Google Analytics: Taking stalking to another level

You guys? I have a fever. And then only thing that can cure it is more Google Analytics.

Sadly, that’s not the geekiest thing I’ve typed this week.

I’m head-over-heels in love with the new Google Analytics real-time. It’s my newest blog obsession. Any blogger who tells you she or he hasn’t been unnatrually obsessed with their analytics at some point in the blogging game is lying to you. Straight up lying. We all do it. If we didn’t, there wouldn’t be so many posts on weird Google keywords, hmmm?

Google Analytics real-time allows you to watch your blog traffic as it happens,  and includes information about top referrers, keywords, locations and pages. A moving graph tracks your traffic visually, showing you how many visitors stopped by your blog within a certain interval of time, and how long they stayed. There is even a chart that shows you new visitors vs returning visitors.

Basically, it’s boss.

Google Analytics real-time is still in beta, so you have to ask Google nicely for it by filling out this form. I got an email invitation within 10 minutes, and I’m nobody special, so I think anybody is “in”.

After you get that email, you have to get the “new version” of Google Analytics by clicking on a link in the top Nav bar of the page:


Next step: Click on the “Home” button, then click “Real-Time (Beta)” in the left navigation.

Google Analytics

Click “Overview” and you’ll see this beautimous screen below.

Image of a screen shot for Google Analytics real time

Now you can see who is popping onto your site, what they are reading, and where they live. So that person from Tulsa who read through all my Baby Blogworthy posts last week for at least 30 minutes – hi, welcome, hope you’re not a creeper.

See, this is stalker-level information right here, especially if you have a blog that doesn’t get a ton of traffic. If I know you live in, say, West Virginia, and I see someone from West Virginia click onto my blog — I’ll know you’re looking at my blog at that moment. I’ve had to stop myself many times from saying “Hi, friend, are you enjoying my post?”

But there are some non-stalker ways you can use this tool to improve your post amplification.

  • Check out Google Analytics real-time immediately after you share your content on a social media platform so you can see if that platform is bringing in traffic at that time. If you’ve shared on Twitter and no one clicks, share again later in the day and see if that time yields better results.
  • Review your traffic referral sources and see who is referring the most traffic. This is especially helpful when you’ve participated in link-ups, which can drive a ton of traffic to your blog. If one weekly link-up sends traffic, consider participating in this link-up regularly.
  • Are visitors stopping by your site and then leaving, or are they clicking deeper into your blog? If your bounce rate is high, link more of your posts or use the LinkWithin widget to keep visitors sticky.
  • If you’re at the right place at the right time, you can witness the power of social sharing. A couple weeks ago I Stumbled a post and a few minutes later saw almost 100 people on my blog at one time. I’ve never seen how a shared link can snowball into that much traffic, and I guess seeing is believing because now I’m 100% sold on StumbleUpon. (If you don’t know how to use it, check out this article from SITS and this one from Eli|Rose.) Same applies to RTs or Facebook shares.
  • Top Keywords can help you determine what brings visitors organically to your site and can help you streamline your content, write more about top keywords and improve your writing. In my case, I write about television and celebrities; if I get traffic with keywords about a certain show I love, I know I could focus on that show and get more organic search engine traffic. For me, it makes SEO more tangible.

Have you tried Google Analytics real-time? Have you learned anything about your blog as a result?

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