This is a reprint from a how-to article for writers that appeared in my Sharing with Writers newsletter.
Some people are infatuated with figures.
I'm really not. I'm a big-picture girl. I don't believe that if a blog draws "only" 50 or 500 it's of no value. Where is the cutoff number anyway? Ask instead, how does that blog work with the other promotions you're doing? It's how things work together--mostly--that makes a difference.
Still, it's sometimes nice to measure what we're doing—especially if we remember not to let low numbers (or what we perceive as low numbers) discourage us but instead use them as prompts to do something to get them up there. So, here's how I set up and use Google Analytics the super-fast and super-easy way.
1. You probably already have a Google account. If not, get one. Go to Google.com to do it. They may ask you to set up a Google gmail account. Don't worry. You can use it or ignore it.
2. Set up your profile. Find the "Add New Profile" and click. It works about like profiles everywhere--from Amazon to Facebook. You'll be lead through the steps. And having it will make it easy to comment on blogger or blogspot blogs.
3. Find your "Google Analytics" link. Click. There you will get some code that you copy and paste (the fancy name is HTML code) at the end of the Web pages you'd like to track. You can also add some code to your blogs. You'll want separate code for each place you want to track.
4. Add the analytics codes to places you want to track at your leisure. This is not a marathon. Give some thought to what figures will be most indicative of your success and add them one at a time.
5. Go back to your Google Analytics every so often. Not every day. Not every 10 minutes! You want to have time to write, not analyze numbers! Nose around the links you find there. One gives you a pie chart of where your visitors are coming from (direct, links or whatever). Another tells you what country your visitors are coming from. It's like a mini geography lesson!
Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. Her FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.
Writers who seek information on promoting their writing careers and the craft of writing may sign at www.howtodoitfrugally.com. Look in the left column for a signup window. The newsletter even includes a tips for poets each week.