I once considered myself a “Google Anal(ytics) Retentive”. When Google Analytics first launched, they made it so simple and easy to install a few lines of code on your site in order to view “valuable” data about your website traffic that I became enamored with this toy.
I could generate pages and pages of reports and charts and maps and lists that all purported to tell me what was important to the people visiting my site. I would spend hours poring over statistics and wondering what keywords and sources brought people to my site and once they got there what their page path was and how long they stayed and from what part of the world they were visiting from. In theory, if I could distill the essence of what kept my top 1% of visitors happily clicking and reading on my site, I should be able to attract more of them.
But late last year, Google released a major update to their Analytics tool. It counts and tracks and connects a thousand more things than it did when I first discovered and used it. It introduced a myriad amount of new terms that I would have to research and define before I could ever begin to understand what they might mean. The moved links and buttons and controls from their once familiar positions to pages that required me to constantly seek answers on their Help pages. Even Google knew it was a steep new learning curve, because for months they gave users the option to switch back to the old view.
My personal frustration grew with every extra minute I spent looking for things that were once handy and familiar. It was like someone had moved all the books on my shelves into closets around my house. Sure, they were all still there — but what use are they if I can’t find anything. So I simply stopped checking in with the Google Analytic reports.
For weeks I put the Analytics site and reports out of my mind, because think about it frankly stressed me out a bit. It wa slike getting lost in a shady part of town. So I avoided those unfamiliar streets. Months went by and I finally didn’t even think of checking site traffic anymore.
Now I spent the time formerly lost in the GA stats writing more content and thinking more thoughts. I sought inspiration for new concepts and shared them online without keeping score of how many pageviews it might bring, or what my bounce rate was, or what the path through my site was and which page they exited on. I simply shifted to creating more content that I personally found interesting and thought that other might find more useful and helpful in their business and personal life.
Just this week I look at my Google Analytics stats for the first time in a long time. And you know what I found? Traffic is up. Pageviews have increased. Time spent on the site has gone up significantly.
All the growth I was trying to finagle by finding secret and hidden meanings in a line graph or pie chart ended up manifesting because I stopped looking at the needle and just stomped down on the accelerator.
Nothing happens until you put the pedal to the metal!