How to know if Google Analytics is installed on your blog

Let’s get one thing clear about Google Analytics – it’s not an option, or nice-to-do thing, like opening the door for grandmothers. If you’re serious about your blog you must track just a few basic results in Google Analytics. There, I’ve said it.

And to do that, you must first make sure that Google Analytics is installed.

I’m still amazed at how many beautifully designed sites don’t have Google Analytics installed. It’s like building a beautiful car with no dashboard (“I think I’m going pretty fast!”).

Sure, you can use tools like www.buzzsumo.com to measure social shares or SimilarWeb for rough estimates of traffic (or Tarot cards to predict the future), but only Google Analytics has accurate traffic data to understand what people actually are doing on your site.

In this post I’ll give you a quick test to know if Google Analytics (GA) is installed and, if it isn’t, how to get it installed.

In the next post we’ll go over the basic information you should be watching from Google Analytics.

How to know if Google Analytics is installed

When GA is properly installed there will be a Universal Analytics (UA) code snippet in your web site’s source code (the hidden information that runs your site). That code will look something like: UA-453782-0

Sample UA code

If that code is there, you’re gold. Google Analytics is recording every click, swipe, burp, and keystroke on your site. But if it’s not there, nothing is being collected. And even if you install Analytics today, it’s not retroactive—no code, no data.

Depending on the browser you use, there are different ways to show your source code:
On a MAC right-click directly on your web site home page and look for “View Page Source”. On a PC press CTRL + U on you computer’s keyboard.

If that doesn’t work, you can go through your browser menu:

Firefox:
In the “Tools” menu, click “Web Developer”, then click “Page Source”

Google Chrome:
In the “View” menu, click “Developer”, then click “View Source”

Safari:
In the “Safari” menu, click “Preferences”, choose “Advanced”
Click the checkbox “Show Develop menu in menu bar”, close window
Click “Show Page Source” in the “Develop” menu.

Internet Explorer:
In the “View” menu, click “Source”

Now that you have all that crazy code opened up, you want to search for the Google Analytics snippet.

On a PC use “Control+F” or for Macs use “Command+F”. Then type in “UA-” (without the quotes) in the “Find” text box. If Google Analytics is installed, you should see the snippet (like: UA-453782-0) highlighted. You might need to scroll down to find it.

If it’s not installed, you will see “UA-000000-0” or “UA-         “, either way, you need to go the next step and install Google Analytics.

How to get your Tracking Code

Step 1: First, you have to have a Gmail account (I know, I know, big brother has you now), you’ll see a sign-in page like below. If you don’t have an account yet, go to Google Analytics Signup Page.

Sign in to Gmail

Step 2: Once you sign in with your account, you’ll be prompted with this screen, you can select Google Analytics on the right-side drop-down.

Sign in to Google Analytics

Steps 3: Fill in the required information and then click on the Get Tracking ID button

Fill in form

Steps 4: Now you will be presented with Google Analytics tracking code. Copy this tracking code because you will need to enter it in your WordPress site.

Google Analytics tracking code

How to install Google Analytics

There are a number of non-technical and technical ways to install your tracking code on your site. I always recommend using the free plug-in from www.wpbeginner.com. It just takes a few minutes and then, presto! You’re all set.

Whew! Now that you are recording data (it will take a day or two before you can see results). It’s time to learn what to look for.

In the next post I’ll share how to use the Google Analytics numbers to make more intelligent decisions with your blog.

The dirty little secret about social shares for your blog

Getting social shares for your blog

When I created BlogWorks it was designed around one simple principle – the more my blog gets shared the more my traffic grows.

Sure, I can email my list, but they already know about me—it’s the followers who tell their followers that create the magic.

This is really the secret sauce, or as I like to call it, the dirty little secret behind growing your blog.

It can be a lot of work – that’s why I created BlogWorks – we do the heavy lifting for you. Everyday we’re posting attention-grabbing content on your social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), keeping followers engaged, getting your content seen, and getting you more blog traffic.

Before you sign up for BlogWorks (which would be the smart thing to do), here’s a few tips to get your social sharing rolling, starting with don’t do so much(!)

1. Don’t do it all

It doesn’t take long to get overwhelmed in the social media maelstrom of latest-greatest.

If you’ve started on Snapchat and LinkedIn you’d better get on Blab.

Done that? Okay run over and start an account on Pinterest so you can compete with 3 million mommy bloggers salivating over dried flower arrangements.

Done all that? Goodie, now waste your evenings on Medium, Instagram, Facebook Live and SociallySexy (I’ll save you the search – I made that one up).

What’s more important than doing it all is to do it well in a few places. As Darren Rouse of ProBlogger says, “Don’t always be looking toward the ‘new’ and ‘emerging’ trends at the expense of the old things that actually work.”

If you aren’t able invest at least 15 minutes a day on anyone of these channels, drop it.

What’s more important in #SocialMedia than doing it all is to do it well in a few places. Click To Tweet

2. Be social

Sure you want traffic to your site, but that’s not what people are on Facebook or Twitter for – first you need to be social. And that means sharing your great content, jumping on a conversation, sharing other people’s content…generally being generous.

