So this is still very much a baby blog in a very crowded field. I like to track what’s going on, both for posterity, to see what type of content I should be focusing on, and also for the benefit of fellow bloggers, which is what is most of the traffic coming to this site currently.
The idea behind using analytics like Google Analytics & Hotjar beyond just simple counting up of comments, is to learn what your audience is interested in on a deeper level – and write more of that kind of stuff.
This post will discuss:
- July activities
- Blog stats
- Key takeaways
- How to set up a free video spycam to record (anonymously) what users do on your site, like this:
Dividend 10 Spycam Footage! (Warning: Riveting)
I wrote 10 posts, even though I stopped posting mid month for about 2 weeks or so, which caused my numbers to implode quickly.
Each post I generally will post via Twitter and that’s it.
The great thing about numbers – whether you like them or not – is that they don’t lie. Here’s the numbers over the past month:
A fundamental question you should be able to answer is: where is my traffic coming from?
This month, most of the traffic to the blog is coming from other bloggers, in particular Captain Dividend. I believe that his blog list which updates with recent posts from his bloglist is doing most of the heavy lifting. So here’s a link back to your dividend content (yes I’m using the word “dividend” in the link) which will help oh so slightly with your SEO. Thanks Captain Dividend!
Interestingly, this seems to be high quality traffic, as evidenced by the relatively low bounce rate of 36%. This just means that people are generally browsing around, vs just leaving after doing nothing. In general, any bounce rate between 20-50% is good. Be sure to check your own bounce rates by channel – it can often give you some interesting insights.
Dividend Growth Center – which I haven’t heard of before – mentioned me as a new blog which also drove some traffic.
The automated stock watchlist that I posted on Reddit the previous month still drives a little traffic as well, but as you can see, the bounce rate is high – meaning they’re just coming to see the tool, and that’s it.
What’s interesting too, is that overall my SEO is starting to get a tiny bit of traction. While it remains my lowest source of traffic, I’m showing up for a few keywords.
[alert-note]Protip 1 – To see this report go to acquisition -> channels. By default your report will show to just the medium. You’ll want to change your primary dimension to source/ medium to see the specific web property driving referral traffic.[/alert-note]
[alert-note]Protip #2 – To get more out of your SEO reports, be sure to create your Google Search Console account and link it to your Google Analytics account. When analyzing your search queries (acquisition -> search console -> queries) you’ll see quite a few (not set) searches. As a way around this, analyze your landing pages in the search console report which shows the content that people landed on from organic search, which can help you reverse engineer some of the searches that may have sent them to your site.[/alert-note]
Users & Sessions
Next I like to look at the number of sessions & users.
To be clear what we’re talking about:
Sessions are just collections of page views over a viewing session.
Users are the actual number of people who view your content.
So in general you’ll have more sessions than users, since often users will come back to your site for multiple sessions.
In July I received 478 sessions (ie. a collection of discrete visits consisting of multiple pageviews), and 338 unique users. This is 10 times the amount over the previous month – so humble, but increasing. Again, I’ve filtered out referral spam and zombie bots (click here to learn how to do this), so I know this traffic is accurate, which is a problem with analyzing the data of many Google Analytics accounts I come across.
Basically starting at about July 8th, the blog basically got zero traffic. This is because I completely stopped posting any content or doing anything on Twitter. So when you’re starting out you need to obviously stay active continuously, or your stats will just fall off a cliff.
When I came back to blog-land, I posted my dividend round up, which as last month, was by far my most popular post type that I’ve done on the blog so far, and hit a record of 95 sessions in a day
[alert-note]Protip – To see this report go to audience -> overview. Try to compare what you did promotion-wise or content-wise next to any traffic spikes to learn about what is working for you to drive site traffic.[/alert-note]
Next I look at what content got the most engagement. Later on in this post, I’ll get into some more advanced types of content analysis you can do, as well.
As with most blogs, the homepage got the most amount of traffic, followed by:
- My dividend stock watchlist
- My portfolio
- Income report
- The dividend income roundup
[alert-note]Protip – To see this report go to behavior -> all pages. Switch the primary dimension to the from page (which shows the URL) to page title to make it easier to analyze the content[/alert-note]
Overall my numbers have been quite low, which is to be expected. I’m just looking to continue to post and build up the content base.
Set up your own video spycam
Ok in this “educational” portion of the post, I’d like to talk about how you can set up a video spycam to help you better understand what content is resonant on your site.
I had initially thought of showing you how to set up content grouping in Google Analytics, which is a little more advanced, so if you’re interested in seeing that, let me know.
Why this can help your content analysis
While the behavior report in Google Analytics is quite useful, really bringing to life what people are doing with heatmaps and video spycams takes the data and brings it to life.
The best data is worthless, if you can’t interpret it. These tools help with the understanding and interpretation part.
[alert-note]TMI Nerd alert: By definition, Google Analytics comes with built in overlay reports, that shows where people click on your pages (You can access this via Behavior -> In page analytics). However, in my opinion this is one of the few reports where Google Analytics really lacks. In particular, they don’t track unique clicks on a page which makes true analysis very difficult. For example, if you have two buttons both linking to the same page, each button will show as the same quantity of clicks, even if one button gets more clicks than the other[/alert-note]
What is a heatmap?
A heatmap is a visual representation of any page on your site, and a visual representation of where people click, and how many people click on this. Here’s an example of what one might look like. The brighter areas indicate more volume of clicks on the page:
And here’s an example of a video spycam:
Here’s how to set it up on your site
Sign up for a free hotjar account
Go to Hotjar (full disclosure: affiliate link. If I get enough people to sign up, I can get a free Hotjar hoodie! :)) There are other good tools you can use, but I like Hotjar. They allow you to put video cams, heatmaps, and polls on your site, and have a nice free plan as well.
Add your site
If you know how to follow directions, this next bit should be easy. Sign up for the FREE account. While it doesn’t collect as much information, it’s still free, which is awesome.
Install Hotjar code on your site
Ideally you are using a tag management system like Google Tag Manager which will make it easy to deploy tags on your site. Otherwise, you’ll need to go into your CMS and stick the code snippet in the <head> of each page on your site. This code essentially allows Hotjar to record people, collect heatmaps, and deploy polls.
Filter out your IP
Once that is done, go into your settings and remove your own traffic. I’m a stickler about this, because there’s nothing more pointless than watching yourself browse around your own site. To remove your browsing activity, go to account -> IP blocking, and click on the option to filter out your own traffic, and save.
Now just go to record on the left navigation and click on the basic plan. The default settings are fine.
And that’s pretty much it. Depending on the amount of traffic you have coming in, you’ll start to collect recordings pretty quickly. You can also play around with their heatmapping as well, in case you’d like to see where people click on different pages.
The basic plan comes with 100 recordings, which is probably more than adequate, but if you need more, you can always delete the recordings and collect more, or upgrade to one of their paid plans.
So that’s it – in addition to looking at your Google Analytics data, using video spycams with Hotjar can help take your content analytics to the next level. Basically you can see what things people find interesting, and if there are any obstacles that you should address. For example, for me, I saw the load times were extremely crazy long, so obviously doing some site speed optimization – if I was so motivated – would help.
Hope this info makes sense, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
PS. Sign up for Hotjar with this link, to help me win a free hoodie!
Was this information helpful? Why or why not? Thanks for stopping by!