When you’re working hard to run a blog and produce regular content, and maybe you also have a website going, then there are updates on Twitter and Facebook and Linked in and and and…it’s a lot to keep track of.
How do you know what’s working?
How can you measure your web success?
Eventually, better sooner than later, you’re going to need to consider using some metrics tools to track what’s working, what’s not, what you should do more of, and what you might not want to be spending your time on.
If you’ve never run any metrics, or measurements on your blog or site, the idea can be daunting. But no worries, we’ll get you going.
There are scads of tools and services out there to track everything; to measure just about anything. Some of the tools cost, and some are totally free. So, to get you started and to help you cut through the chatter, I’m recommending the following FREE tools to help you measure your growing success.
1. Google Alerts http://Google.com/alerts
I consider this tool a must. Once you set up your alert terms you’ll be notified any time that term comes up on Google. In a nutshell, you put in the term you want to watch such as your name, your blog title, competitors, or important terms. Start out with only a few terms and see how many alerts you get. This tool will help you keep track of conversation about you/your sites. Note: if only want alerts on a specific term and not all the words contained in a term, put the term in quotes. Example “Zen copy” will only give me results on the whole term (which is what I want) rather than each mention of both zen and copy across the web.
2. Google Analytics http://www.google.com/analytics/
Most people either love or hate google analytics. You can love it because it’s free and gives you oodles of information. And you can hate it because it can be daunting and gives you oodles of information. But the bottom line is, you can gather a lot of very important data with Google; from the number of people who visit your site, to where they came from, who is linking to you, and on and on into the night. If you use nothing else to track your blog or website success, try Google analytics. On a very simple level you sign up for an account, get your personal “code,” put the code into the html of your site, and then it starts collecting data for you. If your a Google analytics newbie, check out this post on Google Analytics for Beginners.
3. Hubspot http://websitegrader.com/
Website grader is a cinch to use – just go the websitegrader.com and put in your url (and competitor’s sites if you want), and then click on “generate report.” You’ll get information like number of inbound links to your site. The grading algorithm uses “50 different variables including search engine data, website structure, approximate traffic, site performance, and others.” It’s a nice tool for seeing a snapshot of your site so you could go back every so often and see how you’re improving.
4. Hubspot http://bloggrader.com/
Hubspot also has a blog grader that gives insights into blog traffic, technical features (like whether you have a feed link or not), content and engagement. You can get some quick info on your blog and it’w worth taking a look at your blog through this tool, though don’t expect a lot of depth.
5. Social Visibility http://howsociable.com
This fun tool measures “brand visibility” across social sites. It looks at 32 metrics, from those most people are familiar with such as Twitter and Facebook and Wikipedia, to sites such as Photobucket and Ning. It’s a great way to see some social sites you might be less familiar with (if your site has no presence on those sites you’ll get a score of 0 for each one), and to consider broadening your site brand onto those avenues.
SEO book tools has a number of freebies that will give you some important information and you can put some of the tools right on your browser toolbar so they are always accessible. You can check for your website rankings in Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft Live search. Some of the tools include:
keyword suggestion tool: http://tools.seobook.com/keyword-tools/seobook/
search engine rank checkers http://tools.seobook.com/rank-checkers/
If you’re interested in growth for your blog and site, measurement is important so you can make informed decisions. Start with one tool and go from there. Don’t feel like you have to do everything at once. And keep in mind that no tool will give you exact numbers. Whether you’re using a paid or free tool, nothing is 100% accurate. You’re just trying to keep an eye on trends, increases and declines.
I’d love to hear about web tools you use and love – leave a comment!
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photo by oddsock