It’s been a hot second since I checked in here on A Touch of Teal! So, hi! How are you?
Unfortunately, while many of my friends were off at brunch yesterday, I was in the office putting in a full day’s work. You see, we have our annual take your kids to work day event on Presidents Day since all the kids have off from school. My team is in charge of planning and executing it, and while the day-of is so much fun, it’s also a lot of work! We were in the office on Sunday setting everything up, and that severely cut into my blogging time—but don’t worry, I have two more posts coming your way this week.
I recently wrote about My Top 5 Blogging Tools. Many of you enjoyed reading it, and I loved picking up a few tips myself in the comments! So I thought today I would share the digital tools I use week after week. Blogging is a 100% digital hobby after all! Since I already talked about Dropbox Pro and Adobe Creative Suite, I won’t spend time covering those here but am planning to start some more CS tutorials here on A Touch of Teal soon.
When pulling together this post, I realized I am extremely lucky because while I go to PR grad school mostly for my day job, it really does help with my passion project—blogging. This semester I’m in a Digital Analytics and Measurement and Digital Crisis Communications. Both courses have really helped my arsenal of online tools I can put to work for me to make A Touch of Teal even better. I’m so excited to be sharing them with you today!
BIT.LY & BIT.LY+
Many of you are familiar with bitly.com, but for those of you that are not, you can copy and paste any URL you want to share and it’ll shorten it to a link that looks something like this: bit.ly/1nhjPlY. I love this because it takes up way less characters on Twitter and you can even customize the slug if you want. For instance, “1nhjPlY” could have been something like “mango-pineapple-cocktails.” Not only does bit.ly shorten your links, if you make an account, they give you analytics for each of your specific links. Information is power!
Perhaps the most powerful thing about bit.ly links is the competitive analysis they provide. You can take any bit.ly link and add a “+” to the end of it to view the analytics for that link even if it’s not your bit.ly link! (I would be a great digital spy, y’all.)
For instance, my recent post What I (Actually) Wear to Work, Vol 2 was shared with the bit.ly link: bit.ly/1nhjPlY. All you have to do to see the analytics for that link is add a plus sign to the URL like this: bit.ly/1nhjPlY+ (note: you may have to be logged into your bit.ly account to see the data). Then, you can see what social media platform the clicks on that link came from, who is also sharing this link, where in the world it’s being shared, and the distribution of clicks by day. If the article is shared by multiple bit.ly links, it aggregates all the data for you. Pretty cool, right?
Crazy Egg would be an invaluable tool if you’re considering a site re-design because they provide heat and scroll maps for your website. These maps allow you to see where people are clicking the most on your site, which might indicate a great place to put a call-to-action or stoppable links, and how far down the page they scroll, which could inform decisions on how many posts to put on your homepage.
While Crazy Egg is a paid service, billed monthly, they do offer 30-day trials, which probably provide enough data for any redesign project you have going on! If your site is more editorial in design, as opposed to a traditional blog design, it could be helpful to have a Crazy Egg account all the time so the you can make informed decisions about where to put what content since the content layout of those kinds of sites is usually more in flux. Crazy Egg also offers a WordPress plugin, which makes it super easy to get your account set up so they can track your site.
I am going to go ahead and assume all of you are using Google Analytics! If you aren’t, you’re really missing out on the industry-standard analytics tracking software that is FREE and provides nearly 400 metrics.
Like many of you, I use this to keep track of standard metrics, such as page views per month, unique visitors per month, bounce rate, and average duration on my site. But what I find even more enlightening than those metrics is that Google Analytics provides a lot of data on how people use my site. For instance, did you know by navigating to Behavior > All Pages you can see what your most popular posts are? The chart below shows my most popular posts over the past calendar year. As I am working on future posts ideas, knowing what drives traffic to my site is a great insight to have. (I feel like Chris Keller is out there somewhere trolling my page ;]).
You can also see in real-time how many people are on your site, and what pages they’re viewing (Nathan Scott, is that you?). My Digital Analytics professor works at National Geographic and they display this real-time map on televisions in the lobby of their office—how cool is that?!
(Note—I am writing this post on a Saturday, and I didn’t have a new post today. I usually find most real-time users are on my most recent post so this screen grab is kind of an anomaly!)
Google Analytics also helps you keep track of your referral traffic—aka what other sites are driving traffic to your site. Below is a screen grab of my referral traffic over the past year. You’ll note Facebook and Twitter are the two highest drivers of referral traffic to my site. Because I have this insight, I know that these are two social media platforms I should be spending a lot of my time—and maybe even some money—on.
Within your referral traffic, you can drill down even farther and see what specific links are driving traffic to your site. For instance, if I click on Pinterest, I can see which of my pins have performed the best, or what specific posts from Monica’s site users are finding my blog through.
(PS. If you want to see more of my Google Analytics, be sure to check out my Reader Survey Recap!)
