Saturday, August 07, 2010

Liveblogging Blogher '10: Morning Stats Session

The panel:
Adria Richards. Hard-core geeky girl.
Stephanie Stiavetti, works with beginners
Keidra Chaney former reporter turned geek, now expert in Google Analyics


Adria: We created a character called Susan, a blogger about cupcakes and former city desk reporter.

Stephanie: Susan recently was asked what her influence was, and she didn't know how to measure it.

Moderator: What's the value of high traffic and if yo udon't have the traffic you want how can you give yourself a bump?

Keidra: For a really long time after the focus was on "hits," then for a while it was "page views." Now we're starting to look at having unique visitors be the real goal for your blog. Unique visitors means individual visitors means ... how many human beings are reading your site... and then looking at the activity of the individual on your site. "Rather than looking at big raw numbgers of page views, starting to drill down to how long people are looking at your site and how engaged they are."

Stephanie: I't sreally important to look at how people are getitng to your blog. Are they coming from Google and what are they searching for? Are they coming from a link? "is your bounce rate 90%?" which means that 90% of people who come to your site leave immediately?

"You go to star wars sites, and every user loads 30-100 pages. it's really imperssive."

Keira: there are actions you're trying to funnel people into. "seeing how many people are going thru that funnel could detemrine content..." design.

mod: influence. reach vs. influence. "reach is that nice 600k unique visitors. the influence" is more of a call to action. "they're there, but ... can you motivate people to take another step. whether that step is taking a purchaes, or " friending you on facebook.l

keira: "influence to me means if u ask people to take action, they do" if Susan recommends a new bakery and there's an influx, if they say "Sunday, Monday, it was ridiculous. after you did that blog post? we" are sold out.

Connect Google Analytics with Twitter. Tool called URL Builder where you tag your links from your blog, put them on Twitter and then see how many people are coming into your posts from Twitter versus other places.

Adria: looking at your referral sources and seeing if those convert to sales for you is huge. maybe you're getting a lot of traffic from facebook but they're not converting? that's why it's good to generate reports instead of looking at a big cloud of numbers on Google Analytics.

Moderator: remember

Steph: use Google Analytics' filtered keywords tool. you can see if your seo tactics are working or if older posts drawing in more google traffic?

Keira: Look at your referring sites and the corresponding metrics to those referring sites. Like if you have a site that's brining in a lot of traffic but it's a 90% bounce rate, figure out why. "What's the story behind that and why aren't those visitors sticking around?"
Look at keywords in the same way. "What keywords are bringing in traffic but those folks are staying around, downloading things? those wil be your most valuable users."

Steph: bounce rate. "people who get to your site, look at the one page and leave.... most of the reoprts you run in google analytics, every one of them will have a bounce rate so you can drill that down. ... you can see the people who come from your personal facebook page and where they're going."

Adria: reach out to writers with high page rankings

What is google page rank?

Adria: It ranks the influence of a web site... most blogs are between 0 adn 3. if you're a a 5 your site's doing fairly well. the top 100 blogs are all ranking 7, 8, 9, 10.

q: how do you find out what yours is?

adria: install the google toolbar (in firefox or maybe ie). or try or alexa

steph: links from highly ranked google sites are more valuable than smaller sites, but an accumulation from smaller sites will also help. "sites that get a ton of traffic, those links are going to be invaluable."


Steph: improve your inbound link rate by being active in the community. you'll be listed on blogrolls if you chat with people on twitter.

Adria: "People link to unique, high quality content." if you're telling a story, sharing an individual experience, or giving instructions. people are on google to SOLVE A PROBLEM

Keira: "Write clear headers. Write a header that clearly explains what your blog post is going to be about. put your KEYWORDS on your header."

if you have the platform or plug-in that allows you to have 2 titles, you put the keyword-laden title in the actual header and your clever title in the one that shows at the top


Q: Melody Sheridan. There's no way on BlogSpot to write the two different kinds of titles?

Adria: Switch to Wordpress.

Keira: "Just move to Wordpress. It'll be worth it in the end."

Liz from Hello Ladies: what do you trust for traffic?

moderator: something strange happens sometimes where u ask a blogger for their traffic, and they won't give it to me, then i go to and look it up. not necessarily as accurate as what the blogger has access to, but an estimate.


Keira: bounce rate isn't always bad. it depends on the goal. "say you have a lot of ads on a aprticular page. the reason why it has a high bounce rate is becaues people are clicking on the ads." that would be good.

