Imagine, running a quarter of a mile, leaping over 10 three-foot hurdles in just 47.02 seconds. Average athletes can’t pull this off. Even world-class athletes would swallow hard before taking on this challenge. For Edwin Moses, it was just another day in the office.
Moses’ thoroughly dominated the 400 meter event setting 4 world records during his career. He once went nine years, nine months, and nine days without losing a single race.
What caught my attention is how he mastered the event.
Until Edwin Moses, everyone ran the 400 meter hurdles the same way. They exploded off the blocks, skimmed the first hurdle, took precisely 13 steps, cleared the next hurdle, and repeated the process 8 more times. Many believed that the key to winning the hurdles was taking the 13 steps faster.
Edwin decided to take a different approach and spent months analyzing the “typical” race.
His analysis focused on those 13 steps between hurdles. He realized that his incredible 9-foot 9-inch stride could shorten the distance between hurdles to just 12 steps. That meant that over 10 hurdles he would eliminate 10 steps practically guaranteeing that he would crush his rivals – which he did for nine years.
Although Moses had the talent and drive to naturally capture his fair share of first place medals, he pushed for more. His edge was an unrelenting worth ethic (he was called the Bionic Man) and unwavering dedication to winning by the numbers.
Don’t Leave Success Up to Chance
I challenge you to take the same numbers-approach to your blog.
Work the numbers. Find your personal sweet spot where you minimize your effort and maximize results. Work hard to hone your advantage and steadily gain ground over your competitors. We’ll talk about this more in the future but today I want to set the foundation for your numbers-based approach to winning.
Set-up Google Analytics
Pencil in an time to spend 30 minutes every Friday reviewing your blog’s performance via Google Analytics (GA). I promise that you’ll start seeing practical ways to improve your blog once you’ve made this numbers review a habit.
Step #1: Sign up for Google Analytics at Google.
Step #2: Use the Google Analyticator Plugin to automatically add your GA code to your WordPress blog pages.
Configure Your Goals
Your goals are what gets you up in the morning to blog. It’s how you keep score. You can approach your goals anyway you like – just have them. From a numbers point of view, select a goal that requires a reader to take an action. At Pushing Social we track email signups. For you it might be tracking the download of an ebook. Once you’ve decided, set up your “Goal” in Google Analytics.
Click the gear on the right hand side and then “Goals”
Name your Goal and enter the “confirmation” page your visitor sees when they’ve completed the process. If you are tracking email subscribers, this would be your “Thank You For Subscribing” page URL.
Use the same process to set-up goals for important events throughout your blog.
You can even set-up a goal to track your comments. Kristi Hines tells you how to get it done here.
Advanced segments help you get specific information about your visitors. For example. you can use advanced segments to see how many email subscribers came from social media channels.
Step #1: Name Your Segment
You can create an advanced segment to keep track of everything from social media visitors, to readers who arrive from an email.
Step #2 Set the Conditions
To track social channels, add social channel URLs, like t.co for twitter, and plus.google.com for Google+.
In the example, I’ve set up a Social Media Advanced segment to group visitors who arrive from social channels, the “Source”.
Keep an Eye on These Metrics
Once you catch the Google Analytics bug its easy to get caught in “Analysis Paralysis” spending hours poring over every arcane data point you can dig up. Instead, select a few metrics that you will keep track of during your Friday review time. Look for major trends and spikes that can help you zero in on a problem or take advantage of an opportunity.
I recommend you focus on these to start:
Visitor Referral Source: Keep track of what sites are sending you traffic, commenters, and subscribers. This information will help you find potential guest post opportunities channels that should get more attention.
Average Time on Page: Studies show that the average college student reads between 250 – 350 words per minute. If you normally write 700 word posts then you’ll hope that that readers spend at least 2 minutes on a page. You’ve got trouble if readers are hanging around for only 30 seconds.
Top Content: Review the top posts by visits for the month, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months. Use this information to zero in on content “home runs” that you can replicate for future posts.
Bounce Rate: Bounce rate measures how many readers leave your site after after visiting just one page. High bounce rates can point to a site with poorly targeted visitors, ineffective call-to-action, or scattered topic selection.
Yes, You Can Do This…
Take one small action today. If you have Google Analytics then take a little time to check the metrics that we’ve discussed. If you don’t have Google Analytics set-up then go ahead and sign-up for an account (it’s free) and install the Google Analyticator plugin.
Last, give me a shout out in the comments with any questions or insights you have.