So, I hope this post was helpful and not a round-up of digital tools you see everywhere else! I’ll be sure to share more insights on how to leverage programs like this to gain valuable insights on your blog as the semester progresses. But now I’d love to know—what are your favorite digital blogging tools?
*** SHOP THIS POST ***
White Foam Board
Nikon 35mm Lens
Nikon 50mm Lens
Eyefi Mobi Memory Card
Zella Live-in Leggings
Lands End Striped Tunic—mine is from 2008, here’s the current version
Tory Burch Fitbit Leather Wrap Bracelet
Double Stud Pearl Earrings
Kendra Scott Jordan Ring
OPI Alpine Snow
OPI French Quarter for Your Thoughts
Clip Corner Nail Headboard
Pottery Barn Essential Duvet Cover
The Blush Label Bombay Pillows
Photo by Alicia
UPDATE! After seeing my post, the nice folks over at Crazy Egg wanted to offer all Touch of Teal readers 60 DAYS FREE! You can sign up by clicking HERE.
Love this post! Thanks for sharing, I’ve been using bit.ly for awhile now but haven’t taken advantage of the analytics so looking forward to doing that now. I’m also always so curious how others are using google analytics so this was great. Hope your event went well!
Erin, Attention to Datling Blog
So glad you liked it Erin! Thanks so much on the event as well – went off without a hitch! xx
So glad you liked it Erin! Thanks so much on the event as well – went off without a hitch! xx
Great post! I actually have a Google Analytics question for you! I’ve been wracking my brains trying to figure out how to prevent GA from recognizing MY OWN logins as traffic to my blog, so it doesn’t count towards views, etc. I followed GA’s instructions of going to Admin and filtering out the IP addresses that I use to access my site, and it worked! For a hot minute! Now it seems like its recognizing my logins again 🙁
You seem like you know a lot about Google Analytics – do you have any tips/suggestions?
Thank you so much! Oh no! Whenever I filter out my own IP address, I do it like you do by setting up a filter – it’s tied to your IP address so just make sure you have them all correct. I would also consider posting on the Google Analytics Forum, they are pretty helpful over there! I wish I could be more help.
Great tips! I’m signing up for Crazy Egg, like now!
So worth it! xx
I use both bit.ly and Google Analytics, but I have never heard of Crazy Egg. Sounds interesting and I will definitely be checking it out. Thanks for the recommendation!
Clothes & Quotes
Of course! xx
Great tips! Never used bit.ly but I thought about it:)
Thanks lady! Definitely give it a whirl and let me know what you think. xx
Hey KTU –
Check out Curalate (a dream for when you go fully monetized – the visualization platforms are amazing and it’s basically a shop-able Instagram platform!) http://www.curalate.com/
Spredfast is an AMAZING conversation tracker as well, awesome visualizations and search capabilities across platforms to understand share of voice and impact. https://www.spredfast.com/
🙂 nice work on TOT
Thanks so much Hallie! You’re the best. xx
Great tips! I’ve been using bit.ly forever for both work and blogging and had no idea about the + sign trick!
I just learned it last week and it BLEW MY MIND! xx
Hi, i love Buffer which allows me to share and schedule posts. I will look at the Bitly site. Buffer allows you to choose Bitly to shorten your URLs. Thanks for sharing. I hope you will consider linking up this valuable info at Literacy Musing Mondays this week. 🙂
Oh Buffer sounds like great app! I will definitely have to check it out. Thanks for the rec!
These are such great tools! I love using bit.ly and google analytics…they are so useful!
This is such a great post – I love tips and tricks like these. I mean, I do use Bit.ly links for shortening up some tweets…but I’ve never made an account to be able to track the analytics. I’m clearly missing out and need to get on that!
Something About That
I need to make a bit.ly account like ASAP because I never knew you could view your analytics on there! So handy. Also I’ve never heard of Crazy egg either so I am going to have to check that out later this year when I’m in the market for a re-design.
Thanks so much for sharing!
I’ve never heard of Crazy Egg before! I am DEFINITELY going to look into that! Thanks for sharing your favorite sites 🙂
Aaaaaaand I’m bookmarking this! I feel like I really fail on the technology side of things for bloggers, so I can’t wait to try the stuff you mentioned here. (Like the + to a bitly link…??? How did you find this out???)
Also… I don’t use Google analytics which is so silly of me… but I tried it once and it didn’t work so I gave up. 🙂 I’ll have to tackle it again! Thanks so much Katie for all these great resources. xo
Kelsey | http://www.abalancingpeach.com
Thanks for sharing these! It’s always really great when you learn things in your classes that you can really apply to real life (and esp blogging)! My Marketing Management class last week was a lot of digital tool talk – including GA and I immediately started thinking blog stuff too 🙂
There’s definately a great deal to know about this issue. I like all of the points you’ve made.