Same is true for search engine rankings. If you don't track what your progress is, then you won't know what to change in order to improve your rankings.
So we deal with ranktracking and analytics.
Ranktracking ToolsI've done a lot of recommending in The Online Sunshine Plan, and it's mostly around Ranktracker. Originally, this was the only decent tool I could find which would give me keyword data. And I didn't actually use their ranktracking much. Later, as I had to start making my research pay, I got it again and did some regular ranktracking. It is a good ranktracking tool, but has an annual subscription, with another one for "updates". So it was running me about $150 a year. That's nearly as much as I was paying for my autoresponder service.
I quit both as I found replacement programs.
SimplyCast, as you know, is an easier (cheaper) autoresponder for people just starting out.
Market Samurai has now been upgrading their ranktracking part of that program and will allow you a certain amount of keywords to check for free - and they do that checking for you. During the beta, it's 50 keywords, but they intend to drop that to 10 when this is over. But they track the keywords weekly for you - you just have to login to get your updates.
Which is exactly the problem a lot of these ranktracking programs have - you need to run them manually. They hog your bandwidth and are another program to have running on your computer. Market Samurai you can leave open, or just open once a week when you are checking how you are doing.
Market Samurai is a one-time purchase (less than an annual subscription to Ranktracker) and lets you buy only as much ranktracking as you need. So it makes more sense for someone just starting out.
In short, get all you can.
We've covered Google Analytics. And that tool feeds right into Google, so you can write more copy according to what they say you are already ranking for. Your ranktracking above will tell you more, as it's independent of being signed into Google personally. (There are also goals you can set in Google Analytics, and tie in any adsense campaigns, etc. I just haven't really gone there as yet.)
Another set of analytics is your own server, which can be found on your cpanel hosting. This pulls data directly from the server and so is the only really accurate set of data on what keyword they came in with and so on.
But Google tells you what they showed your page as - even if no one clicked through on it.
The trick is to take that list of keywords Google made and run them through your Market/Domain Samurai program to see if any are really commercially worth a hoot.
If you use bit.ly, you can get some analytics from them on who clicked through on various links. As well, good affiliate programs will tell you some of this - so they will back each other up.
AddThis has it's own analytics for people sharing your content.
And you can probably find more. While the server analytics are paid by your own hosting fees, the rest are all free.
An analytics sequence - how to review against your goals.No, I never got down to this in the book - at least that I could find. There was a blog post once, but Lord knows which one it was on...
So a simple rundown:
- You have your basic keywords and all that market research.
- And you are at least running ranktracking on your main keywords.
- So you can look up Google Analytics and download what they says you are ranking for.
- Cross-check these for both commercial worth, and to see if these showed up in any of your market research.
- You can also get your analytics off your server to see what you are actually being clicked for - and see if these are worth pursuing.
- And any other analytics (bit.ly, Addthis, etc.) to see what pages are being effective at getting links.
- From all these, boil down what you are ranking for and compare this against what you want to be ranking for.
- Then decide against actual income - what affiliate or product sales you had that week, and where they came from - how and what content to produce which would increase your leads, conversions, and sales.
- (You aren't interested in traffic so much, as buyers.)
- And narrow that to what content you can actually produce that week - which includes posting it to your mini-nets and doing the bookmarking/RSS ping sequence.
- Next week, start from the top. But try to keep to the same overall goal, unless you suddenly become very successful from an unexpected quarter.
If you schedule your data collection and analysis for Monday, main content on Tues, remote posting, bookmarking, and RSS feed pings for Wedneday, you can then go out into your community and leave valuable comments which contribute to the community the rest of the week - or improve your sales funnel - or write that next newsletter.
This is your part-time schedule, though. After you get home from your day job.
And yes, it's a schedule. You are working about a 60 hour week - 40 at your job and 20 at your passion. But you still run both as a business. Businesses have goals, statistics, to-do lists, marketing plans, and accountability.
Doesn't mean you don't have time with your spouse and family. And I don't mention you taking your weekends for anything. But you do take a serious look at this and do a regular schedule to earn that extra income. Anything less is simply a hobby.
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I was casting about for freebies and didn't find any appropriate to this. (Like no one actually does this?!?)
There is this page from Market Samurai on how to use their ranktracking and why it's important.
However, I did find this one: "How to Live on 24 Hours A Day."