Alas, my blogging friends, I have been permanently bitten by the web analytics bug, and I fear there is no cure. (Except maybe chocolate?)
The reason I haven’t blogged much in the past few months is because I was taking college classes for an undergraduate certificate in e-commerce. Although they were hard work (LOTS and LOTS of paper writing), I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge that I can put to use in professional blogging.
Some of the most useful classes involved search engine optimization (SEO) and web analytics. I’ve long held the belief that if any writer wants to become a professional blogger, these are skills it wouldn’t hurt to have.
Google, which handles a great deal of web traffic, currently has over 200 ranking factors that it uses to determine where your blog post goes on its search engine results pages. Some of these factors — such as keywords and using alternate tags for your images — you can control. Other factors — like which websites link to your site and the popularity of your links — are beyond your control.
But did you know that Google isn’t the most popular search engine in every country? In other areas, search engines such as Baidu and Yandex outrank Google. One of my papers involved international SEO, which was fun to learn about.
No, web analytics won’t tell you somebody’s name or email address. That gets into violation of privacy laws territory, so rest easy.
One name, however, keeps popping up in web analytics: Avinash Kaushik. He has a great blog called Occam’s Razor. It’s a useful resource for budding web analysts and bloggers who want to learn more about digital marketing.
Neil Patel is no slouch at digital marketing, either. He has a free tool called Ubersuggest. It’s fun to run a website through it and to see what comes up.
The only trick with web analytics is that you have to master a new vocabulary of terms specific to web analytics. Alexa has a very good glossary.
One of my final assignments in the web analytics class was to pick an item from my refrigerator and discuss the web analytics of the company. I picked Yasso frozen Greek yogurt bars (love their flavors…..mmmmm, chocolate….but I digress). It was a good exercise in the practical application of web analytics and great fun to write about.
So if you do want to turn professional — or even start up your own business one day — it doesn’t hurt to master skills such as SEO and web analytics. After all, your customers will need to find you and you’ll want to understand how they behave when they get to your company website. ‘Nuff said.