things I love. I was my own boss, so I could skip the analytics if I wanted to, right?
Sure, I could skip a critical step in the business process, but I suffered the consequences because I was doing business in a total state of ignorance. I had to guess where my profits were coming from and which activities had the greatest ROI. Certainly, I didn’t have the information I needed to make sound business decisions that would grow my business, make me more effective, and bring in more profits. I wasn’t as effective as I could have been had I taken time to figure out the analytics aspect of the biz.
Blogging is a business
In order to become a profitable and productive business person, you need to implement some business practices. A good business person doesn’t go into business with a wish and a prayer, hoping to magically strike some chord of success that will make the business profitable.
He or she goes into a business venture with a solid plan and strategy to make money. He implements the plan then conducts careful and frequent examination of the results to determine whether current tactics are effective or if changes need to be made.
As a blogger the best way to determine whether you’re on the right track with your online business and increase your effectiveness is to analyze your past actions and compare them to the outcomes.
- Which blog articles produced the most income?
- What drove your sales numbers, profit margins, etc.?
- Which social media platforms brought in the most traffic?
- Which opt-ins gained you the most subscribers?
- Who is subscribing?
In order to do this, you need a way to gather that information so you can examine it and determine what aspects of your business are rocking’ it and what’s not performing up to standards.
Thankfully, there are numerous tools and services that can help you get the feedback you need to assess your efforts and adjust your tactics as you work toward your ultimate goals in your online business.
Here’s a list of analytic tools you can install on your site and related platforms that will help you analyze the performance of your business. TIP: Don’t try to tackle them all in one day! Take one at a time until you have a nice array of analytics to pull from as you do your assessing and make future business decisions.
Set Up Google Analytics
Google analytics are without a doubt an industry standard. They offer the most comprehensive and enlightening analytics I am aware of. Better yet, Google offers their service free for a limited number of “properties”, their term for a site or profile added to your dashboard.
With Google Analytics you can get information on how many people are visiting your site, which visitors are new, where they were referred from (i.e. a social media post, link in an email, or a search engine result) and how long they stay. You can see what times they are visiting, what kind of device they are viewing on, and which articles they visit the most. Google also assembles information on the demographics. You can determine where you visitors live, their age, gender, and other interests, which is information that can help you put together more targeted posts, opt-ins, and emails.
I found setting up Google analytics to be somewhat complicated until I found this article which walked me through the process. I managed to get set up pretty easily this last time thanks to the tutorial. Check it out!
If you’re using WordPress as your blogging platform, you can install a plugin called Jetpack that gathers basic information about how many visitors are coming to your site, what they’re looking at, and where they’re coming from. The plugin installs a convenient analytics display on your dashboard so you can get a quick overview of the activity on your site every time you log in. Jetpack offers a free version of their plugin that gives you access to basic services. You can upgrade to a paid version for more features. (I’m still using the free version because it’s adequate.)
Pinterest Biz Account
While anyone can sign up for a Pinterest account, online entrepreneurs and bloggers should consider signing up for a business account, which offers addition information, benefits, and analytics for business owners. A business account also allows you to place ads and promoted pins on Pinterest, which could be a handy tool in your arsenal when you have some advertising bucks. The process isn’t hard. Just fill out some additional information about who you are, what your business does, and how to reach you.
If you already have a Pinterest profile, you can convert it to a business account if that’s easier than starting from scratch. Here’s a link that contains instructions about setting up an account from scratch and also for converting an existing account to a business account.
Validate Your Website With Pinterest for More Analytics
Add your website to your Pinterest profile and go through the validation process to get Analytics on how many people are pinning from your site and interacting with your Pins. This can help you determine what content is gaining the most interest and interaction, giving you insight on which topics might be most beneficial to pursue on your blog.
Setting up Rich Pins on your site will help your visitors pin more easily by adding that Pin icon in the corner of every picture or graphic you put on your site. It also pulls more information (headline, author, and story description) from your site into the pin description and gives you some bolded lettering too. For product pins, Rich Pins pulls in availability, price, and where to purchase. Recipe pins show a list of ingredients. They offer Pinterest pinners so much additional information and increase the value of your pins.
Log into your Tailwind Dashboard, then click on Profile >> Accounts Tab. Scroll down and you will see a place to enter your website address. From what I understand, you must have your site set up and validated in Pinterest first for this to work correctly.
Once you have an account set up, you can add your website to Tailwind and it will pull analytics from Pinterest as well. Every time you log into Tailwind, you’re presented with info on how many followers you gained and how many re-pins you’ve received and other great info that you can use to evaluate your progress.
If you aren’t using Tailwind, I hope you’ll at least take advantage of the free 30-day trial to check out the service. No credit card is required for the trial so you don’t have to worry about cancelling by a certain date or getting charged accidentally. Here’s my referral link which gets you the free 30-day trial and also includes a $15.00 coupon off your subscription should you choose to use the service after your trial.
Now you have six sources of analytical information that will help you to monitor the progress and success of your business so you can make decisions that will take your business to the next level month after month!
Did you figure out the secret formula to online business success? Here it is in an easy list:
- Have a plan
- Put in consistent effort and hard work
- Assess your progress
- Adjust your strategy
- Rinse and repeat
Here’s to a more effective and profitable year for us both!