At BlogWorks we blend about 75% of content that points back to the client’s site with curated content from other sites. In your onboarding process, you supply us with a list of popular, non-competing sites and we pick relevant articles and turn them into interesting social posts.

If your content isn’t getting the results you want, it could be you’re too self-promotional – nothing wrong with a little promotion of what you have, as long as you have lots of non-promotional content to balance it off.

Ask yourself: what would you talk about at a party of strangers? That’s often a good place to start.

If your #content isn’t getting the results you want, it could be you’re just being too self-promotional. Click To Tweet

Next, you need to see results.

3. Get results

Even though having a podcast is still considered smart marketing, I pulled the plug on mine because I wasn’t seeing the results I needed. I may fire up a new one, but, in the meantime, the old one wasn’t delivering. I knew this because I was watching the numbers.

We get asked a lot about metrics, measurables, what to measure. The good news is there’s lots of options…the bad news is there’s lots of options.

The good news about measuring online results is there’s lots of options. That's also the bad news. Click To Tweet

The obvious numbers to watch are likes, retweets, follows, shares and comments. According to the 2016 B2B Content Marketing report, the top three B2B goals of content marketing are: Lead Generation (85%); Sales (84%); Lead Nurturing (78%).

The question you should be asking is:

“What really counts towards my business success?”

One of my main goals is building my list—that’s measurable. I can measure how many people opted in and opted out in my CRM (Customer Relations Management) system (Constant Contact, Aweber, Mail Chimp, Infusionsoft, etc.). every week. What about you?

I also want to know how many people shared my posts. I can get that from www.buzzsumo.com.

And I want to track the most popular blogs I write, so I can create more along the same topics. I get those results from Google Analytics every week.

4. A profitable balance

Being social is a powerful way to get more people seeing and responding to your content. It’s also a place to be social.

Unless you spend your days in a la-z-boy chair watching Friends reruns – time is precious. Your job is to find a sustainable, profitable balance between being social and getting results.

10 surprisingly simple tune-ups to make your blog sexy (and get more blog traffic)

Make your blog sexy and get better results

We all want better blog traffic numbers.

Way back, when Tyrannosaurs roamed the earth, blogs were personal journals for reflection and maybe for close friends to enjoy. Not anymore.  Many blogs are for building your brand, attracting business, building your list and hopefully even growing sales.

But you need blog traffic.

In this post we’re looking at super simple tune-ups to make your blog work better and, maybe, even a bit sexier. Sound good?

  1. Use keywords

Keywords are how organic searches (when someone searches the Internet for a solution, like “gardening supplies”) find you. You can use keywords in your headline, text copy and headline in the text. Stuffing keywords just for the sake of SEO is bad form and makes your post less attractive and less likely to get shared.

Using the Google Adwords Keyword Planner is a great place to start to find long-tail (low competition, higher conversion) keywords. After that, include those phrases as a natural part of your writing.

  1. Powerful headlines

The last thing I work on when writing a blog is the headline. Your headline is the first thing people see in social media posts (after the image), Internet searches and links from other sites—it’s worth getting it right. It can make a difference to your blog traffic.

While a headline like, “10 ways to deliver better customer service” may be accurate, it’s as boring as ordering a cup of coffee at Starbucks. A better headline might be “10 ways to knock the socks off even the most reluctant customer”.

Great headlines include: lists, “you”, “your”, “free”, “how to”, “DIY”, “I/me/my”, “easy”, and “new”

  1. Good images
More natural photography can help blog traffic
Stock photography vs. more natural photography

A quick fix for any blog is better images. Try to avoid “stock images” of multi-ethnic teams smiling into the camera-instead look for natural images of real people doing real things.

A quick fix for any blog is better images. Click To Tweet

For posts longer than 400-500 words, insert a second image to break up the text and keep the reader moving. If you’re serious about your blog, it’s worth getting familiar with basic editing tools like canva or picmonkey.

  1. Cross link

A simple strategy to encourage blog traffic and keep readers on your site longer (which is measured as lower Bounce rate in Google Analytics) is to cross link from one blog post to another. The ideas is to invite the reader to learn more about your topic by reading a related post.

A simple strategy can keep readers on your site longer Click To Tweet

Start with a short list of 4-5 posts you ideally want every reader to see and then link to them whenever it seems like a natural opportunity.

  1. Current dates

Consistent publishing dates is a good thing. Just like a magazine, it’s going to be easier to attract followers if they know they can count on the regular issues.

Or course, life happens and you might have a gaps between posts. The good news is that WordPress makes it easy to smooth out your publishing dates and even republish old posts.

Simply open individual posts, change the “Published on:” date and click “Update”. Presto – your posts are re-dated or older posts are re-published.

