With any blog that I own or operate there are just a few things I want to know about the people who come to visit. There are many, many different items of statistical data that I could analyze about blog visitors, but for the most part it really boils down to just 3 questions:
- Who are you?
- What are you looking at?
- How did you get here?
That’s it. That’s all I really want to know. I think you’ll find that these 3 questions cover the most important areas of visitor tracking and they also provide a good ruler to measure how well your blog is doing.
Let me break down these questions and explain what they mean to me:
- Who are you? – When I ask this I’m not after a visitor’s name or what they do for a living. I want to know if you are a new visitor, a returning visitor, a search engine spider, etc. User agents, IP addresses and browser cookies do a pretty good job of separating this info out, and this info can then be broken down into their individual parts.
- What are you looking at? – When someone is browsing through a blog of mine, I am interested in knowing which post they are reading. Tracking this data for enough time will tell me what posts are more valuable or relevant to what people want.
- How did you get here? – I am always interested in knowing how people found their way to my blog. Did they run a search on Google? Direct visit? Click on a link at another site? Did someone email a post? This kind of information is invaluable in determining where my blog is being mentioned and how well known it is.
These 3 questions tell me almost everything I want to know that can help me provide a better blog for my visitors. If I know how many visitors, what they’re looking for and where they’re finding me, I can better prepare my blog to provide blog visitors with what they’re looking for.
If you look at the answers to these questions for a while you will probably start looking into another important area, and that is why your visitors are leaving your site. Looking at exit pages and the duration of visits can also be vital information in determining the health of your blog.
What things do you want to know about your blog visitors? What do you use to help keep track of this information?