Set up your Google Analytics, then throw it away

I setup Google Analytics to track this website since I got some very good information about Avinash’s website on how to. I was consistently a “ data junkie” and was from the same school of thought that says: “We’ve always thought data and facts will have to drive
the company. We used to say, ‘In God we trust. Everyone else brings
data.
” – Infosys Murthy.

I understand if you are running an ecommerce site that these stats matter a lot, but for a blog I am not sure anymore. Neither for a community is my thinking currently. Yes, they look good and you feel great, but if you do take action on certain trends without understanding them, you get to “unintended consequences”.

So here’s the top 3 things my Google analytics data has told me that’s somewhat conflicting.

1. Most visitors come between 8 am and noon. But the network pattern shows Comcast Cable Communications – which is primarily  a home cable system I think. So are most of the readers viewing this during business hours from home?

2. Search engines refer ~30% traffic to this site (Primarily Google followed by MSN Live). There has been much research talking about the fact that users who search click only on the top 5 items they get on their search results page. None of the terms that people have searched on and come to my site appear within the top 2 PAGES of the results page. Go figure.

3. The # one search term that I get referred to is “Smart Phone”. Except one article which I wrote about Google’s Android, I have nothing else about SmartPhone. The explanation is that is on the terms getting lots of people to search i.e. its a “fat head” search term. If before that post I had to look for keywords that people searched on so I could “cater” to my audience then I should have avoided that term.

Bottom line: When it comes to content and community, do what you believe is right, listen to you readers / community participants and review your analytics, but dont pay too much attention to the analytics.

Picture courtsey: Avinash website.

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