Google Analytics will give you a quick overview or an in-depth analysis of who's reading what on your blog or jewelry business website, depending on how many subheads you click in that left-hand sidebar.
Advertisers and publishers seem most interested in monthly pageviews (what many people call "hits"), so I set myself general goals for that and use those to help motivate me when I'm feeling swamped or lazy.
It probably doesn't pay to get too obsessive about the details, but if you find yourself reaching a milestone - say, the first year of your blog -- it may behoove you to dig a bit deeper and see what readers are responding to. Here are a few interesting (and often completely useless) tidbits I learned by analyzing my Analytics for this post:
- My blog has been read in 74 languages, if you count all three versions of English: U.S., Great Britain and just "eng" (Old English perhaps?). I have no idea what most of the other 71 abbreviations stand for.
- Visits from mobile devices are showing a sharp increase, especially iPhones.
- More than a third of my traffic comes via search engine and almost half via Google.
- I get more traffic from Facebook than Twitter even though I have more followers on Twitter. Interestingly, I get the same number of visits from LinkedIn as from Twitter, although I rarely log in to LinkedIn. (Note: Even a passive profile on LinkedIn can drive traffic to your site.)
- My most consistently read series is on [photographing jewelry http://thejewelryloupe.com/tag/photography]. Everything I post on that topic rises to the top (just under "How to wear jewelry like a rock star" which remains, stubbornly and bafflingly, at number one).
- If my blog is any indication, people are slightly more curious about [1000 Markets http://thejewelryloupe.com/1000-markets-takes-on-etsy] than they are about Etsy, but that's probably because they find what they're seeking elsewhere -- like on Etsy?
- An overview of [jewelry hallmarks http://bit.ly/baN9Yo] posted in March, which I was sure would be too dry for my readers, has become my sixth biggest hit of all time, just after [Van Cleef & Arpels http://thejewelryloupe.com/van-cleef-arpels-glamour-and-invention/]. Sometimes I feel I should be more consistent but the stats seem to indicate that it pays to mix it up.
- Jewelry artist profiles are consistently popular and do very well in Google searches - and it's not always the famous names that get the most attention. [Alexander Calder http://thejewelryloupe.com/alexander-calders-jewelry-going-mobile/] trumps Rene Lalique on my blog, for example, but [Joanna Gollberg http://thejewelryloupe.com/joanna-gollberg-tools-rule/] gets almost as much traffic as Calder.
Blog land is a very democratic universe.
NET PROFITS appears regularly in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. Learn more about how to track your web stats in "Google Analytics," January/February, 2011.
Cathleen McCarthy is a freelance writer specializing in design, travel and business. Her stories have appeared in Town & Country, AmericanStyle, Art & Antiques, Washington Post, and her own site, The Jewelry Loupe. She has written for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist since 1992.