There are a lot of things in life that take a pretty long time. Like building a strong relationship. Or making a baby. Or writing a book.
Thankfully, there are other things that you can accomplish in a very short period of time. Learning about your author website and how it’s doing is one of them, thanks to our good friends at Google analytics.
Here are five things that you should be able to know within 30 days of your launch (if you study your reports correctly).
1. Which sections of the site are most popular. Ah …. Google analytics. It is the greatest thing for website owners since sliced bread. It allows you to see a wealth of information — one of the most important being which pages on your site are being viewed most (and least). You should pretty quickly be able to determine the sections of your site that are doing well — as well as the things that people are not looking at. This will help you figure out where to focus your attention going forward. For example, if your blog is doing well, it serves as encouragement to keep blogging. If people love your “book secrets’ page, think of other ways you can offer bonus material to readers.
2. The search terms you should be optimizing for. Google will also be able to tell you the specific keyword that people are searching for when they wind up on your site. This should be a good starting point for you to put together a full search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. For example, I have discovered that the term “author websites” drives a wealth of traffic my way. As such, I make sure that I always blog about author websites, and optimize each post for the term. And no, I’m not using the term here just for that reason. I’m citing an example. So if you find that people are coming to your site through the keyword, let’s just say … “midlife crisis,” then that’s what you should be blogging about, and that’s the term that you should use in all of your page and post titles.
3. How people are finding your site. Where is most of your traffic coming from? Is it people literally typing in the name of your site in their browser? Are they searching for your name on Google? Are they coming in through social sharing, links from other sites, etc…? Your analytics report should be able to tell you where your traffic is coming from. You can then figure out what you should be doing more or less of as a result, and ramp up your marketing efforts accordingly.
4. Which social networks are working for you. Your analytics report will be able to tell you how much traffic you’re getting from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc… Similarly, you can see for yourself just how many followers you’ve built on each of these networks. Within 30 days, you should be able to determine which one — or ones — to continue focusing your attention on in the long-term, and which may not be the best use of your time.
5. What’s NOT working on your author website. Your analytics report not only tells you what you’re doing right. It can also tell you what you’re doing wrong. Study which blog posts are getting little to no traffic. Figure out which pages on your site have the highest bounce rate (i.e. the percentage of people leaving without visiting any other pages) and play detective to try and figure out why these aren’t working. Is the page taking a long time to load? Is the blog post too long? Try and find a pattern in your analytics, take your best guess as to why things aren’t working, and then change them.
Thirty days may not be a very long time. But it’s long enough for you to take these learnings and make your author website even better than it was before.