Steph: i've worked for sites that require at least 3 internal links per post. as in, link to another post on your site on a similar content.
using google analytics "goals" tool is good, because you see where people drop off in the process you're trying to get them to do. for instance if you are trying to get them to download an ebook, you can see how many steps they got through before they quit.

steph: "the internet is all about karma. if you don't link out to anybody, nobody's going to link to you." "you don't want to give sites like a ton of links because that will decrease the value of your site in the eyes of google." instead, link to other bloggers.

"one of google's goals is to figure out what you're about and categorize you properly... one of google's primary objectives is to filter out the crap on the internet...

Adria: "when people solicit you" to link to them "check their traffic, check their google page rank, and see if it's beneficial. do they have an audience? instead of just a link exchange, figure out if something you can collaborate on? what are you trying to get your readers to do?"

Keira: make sure it's not a covert spam site.

Adria: put a call to action on the site. put a button asking people to share the post on Twitter

Steph: contests work well. subscribe to my RSS feed to enter.


Keira: "comments are a great way to measure engagement. i don't think it's the only wya, but it's something that should be considered... to measure your own influence. to not have comments is a mistake, if you really want to be an influential blogger." then again don't obsess over it. sometimes there's just not that much to comment about if you wrote an "information rich" post.

"No one metric stands alone."

Adria: There are guy bloggers out there pulling in good money. Remember the lifetime earnings discrepancy between men and women, which increases with every year of education. They are getting big consulting gigs and other career success and women can do that too. (So don't be afraid to promote yourself.)


Steph: I'm in the truncation camp because i've had my feeds stolen. and google might think the stealer is the original author and boot your original site off the registry. "So I personally truncate my feed and recommend that all my clients truncate their feeds. At the bottom of every truncated posts is a link to you. so if someone steals your feed, they're actually doing you a favor."

if they can read the whole post on the feed, they have no reason to visit your site and they're much less likely to comment.

Keira: understand that people may not click over to finish the post. think about writing specifically for it if you truncate.

Steph: I believe in just giving them the whole feed because if you have accumulated all these subscribers, at least you have influence ovewr them and "a line into their daily focus." "And when you do that call to action, if they do it, great. I think it's about building the relationship and the trust. It's not as trust-building if you give them only part of it. It's like a tease."


Adria: If you do internal linking, you'll get a ping when people steal your content. and that's free.

QUESTION: OUR PAGE RANK WENT FROM 8 TO 4 BECAUSE WE LINKED TO A BAD SITE. someone with a 0 page rank asked us and we linked to them, and we can't get back up to 8.

Steph: "If Google suspects that you are selling links ... Google will penalize everybody that links to them, because it looks like you're unfairly trading links. they want it to be organic. ... if they even remotely think you are" maniuplating that pracice they will ding you

moderator: "It's time that we start practicing safe linking."

Conversation shifts to how bloggers get noticed by PR firms for opportunities.

3M rep stands up and says that they look at a blogger's connectivity.

Moderator: Bloggers are less attractive if they do every giveaway that comes along. You need to protect your own brand too.

Suggestion from the audience: use free tool


Keidra: Use Clicky and "it's really good if u do a big social media push because u get metrics immediately. Also Mopera. Google Analytics is really great but those are other great alternatives. also Facebook Insights. "If you have a Facebook page for your blog or community," you need to be looking at this "Facebook Insights is an unbeleivably valuabel tool for connecting what you're doing on Facebook to what you're doing on your blog and it's really improved in the last 6 months."
And HootSuite.

Adria: FlowTown. "it reverse engineers info that people leave on facebook, linkedin... then you can start really targeting people. say you are a speaker and you're going to be in california. you can target the people on your list who are in california" to let them know about your appearance.

Clicky lets you ping someone when they're on your site. the mobile analytics on Clicky are really excellent. you can get feedback in just a few hours instead of 24 hours like Google Analytics.

Gretchen Rubin from The Happiness Project. What should you be aiming for with these analytics?

Steph: It depends on your goals. "There's no real number."

Gretchen: "But is 2 minutes a lot of time or a little time?"

Steph: "if your bounce rate is 50% that's good." if people are spending 4 min on your site and viewing several pages, you're doing good.

Moderator: Have a 5-year goal for your blog

Keira: Your goals can change. First you might have had the goal of having people download your ebook. Later it might be more about community engagement. Have everything you do flow from that goal.

Steph: If you're treating your blog like a business, it makes sense to write up a business plan. If you don't know what you want, you're never going to figure it out.

Keira: Or just write a mission statement. One paragraph.

Moderator: I really like that idea. A good goal for all of us: write a mission statement.

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