Google Analyze This
10 days ago my new modular lab website went live, and I was prepared with Google Analytics at my side. For those of you who aren’t yet addicts, Google Analytics is the 21st century version of visitor counting widgets that adorned the bottom of Early Internet webpages. In ways that continue to amaze me as I explore the site’s capabilities, Google Analytics indulges every nerdy, statistical impulse to graph who is actually visiting your site; where in the world are they; how they navigate your site, page-by-page, click-by-click; and compare one of the many usage stats against any other.
With that preamble out of the way, here are some snapshots of my site’s traffic data after a week and a half in wild. First, take a look at daily unique visitors. The site officially launched two Wednesdays ago, but I didn’t commence the social media roll out until the following morning. As a rule of thumb, Fridays and the weekend are traffic killers (the first trough after the initial surge). The 4th of July presented headwinds after traffic flow resumed on Monday July 2.
The bounce rate seems high to me, but then again if I reflect on my browsing habits I can’t say I’m that surprised. Oh, and the returning visitor is probably me. I used two strategies to stimulate traffic. First, I emailed a direct link to dozens of academic contacts, as well as friends and family. Second, I shared a direct link on Facebook, and I tweeted a link to the homepage, and links to specific single page posts. I also shared and tweeted press and science blog coverage about my new site.
So does all that tweeting matter, as was recently claimed? Yes, in fact, I think tweeting makes a huge difference! Here’s a nice example.
You’re looking at visits to my site on Monday July 2. See the spike around 11AM? That was generated by a tweet sent by
Dan MacArthur (@dgmacarthur), a geneticist in Boston with over 6,000 followers me about using the Mendeley API to host journal club discussions about papers of interest on my website (Apologies for the initial incorrect attribution). That tweet was retweeted by 13 people to 1000s of their cumulative followers. These Twitter-generated spikes were apparent each day last week. In fact, to show how important Twitter was overall, here’s a breakdown of all referral traffic.
That’s it for now! Thanks for your interest, and stay tuned for future updates as the site matures…