Welcome to the third (and final) part of our series on tracking.
Last week I had a reader ask why I bothered to dedicate multiple posts to a dry topic like tracking.
My email reply was simple:
“Tracking is important because it shows where your business experiences growth. You can then use these metrics to get more traffic and make more money.”
Really, I can’t overemphasize the importance of tracking. This simple task identifies what’s working and what’s not. Do more of the successful activities and you’ll earn extra income. It’s really that simple!
Okay, that’s my sermon on tracking. Let’s continue where we left off. We’ve already covered ten different things to track in your Internet business. Now we’ll cover the last five:
#11: Total Income
It’s important to know how much income generates each month. This metric is the best way to determine how much your time is worth (see #12.)
I really don’t “worry” about my earnings. Once a month, I’ll tally up the total income from each web business and affiliate program. This is put into an Excel spreadsheet that tracks what I’ve earned in the last three years. (I love having this reference point.)
How to Get Started: Create a spreadsheet for your sources of Internet income. I prefer to break it down according to the different accounts that I own. For instance, my income tracking includes:
- Clickbank Account #1 (Affiliate Account)
- Clickbank Account #2 (eBook Account)
- Clickbank Account #3 (Go Large Project Account)
- “Product-X” Affiliate Account (This site produces 1/3rd of my income)
- Commission Junction
- Amazon Associates
- Miscellaneous Earnings
It really doesn’t matter how you group these sources of income. The important thing is to track them on a monthly basis.
#12: Time Worked
How much is your time worth? This question can be answered by tracking how much you work.
Like I said in my post about weekly to-do lists; I use a task-based approach to manage my time. These tasks are broken down into 45 minute working blocks. In May I completed 190 tasks which works out to roughly 143 hours (190 tasks * 45 minutes = 143 hours). During this time, I generated $13,207, which means I earned $92 per hour of work.
I’ll admit I’m a little obsessive about time management. With that said, it’s important to a put a dollar value on each hour. That way you’ll know if a task is “worth” your time.
#13: Social Media Shares
Social media has become THE way to drive traffic to a blog. With great content, it’s easy to build a following and attract attention to your personal brand. The hard part is to know what content is getting people’s attention.
That’s why I create a tracking link for my Tweets and Facebook posts. This lets me detect patterns in the links that generate blog traffic. Put all these links into a single interface and you’ll know what is getting people’s attention.
How to Get Started: I’ve already discussed the value of the Pretty Link plugin. What I didn’t mention was it provides decent tracking stats.
Here’s how I use this tool:
1) Twice a day, I’ll Tweet one of my “evergreen” posts (Most of these can be found on my Start Here page.)
2) I’ll turn each post into a “pretty link.” Not only does this track traffic; it’s also another way to brand social media shares
3) I’ll then use Market Me Suite to schedule these updates
4) Each month; I’ll analyze the results and figure out how to increase the response.
It’s important to track social media shares because you’ll know when something gets results. And it’s also a way to figure out if an activity is a time waster.
My advice is to monitor these social media stats on a regular basis. You’ll notice trends about what content gets the best response. Simply duplicate this success by creating similar articles. Rinse and repeat till you have a high traffic blog.
#14: Advertising Impressions and Clicks
With a content site (like a blog); it’s important to know where people are clicking. You increase income by maximizing these areas for maximum profitability. In other words, it’s important to put ads that get readers to take action.
I recommend using software to rotate ads on your website. Use this to see what motivates people on your site. Also, play around with the positions of your ads. You’ll discover these small tweaks can maximize the profitability of your site.
How to Get Started: Try the Open X Ad Server tool. This tracks the number of displays and clicks for each advertisement. This is important because you’ll know which of your opt-in ads get the best results from your web visitors.
Each month, see which ads generated the best clicks. Then run another test. You’ll find that it’s not that hard to maximize the ad space on your site and determine the effectiveness/location of each advertisement.
#15: Google Adsense CTR
Back in 2005, I made a full-time income from Google Adsense. I’ve since moved on to other niches; but I still remember the importance of ad position in relation to web content. At one point; I averaged a 25% click thru ad; which produced a nice income; despite my low number of ‘page views.’
Now, Google Adsense has changed a lot of their rules in the last few years. So what I “know” about this income model has probably changed. The important take-away is to track ad positions and tweak ad styles till you get (at least) a 20% click-thru rate.
How to Get Started: Use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress to host your Google Adsense site. WordPress offers a variety of plugins that automatically insert ads. I recommend you install one that matches your Theme.
Then use the Google Adsense tool to track your total click-thru rates on this site. Analyze this number each month and try to improve this number. Do this till you’ve maximized your ad space.
Final Thoughts on Tracking???
I’m definitely a tracking fanatic. So I’m sure I’ll think of other ideas the second I hit the ‘publish’ button. For now, I’ve covered fifteen different activities that should be tracked.
Just use the ones that are applicable to your Internet business. Track these on a regular basis and look for ways to improve upon these metrics.
Like I’ve said, my success is the direct results from my obsession with tracking. My initial strategy was to throw a bunch of s**t against the wall and see what stuck. THE only way I knew what worked was to track everything.
So if you’re struggling with your Internet business; then I recommend using the fifteen activities I’ve discussed in the last few posts. Perhaps you’ll test and track your way to success!To Your "Internet Lifestyle",