10,000 visits, 13,000 pageviews and 7,300 users later, my blog has now been going strong for a whole year now. Just a year ago, I decided to start my blog because I always had creative tracking solutions in my head, and I wanted to get them out there so I could contribute to everyday folks just like me.

It has been a truly rewarding experience for me and I’ve learned a ton. It has even lead me to speak at SXSW and educate colonels for all branches of the US military.

In this post, I will take a little time to share some of my key takeaways and experiences I’ve had contributing to the digital analytics community over the last year. Hopefully these experiences will inspire you to contribute and grow awareness for digital analytics and most importantly, strive for the best data quality for all.

I couldn’t have done it without social media

When people ask me where I read up on digital analytics, I tell them it’s all about social media. I’m active across most social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, Google + and Slack.

Twitter is a no brainer and a great way to get my thoughts out there, but my main objective for this platform is to get retweeted to amplify my message. I only have about 370 followers and if I don’t get a retweet within the first 30 minutes, then Twitter doesn’t help my blog that much. Although, when I do get retweeted by a larger account like @googleanalytics, then it spreads like wildfire.

Here are just a couple Tweets that gave me a huge boost thanks to a retweet from Google.

You’ll also see the effect in the data:

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Twitter is great for those quick bursts and gaining return users through more followers, but the real social networks that have driven volume and high quality traffic are Google+ and LinkedIn.

Some people laugh at me when I say Google+ because most think this social network is dead, but it’s far from that. Google+ has a highly active community of digital analytics experts and the best way to engage with them. I know that when I post something on Google+, the quality of traffic is high and it shows in the numbers. After all, if you’re following Google Analytics on G+, then you’re likely a part of my target audience. Google+ traffic has a 10% lower bounce rate and the % of new sessions is 10% lower from my site average. Google+ also has a 6% higher goal conversion rate as well. It’s also my second most session driver amongst all social networks. This just proves out that my true audience is on Google+ and they resonate much better with my content than any other traffic source.

LinkedIn is also a great source of volume. Unlike Google+, the quality isn’t as high, but the best part about LinkedIn is its ability to spread posts like crazy. Sometimes I’ll post on LinkedIn and I’ll see a good amount of volume come through for up to 2 weeks after I posted the update. This is the true difference between Google+ and Twitter. All of my engagement metrics are relatively on par with my site average, so I don’t necessarily lean on LinkedIn for the highest quality traffic in the world, but it has turned into a great way to get my name out there and target certain analytics-focused communities on there.

Organic search is all about very specific content

As someone who has only been blogging for a year, I knew that I wasn’t going to rank for short-tail keywords like Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. When I first started my blog, my main objective was to write about specific GTM solutions that you couldn’t find anywhere else on the web. A perfect example is my post about tracking Brightcove videos with GTM. I needed to do this one day and Google searches were coming up with nothing. I figured I wasn’t the only one trying to do this, so I wrote a post about it. Now that post is my third highest traffic driver from organic search with anywhere between 20-40 landing page views a week.

My key learning here is that listacles won’t get you to rank in search. Sure, they are good eye candy and have a better chance or getting shared in social because they apply to a broader audience, but more targeted posts are going to get you that organic search traffic.

My audience is very global

When I started my blog, I just assumed that most people would be from the United States. I was completely wrong. In fact, only 30% of my traffic comes from the United States. Next to the UK, India is my 3rd most visited audience, and it really shows that my content suits them best because 82% of them are new visitors and almost all of them come from organic search. My hypothesis here is companies are outsourcing analytics implementation work to India and they’re likely searching for very specific solutions to analytics implementations.

I’ve also found out that I have a leg up when it comes to large announcements with Google Analytics. Given that Google typically makes all of their announcements in the morning pacific standard time, that gives me the opportunity to write about it while the rest of the world is (sometimes) asleep! A good example is when Google announced that Data Studio would be offered for free to US customers. I immediately wrote about it now it’s my second largest traffic driver due to a combination social networks, organic search and organic referrals. The same goes for my post about the new user explorer report in GA. This post was highly targeted and it got picked up my Marketingland.com.

A blog will greatly validate your skills

I started my blog because I thought it would be a fun side hobby, but I never realized how much it would help me in the office. Over the last year, I’ve had multiple clients and colleagues tell me that they’ve read my posts and became inspired to help better use data to make more informed business decisions. Sometimes tracking implementation is an afterthought, and those that have read my blog now have a better appreciation for establishing a measurement strategy and implementation plan at the beginning of the creative process.

My blog has given my clients and colleagues that can see my passion for digital analytics come out through my blog have much more confidence with their data in my hands.

Last but not least, THANK YOU!

I couldn’t have kept my blog going without YOU! I’ve received countless comments and emails from folks that benefitted from some of my blog posts. This is truly the most gratifying part of writing my blog.

Here are just a couple examples

I read most of your blog posts and they are fantastic. The one where you created a GTM Container Template is out of this world. You havent posted anything in a while…keep it up!

Also, keep up the great work on your blog. I subscribed- looking forward to seeing more good stuff.

Even when I get super busy, I always make time to respond to your comments because it’s what keeps me going.

I’d just like to take this time to thank everyone for reading, spreading and responding to my posts. If you ever have an idea or question, never hesitate to reach out. Contributing to the digital analytics community has become a hobby for me and I love hearing from all of you to make it the best it can be.

– Isaac