The Day I Fell in Love With Data: A Google Analytics Love Story
Today’s blog post is written by our friend and fellow data lover, Ashley Haugen. Her editorial and management experience has spanned both digital and print formats across local and national markets throughout her career and she currently serves as the Managing Editor at Styleblueprint.com. Keep reading to find out more about Ashley and her love affair with data.
I’ve been an editor for nearly two decades. Having worked on both print and digital publications on both local and national levels. But the day that I was introduced to Google Analytics felt like a rebirth — I fell in love with my work in ways I hadn’t felt in years!
This…is my Google Analytics love story.
The Day it All Began...
I was running a print magazine at the time — one publication in a family of a few. Though my magazine had a web presence, the print publication was my main focus. I basically threw the print content on the website each month and would toss in the occasional web exclusive from time to time as well.
Our IT and web design department was tiny but mighty — two guys and a gal. One of the guys, Freddie, asked me to attend a meeting one morning to go over Google Analytics and SEO, neither of which were terms I was familiar with. But after that morning when he projected his screen and walked us through the Google Analytics dashboard, I was a changed woman. An analytics devotee. A data junkie who, from that point forward, has been posting, measuring and fine-tuning. I now live for pageviews and uncovering organic traffic search terms!
"After that morning when he projected his screen and walked us through the Google Analytics dashboard, I was a changed woman."
That day in that small conference room, I saw for the first time the URLs of my magazine articles on the screen, and I saw them with the number of pageviews on each one. It was a concrete validation that people were actually reading what I had posted (or not)!
Sure, the print magazine consistently enjoyed 100% pick-up rate, but it was impossible to know whether it was one magazine per person, one reader grabbing a few copies, or hell, it could have been someone picking up the entire bundle and dumping them in the garbage for all I knew.
But Google. Google was giving me what I never knew I craved. It was giving me hard facts and concrete numbers in ways I never thought possible.
My love continues to grow.
Now, long after that print publication has shut down, and years since I have left the world of print entirely, I happily work 100% in digital media as the managing editor of StyleBlueprint.com.
I live online. I breathe online.
And I never tire of the weekly editorial call when our marketing director goes over our analytics. It’s a real-time look at the successes — and yes, the occasional failures — of the content we create. That is the very data that drives our content strategy.
Quite simply, if an article tanks, we can look at why — was it the time of year? The day of the week? The topic? And on the flipside, if the article takes off, we can see why as well — was it the keyword? Does the topic have a ravenous audience? All of this information helps us decide what direction to take our editorial. Obviously, we like to ride the highs by creating similar content — giving the readers what they clearly want. (OR, we’ll never talk about the topic again if an article bombed!)
Data helps me give 'em what they want.
In short, the data equips my team to provide the best content for our audience, and as an editor, that is my commitment — remembering the reader and giving them what they want. Data helps me do that.
Virtual Collective is filling a TREMENDOUS void in the market by inviting the world of women business owners to start their own love affairs with Google.
It’s not scary, I promise. It’s empowering! And once you see in the data the impact of a decision you’ve made? You’ll fall in love with data too.
And if loving data is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.