3 Ways Google Analytics Helps You Engage With Your Readers

by | May 29, 2013

Tomorrow I’ll be co-hosting a free webinar with George Gill of Webanalyticsmd.com about how authors can use the free program Google Analytics to get better results from the work we’re already doing. Register here: Free Analytics Webinar

This week I’ve had numerous questions from readers about exactly why they might be interested in analytics. It seems “geeky,” “too hard,” “a waste of time for authors,” and lots of other things I’ve heard in the last couple of days.

However, if you’re serious about blogging and building an online author platform, analytics can be your best friend.

George will be covering all this in tomorrow’s webinar, but I wanted to go over a few of the reasons that I’m intensely interested in this topic and how it can make our work more rewarding and more fun.

3 Ways Google Analytics Can Help Authors

If you’re serious about creating a sustainable business from your writing and blogging, at some point you realize that you need to understand some of the “internet marketing stuff” that seems so odd to authors.

(Just today I had an email from an author asking if she should start selling PDF books from her website. A simple question like this opens up a whole field that this author probably doesn’t know much about, but which will lead her directly into internet marketing-land.)

How does analytics affect what we do online? Here are 3 ways you can see how important understanding analytics can be:

  1. Making your messages congruent with your content—Suppose you clicked a link on Twitter that promised information on good fonts for books. But when you clicked the link, you landed on a page that wanted to sell you fonts. Or suppose you click a link in an advertisement, but land on a page that looks nothing like the ad. It has different branding and a completely different tone than the ad had. These are cases of a lack of congruence: the source and the destination seem out of whack, as if they were created by different people for different goals. This lack of congruence can damage the trust people have in you, and it’s something we all need to be aware of.
    Matching your content to the source of your traffic—in other words, planning it so that people see something familiar and expected—can create trust. The role of analytics is to tell you exactly where your traffic is coming from. That includes which ad, opt-in, or link they are clicking to get to your site. No matter what kinds of books we publish, we all need readers to trust us and the information we provide.
  2. Spending your time in the right places online and in social media—A common question from new self-publishers is, “what’s the best site for me to market my books?” Of course, this is a question that’s impossible to answer, except with another question: Where are your readers?
    The plain fact is that many authors don’t know where their blog traffic is coming from, and that’s something that Google Analytics can tell you in detail. Maybe you’re spending half your time on Pinterest, but you’re getting most of your traffic from Facebook? That would probably change how you allocate your time, wouldn’t it?
  3. Knowing what kind of results you’re getting—In my blog post on Monday I pointed out that “conversions”—which usually means sales to marketers—can mean something quite different to authors. The kinds of conversions authors are looking for from their readers might be things like: liking your Facebook page; leaving a comment on a blog post; posting a review of your new book on Amazon; or hosting you on a blog tour.
    The problem is that many authors have no idea whether people are doing these things or not. In other words, if you don’t know how to measure the results you’re getting, how will you know when you get there?

Although I haven’t mentioned creating income, that’s obviously a big part of this too.

If you want to understand analytics better so you can gain trust from your readers, spend your time online productively, and actually know what kind of results you’re getting, register now for tomorrow’s free webinar on Google Analytics. Here’s the link:

Register for Free Live Analytics Webinar with George Gill and Joel Friedlander
When: Thursday, May 30, 2013
Time: 7:00 p.m. Eastern / 4:00 p.m. Pacific
Cost: $0, this is a free educational event

In the interest of full disclosure, after George is finished delivering over an hour’s worth of content on this subject, he will spend a few minutes introducing you to a paid training program that can take you much further than a 1-hour webinar can. There’s absolutely no obligation, but I just wanted you to know.

“See” you there!

Photo: bigstockphoto.com. Webinar links include my affiliate code.

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Michael N. Marcus

    Bloggers who think that Google Analytics are “too hard” should see what insights are provided by their blog hosting company.

    I started my https://www.BookMakingBlog.com in October, 2008 with about 100 daily pageviews. Traffic has grown steadily. In recent weeks I’ve been close to 1,000. I think that’s good.

    I use Blogger, which is owned by Google, for about ten blogs. I can easily see trends in traffic, most popular posts, traffic sources, location of visitors and more — even visitors’ browsers and OSes.

    I was surprised to learn that I had many more visitors from France and China than from the U.K. this month, but over all time the U.K. was in second place after the USA.

    Users of iPad, iPhone, Android etc. represent 1% or less of my visitors. Most of my visitors are using ‘real’ computers — and Mac use is 14% over five years and just 6% this month.

    The vast majority of visitors are referred by Google sites in various countries. Facebook is also quite important. Bing does very little for me. Other search engines don’t even show up on the top-ten chart. LinkedIn is not on the list, either. I could do more there.

    Joel’s site is ranked #10 as a referrer over five years, but is not on the list for this month. Maybe this post will help.

    Some search terms that have been popular over five years, are unpopular this month. Some terms, such as “Outskirts Press complaints” are always popular. “Michael Hyatt hypocrite” is by far the most popular term over five years — but did not even make tenth place this month. Maybe it’s time to write about him again.

    Search terms may follow news events. “Anthony Weiner pronunciation” is the second-most-popular this month, indicating that bloggers can draw traffic by commenting on the news — even if the news is not the primary topic of a post.

    Daily ‘pictures’ are interesting, but not necessarily useful. Yesterday six page views came from two sites in Russia.

    I assume that other blog providers also offer analytics. If you are intimidated by Google, see what your company offers.

    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Michael,

      The hosts I know of usually offer automatically AWstats and Webalizer, two older analytics programs. When I compared them to Google Analytics, I got numbers that were way higher than what GA shows, and I think that’s one of the reasons it has become something of a standard. Since Google owns Blogger, perhaps they are using some of the same technology there.



  1. Thirsty Thursday Blog Round-up | Writing, Reading, and Life - [...] 3 Ways Google Analytics Helps You Engage With Your Readers [...]

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