Journal 7

He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts – for support rather than for illumination. (Andrew Lang)

Background on WordPress.com Blog

In case you don’t know, Classy and True is actually a WordPress.com blog (hosted by WordPress) and so it is a little different than sites which only use WordPress technology for themes and content management. This means that I am more limited in what I can do with my blog–more limited than I realized when I chose WordPress.com. For example, there are no plugins available to me and widgets are quite selective. And because I can’t open up my theme and play around with HTML, I cannot use Google Analytics on my blog. This is a huge problem for me.

It’s not that WordPress.com doesn’t have its own analytics, it’s just that Google’s are so detailed and in-depth. I don’t have the same accuracy. I have researched ways in which some users have found been able to install Google Analytics, but the process is somewhat costly and is quite technical for me (I only just learned how to make my font boldface using HTML).

At this point in the semester I am not going to start another blog. I like the way mine looks and most things tend to work for me. However, in the future, the lack of choice in analytics would likely sway my decision when choosing a host for my sites.

My Own Analytics

Okay, enough complaining about something I can’t change at the moment. I’ve spent a little time looking over my WordPress.com analytics:

Blog Stats Visitor Bar Graph

 

So the above chart is a (blurry) example of what I look at each day. This shows the number of visitors that day, all time, and my best ever. It’s pretty helpful to be able to see my months at a glance; it’s even more helpful to look at them by day, but that I don’t get an overall picture.

Clearly, October was a good month for my blog. This is true for a number of reasons:

  • my blog was completely up-and-running
  • I posted more in October than in September
  • I incorporated my social media presence (mostly) into my blog

I also see some things in this chart that give me aspects to work on in my future blog posts:

  • increase comments
  • increase views from each visitor–keep them interested

I’m not sure how I’m going to do these things yet so I’ll have to research this a little more. I think it will just come down to working on how I present my content.

Another tool that I am finding beneficial is the ability to look at where some of my visitors are coming from:

Blog Stats Referrers List

This is a picture of my Referrers Summary for the last quarter (90 days). I think that this is a great place to start finding ways to increase my traffic. Obviously, posiel.com and its various pages are referring me a lot because of its RSS feed and the fact that this blog was designed as an assignment for that website’s Publishing course. To me, this shows how helpful it is to be included in RSS feeds.

Facebook and Twitter are bringing in some traffic, but I’d like to see more from these places. With Twitter, I may need to work on increasing the number of followers who would be interested in the subject matter of my blog. Also, my personal blog, Life is What You Do, is bringing in some traffic for which I am thankful. Being included in more than one blog seems to be another way in which I can increase visits and traffic. I will work on commenting on other blogs and try to make a few friends with similar interests in the blogging community. I know that they’re out there; I just have to connect with them.

Finally, I wanted to include the statistics for my posts:

Blog Stats Top Posts Numbers

I like this chart because it gives me a fairly good idea of the most popular types of content on my site. The only problem is that the majority of my views are attributed to my “Home page/Archives” which is where my new posts show up (as well as in their own categories). This is a little frustrating because I can’t view exactly which posts are the most views. However, the views of each post are somewhat helpful. I know, for example that my essay had a higher viewership so I can assume that it was something that people are interested in. Also, by the number of views of my “A Little About This Website” page, I can tell that it is important to have engaging copy on this type of page because a lot of people look at it. This makes sense.

Closing Thoughts

So with all of this information in mind, I am going to continue to work on my blog. It might be difficult to work with all of my goals at once, but this is a learning process for me so I’ll try to be patient.

Even though I don’t have the ability to work with Google Analytics at this time, I still have some information about how my blog is being viewed and about which things I should work to improve. Ideally, focusing on some of these things will increase my traffic as well as visitors who choose to subscribe to my posts. Really, I just want my writing to be read and (hopefully) enjoyed by as many people as possible.

Thanks for reading,

Kathryn

 

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Journal 4

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. (Charles Dickens)

Incorporating Parts of Myself

I linked my Twitter account to Classy and True today. It turned out to be a lot more difficult than I would have guessed. I couldn’t make the Twitter Timeline widget work how I wanted it to–it wasn’t displaying a live feed–so I did what any mildly-resourceful person in his or her 20’s-50’s would do in this day and age: I googled it. Luckily, there is a huge community of WordPress.com users who are only too willing to share their knowledge and skills with one another. I quickly found a forum which dealt with exactly my problem. Lots of users were having the same difficulty and lots of users were trying to assist in fixing the problem. Halfway down the page, somebody mentioned that she had fixed her own blog’s problem and, although she thought that her mistake was silly, she shared the way in which she dealt with the problem. As it turns out, we were both making the same mistake and her answer completely fixed my Twitter feed.

Emotional/Philosophical Tangent

This is one of the reasons that I don’t completely hate the internet: yes, there are perverts and weirdos and trolls who roam unsightly URLs  and Facebook discussions looking for their next unsuspecting, Angry Birds-playing victim, but there are also millions of people who are willing and happy to share their vast knowledge for no other reason than because they have that knowledge. While the internet has contributed to many people becoming socially awkward and distracted, it has also become an outlet for lots of people to help others using skills that didn’t even exist 20 years ago. I find this to be kind of beautiful in its own way. This resource with which we have a love-hate relationship has opened up innumerable possibilities for providing others with aid.

Reasoning for Incorporation

I attached my Twitter to Classy and True because it is really the only social media I have which is even remotely appropriate for the blog. I don’t mean that I spend my Facebook time cussing and putting up inappropriate pictures of myself because I don’t. However, I’ve had my Facebook account since I was in grade 9, almost 8 years ago. I don’t really think that my 14-year-old self applies to my vision for my blog. In the future I may choose to create a Facebook page which is only for Classy and True, but with me being in my fourth year of university, I just don’t have the time for that at the moment.

My Twitter account is pretty docile, for the most part. I have always had teachers and parents and family as followers so I’ve never said or tweeted anything that wasn’t appropriate for my mother or English 12 teacher. I feel that it would not be difficult for me to tailor my tweets to fit my vision for this blog. This really doesn’t involve much change as many of my tweets tend to focus on human observation and things like language and manners (okay, they’re sometimes rants).

I’ll spend a little time exploring social media options and see if there are any other parts of myself which I would like to attach to Classy and True, but I do want to keep this blog relatively simple. Maybe I’m old fashioned enough to believe that (hopefully) good writing should speak for itself and gain followers of content rather than purely presentation.

Anyways, have a good week! I’ll be back soon with more journal entries and blog posts.

Kassieboo