Ontario Journalist, Writer, Photography & Filmmaker

Internetworking Pt IX – Tracking Your Progress

Wow!  When I first started this series of articles, I never imagined it would get to a Pt IV let along a Pt IX!

How do you track your progress with regard to the success of your online efforts – your own website and social media?  There are a few tools that can give you some insights into how well your online presence is optimised.  Of course, you can look at the number of people who ‘Like’ your Facebook Page or the number of followers you have on Twitter but those are sort of cursory numbers.  Twitter followers are often a ‘me too’ type of activity.  We follow those who others follow.  Often someone hits the Like button on a Facebook Page because they know the person or they’re a friend of a friend.

I’m not going to get into Facebook stats in this article (maybe in a Pt X) but will suggest a few tools that can help tell you how well your online presence is set up and how it might be improved.

First, a good website hosting company will provide you with a statistics package that lets you track all kinds of activity on your website.  It will tell you how many unique IP addresses visit in a given month, how many visits people make (some IP addresses may visit multiple times) and how many pages are viewed.  Some stats packages also tell you how long people are spending on your site.  This is valuable information about engagement.  Some will tell  you what pages of your site are the most popular.  You should also have stats on what search terms people are using to find your site.  If your hosting company doesn’t offer such a package then (a) you might consider finding a new host or (b) you can sign up for Google Analytics which will give you much of the same information.  Personally I don’t find Google Analytics to be as good as what’s offered by my hosting company but it’s certainly better than nothing.

There are a few other tools that can also help in optimising your online presence.  Marketinggrader.com offers pretty good insight into how well your site or blog is set up from a marketing standpoint – that is, how easy is it for people to find you and how easy is it for them to do business with you.  It’s not perfect and has some missing elements but the information it provides can still be useful.  There is high level, free information but you can also pay for more intensive information.  I don’t bother paying.  I find the high level information useful enough and can make any desired tweaks to my site based on the free information.

The last tool I’ll talk about in this article is Klout.  Klout is a tool that tries to measure how effective your social media efforts are.  It takes into account a number of social media outlets and comes up with a score.  Again, it’s not perfect but it does provide some insight.  It’s particularly useful for Twitter and how people are engaging with you on Twitter.  With some of its new features like lists and Klout Perks it seems as though Klout is trying to be a social network itself.  The insight it provides into your activity is the more useful aspect of it though.

So there you have it.  A few tools to help measure the effectiveness of your online presence.  What tools are you using and how are you measuring the success of your online efforts?  Feedback always welcomed!