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Friday, August 21, 2009

Make money online with Blogspot - Day 5: Statistics

I realized that I started this quest without really explaining how I was going to measure results.  Looking back at my first few entries, one could only assume that I would just be trying anything in the hopes that miraculously I would suddenly be raking in the cash.  Even with that supposition, how could I even tell that I was making money.  I assumed that you the reader was already on the same page as already was and for that I apologize.  I wanted to write this blog to make sure that whatever I learned I could pass on to others like myself and I can only do that if I explain everything that I know.

So first off, I've been talking about site statistics and how that has been working for me. I've shown you the following graph a few times (this one is up to date with the numbers as of Thursday, August 20th at around 9:30 PM).

SiteHits This MonthHits All Time
As a Fine Wine119495
Fantasitc Reading 108163
Run Amok134144

Total Adsense Revenue all time:  $3.59  +$.01
Total Amazon Revenue all time:  $0.00

So where do these numbers come from and how accurate are they?  Currently I'm getting my statistics from StatCounter.  This is a free service (although they do offer a premium service) and can be activated by simply signing up on their site.  You quickly set up your site and install using the HTML Gadget on blogger some HTML that StatCounter uses to track your traffic.  You can set up more than one site (as I have 3).  Conversely, you can do the same thing with Google Analytics.  I might suggest that if you only had time to do one, that you pick the Google brand instead, purely because it ties into Adsense and can give you a better idea of what topics or pages are actually bringing in traffic and revenue for you.  When I first set everything up back in July, I didn't even have that much information and a random article suggested StatCounter.  Although I'm happy with their stats and with the reports they run, I do think that the Google Analytics is a better product.  If neither of these meet your needs there are many other "freebies" out there that do similar things.  Just look on Google for "free site statistics" and you'll get what you need.

Initially, it is hard to measure success, even with using a statistics package.  The primary problem is that with such little traffic, a change of tactics, labels, title heading, etc. can create big swings in your traffic, but often not on the day of the change.  If you haven't been picked up by the mainstream search engines or blog specific engines, most changes at this point are meaningless.  However, if you don't have stats at all then you never know if a change makes a difference.

However, that being said, I have started to see some trends with the blog.  If you look at the stats for this blog you'll notice that although its the oldest of the 3, it has the least amount of traffic for all time.  In fact, prior to this topic, I had less than 20 over visits.  Since starting this topic, my traffic gone up significantly.  Several assumptions could be made concerning this:  the topic itself is popular, writing everyday makes a difference, writing AT ALL makes a difference :), and promotion of the blog is imperative.  The only assumption that I question is the topic.  While at most I had a peak of 51 visitors in one day on Run Amok, Chef Laura's blog received 31 visitors yesterday alone.  We wrote about Whole Foods corporate blog.  It didn't have a lot of meat to the story and was pretty brief.  Yet the blog out surpassed this blog entry with the catchy title.  Why?  I think this one is simply because more people are already following Laura's blog and any post on her's gets immediate response.  That is good to know.  Build a following.  Haven't we heard that before.  Also of note, she built that following through her own personal connections and the fact that when she first started that she was writing every day.  But then like all of us, she got discouraged and fell off.  She is also going through a crisis on the direction of the blog.  Another point to make is that your blog needs to have a focus and once focused should not waver too much off topic.  I discussed this briefly earlier in the week and I'm still debating if I can't just be me, write what I want when I want to.  I think that I still can, but I do think that you've got to get it focused first.  Readers will allow more variety once they know you.

I could talk more on statistics, but this will suffice for a primer.  If you want to know more, I can go into more detail, but this should get you started.

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