The 2011 Craig Pladson Data Retrospective

4,075 people have visited this blog since the beginning of the year. For those keeping score at home, that’s approximately 11 people per day. Or, about 8 people per post as I’ve published 43 times during this timeframe. Yes, you’re right. That’s not very many.

But that’s not what this is all about. I have no interest in trying to convince any of you that my blog should be on a top 25 power blogger or whatever-the-hell list. Rather, I’ve pulled out what I consider to be interesting tidbits from this amazingly sophisticated tool I use called Google Analytics. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Here’s what stood out.

Love of Spiders + Post Quality

Year-over-year (2010 vs. 2011), unique visitors have increased 37%. It’s important to note I’ve only published 5 more times (this is my 44th post this year, compared to 39 last year). Why? Because the notion of quality over quantity rings true in this case. It’s safe to say the four additional posts I published didn’t make up the 37% uptick in unique visitors. I attribute this increase to the following factors: 1) a substantial increase in organic search traffic from Google (up 338%!) and 2) post quality. I’ve been publishing to this blog for two years and there are now more breadcrumbs in my Internet past than ever before. I’m more findable. Google likes this. Additionally, I resisted the urge to publish because I felt like I had to. I made a conscious attempt to only write when I felt inspired and had a story to tell. As a result of this, my posts were shared more through Twitter and Facebook and overall time on site increased 33%.

The Interwebs Want to Hear from You

Given the substantial increase in organic search traffic from Google, I took a deeper dive into top organic keyword phrases and their associated behavior metrics throughout the site. Not surprisingly, the keyword phrases “craig pladson,” “interactive strategist,” and “craig pladson blog” rose to the top. “craig pladson” drove the highest time on site at 3 minutes and 23 seconds. Which is more than two times the average time spent on site. People are looking for you. Once found, people want to know more about you. This is the reality of the social Web world we live in. If nothing else, hopefully this inspires you to consider sharing your thoughts with the Interwebs. It wants to hear from you.

Miscellaneous Nonsensical Data

Top three posts of 2011 (based on pageviews):

Why You Should Get Your MBA

Students: How to Stand Out in a Crowd of Many

Social+Mobile: Shaping the Future of Photo Sharing

Bottom line: it works to my advantage that people literally type “why should i get my mba?” into Google. Try it. I own two of the top ten listings (St. Thomas repurposed my post for their blog). Another note: it helps to post immediately following a presentation. My post about students standing out was published after I presented at the Student Advertising Summit earlier this year. Including the deck is also a plus.

Highest Average Time on Page Award goes to …

Why I Want You to Be Uncomfortable

Bottom line: people enjoy a little controversy and attitude. I wrote this post after being inspired watching Faris Yakob present. Another note: I’m guessing there are quite a few interactive-marketing-type-peeps that can empathize with my point of view here. Can you tell me exactly what you do and when you should be involved? :-)

Maybe the world is flat ... 

Locally, the northernmost Minnesotan city to land on my site was Roseau.                  

Nationally, Californians surfed around the site most. Santa Monica beating out L.A.!

Internationally, Canadians led the charge, followed by the U.K., India and Australia.

Bottom line: from the Land of 10,000 Lakes to the Outback, people have somehow ended up on my blog. It must be my optimization techniques in the Australian search engines. Or, the fact that I’m a Foster’s beer enthusiast. Or, neither of those things.

I find myself frequently telling clients that they’re leaving data on the table. After spending an hour in Google Analytics assessing my own site, it looks like I am too. No, this is not the type of analytics magic you’re going to get from someone like Dan Mandle. But, spending some time purveying your data is better than none. Pay it forward to the end user in the New Year and do some analysis of your own.