The following is a guest post from Dustin Stout.
A lot can be accomplished in 365 days. And unless you take the time to properly evaluate the last 365 days, how can you have a proper perspective of what you can expect in the next 365 days?
Do you have a yearly review process for your blog? Have you scheduled a day to look back on what you’ve accomplished in the past year? Do you have the proper perspective to start dreaming for the year to come?
Over the past few years I’ve refined my yearly review process. I’ve nowhere near perfected it, but it has been a great way of helping me to realign with my goals and plan for the future.
In this post I want to share with you my review process.
Set the date
I schedule out 4 hours on the last Saturday of the year. Nothing else is scheduled in that time slot. I go somewhere I can focus without being interrupted (like the local Starbucks) and bring my laptop, notebook, and a pen. I set my Google Analytics time frame from Jan. 1 of that year all the way to the current day. Then I meticulously go through and record all the metrics that are important to my site’s growth.
Below are the 8 primary metrics that I look at when going through my Google Analytics.
- Unique Visitors
- The number of individuals who have visited your blog.
- The number of pages that were viewed on your blog.
- Pages per Visit
- The average number of pages each individual views before leaving your site.
- Social Actions
- The number of +1s, Tweets, Likes, and other social media actions that Google is able to track.
- Traffic Sources
- The various ways people are finding or clicking through to your site.
- Refferal sites
- The websites that are sending you visitors because of a direct link to your site.
- Visits by Social Network
- The social networks that are sending you visitors because of a posted link to your site.
- Bounce Rate
- The percentage of people who visit your site and never view any other pages besides the one they landed on before leaving.
And any other little metrics here and there that I’m curious about– there are tons of things to look through.
What got me there
Once I’ve recorded all the most important metrics I compare them to my ACTIONS taken– what did I do that garnered these results:
- How many blog posts did I publish?
- How active was I on specific social networks?
- How much did I engage outside of my own site?
The biggest factor for me though is the first one– how many times did I hit “Publish”?
Once I know this, I can then go discover which posts had the most page views for the year. This will tell me which types of content are the most successful, and which ones I should probably never do again.
Setting next year’s goals
Once I’ve gathered all of this data, I can decide where my successes and failures were. From there I begin to set next year’s goals, along with specific actions to accomplish them.
- XXX,XXX amount of Unique visitors
- XXX,XXX amount of Page views
- XX,XXX amount of Social Actions
- XX,XXX amount of visits from Social Networks
- X pages/visit
- X% bounce rate
- Write a book… etc.
It’s not enough though to just set goals– you must also come up with specific actions that will bring about your goals. Here’s some examples of actions I have decided to take to reach my own goals:
- Write more frequently and consistently (publish “x” amount of blogs per week)
- Spend more time networking (make “x” amount of new connections per week)
- Spend more time sharing other people’s work than my own work
- Read books “X”, “Y”, and “Z”.
I am still refining the process and my capacity to execute it better. I thought I’d at least share it with this community though and see what your thoughts are.
I would love to hear if you have a similar process in the comments.
Better yet, if you have any ideas that I haven’t mentioned here, please share them!
Dustin Stout is a graphic artist, social media enthusiast, and self-proclaimed technology addict. He writes about faith, creativity, and social media on his blog, Dustn.tv.