Current dates

  1. Opt-in is working

When was the last time you opted in to your your own opt-in? You might be surprised to learn that your invitation isn’t, well, very inviting. Here are some quick tune-ups for your opt-in sequence:

When was the last time you opted in to your your own opt-in? Click To Tweet
  • inviting offer – most people aren’t interested in getting “newsletters” anymore. Try offering “weekly tools and tips”, or “free helpful advice”, or “regular updates”, or simply offer your opt-in gift and let them decide if they want to join your list.
  • double opt-in instructions – remember the opt-in isn’t complete until they click on the confirmation email. On your “success” page (that pops up once they enter name and email) instruct them to check their inbox but also to “white list” your emails.
  • follow-up emails – once a person becomes a follower it’s time to nurture them and invite them to stick around. An email sequence (ideally, you remove them from regular emails while in this “quarantine” period) of 3-5 emails that welcome them and introduce them to your services is a smart way to build loyalty and even move a follower to a buyer.
Example of ‘success’ page and instructions on how to double opt-in
Example of ‘success’ page and instructions on how to double opt-in
  1. Use the “Featured Image” for your main image.

If you’ve ever noticed that the wrong image gets pulled from your blog on Facebook or Twitter it could be you aren’t using the Featured Image option in WordPress. Featured Image is a selection on the right-hand side of your WordPress editor that allows you to choose one image from your media library for the top of your post but also to be the thumbnail pulled anytime the link to your post is used (like in Facebook). The right image can lead to more blog traffic.

Use the Featured Image feature in WordPress to ensure your image is properly pulled into social media
Use the Featured Image feature in WordPress to ensure your image is properly pulled into social media

Not sure if you are using Featured Image? Head over to your latest blog post, scroll down and on the right-hand side you should see a thumbnail of your main image that is labeled Featured Image. Click there, select the image you want from your media file and you’re set.

  1. Social share buttons

When a reader shares your post on Twitter, Facebook, or any social media, they are exposing your content to their followers. That’s a good thing.

The easier you make it for readers to share your content the better—tiny icons from now-obscure social media channels, like yelp and foursquare won’t help you with blog traffic.

To see what posts are getting the most shares, head over to buzzsumo, drop in your site URL and you’ll get a list of your top five.

Encouraging sharing can help build blog traffic
The SumoMe social share menu floats on the page as the reader scrolls through your post

We use SumoMe by Noel Kagan – the social share menu floats alongside your blog as the reader scrolls down the screen and works perfectly on mobile.

  1. Measure results

Google Analytics is your dashboard—it’s the only way to accurately know what’s really going on with your blog traffic, visitor behaviour, history trends, and sources of visitors. Your CRM (Customer Relations Management software, like Mail Chimp or Aweber) is the only place to accurately measure opt-ins.

If you haven’t been checking Google Analytics, first make sure it’s installed by following these instructions.

Next, get familiar with basics, like:

  • user volume (number of unique visitors),
  • page views (total pages visited),
  • bounce rate (percent that leave after one page),
  • average session duration (time on site),
  • Behaviour (scroll down main menu, on left, and look for box icon > Overview – most viewed pages on site. This is where discover what blog posts are most popular.
  1. Click to tweet

The old, manually-loaded Click To Tweet was a neat way to get readers to quickly fire off a tweet to point people to your post.

A better version, cleverly called Better Click To Tweet, makes it easier for you to create the tweet as you load your new post into the WordPress editor.

Once the plugin is installed, a blue bird will appear in your editor menu bar. Highlight and copy the text you want tweeted, click the bird, paste the text where asked and you’re set.

As you can likely see, there is a blog post in each one of these strategies. Maybe in the future we’ll do that.

In the meantime, you know what you need to do.

Free Images for your Blog: 7 Awesome Sources

Find free images for your blog

It’s no secret – images make the world brighter and get you more attention. In fact, 65% of senior marketing executives (after all, who would you trust?) believe photos, video, illustrations and infographics are core to how their brand story is communicated. [This post was originally posted at http://hughculver.com/find-awesome-free-images-blog/]

Not only that, content with images gets 94% more views (like your blog) than content without.

The question is where are the best sources for free images for your blog, ebook, SlideShare, promotion, or whatever?

In this post I’ve listed the best sites for finding free images you can use without license. Some require attribution to the artist, but none of them cost anything to use.  Content with images gets 94% more views - there’s no excuse to publish naked. Click To Tweet

First let’s look at the rules.

HOW CREATIVE COMMONS WORKS

For the curious, here’s a quick run-through of the three main copyright categories:

Public Domain – either the copyrights have expired or the creator has relinquished all rights to the works. You are free to use these for private and commercial use. The exception to this “free for all use” policy can be images of recognizable people (if you want to use pics of the Kardashians that another issue.)

Royalty Free – when you find sites offering “royalty free” images – these are “free” to use once you pay a licensing fee. You don’t have to give credit to the artist, but you will be paying a small fee (often the higher resolution means higher fee.) Before you toss this option with a “Pfft!”, consider the time and grief you could avoid by only searching one location and all the images are high quality. I’ve been paying for two years and it’s been a huge time saver. Popular sites for royalty free images are istock, shutterstock, and gettyimages.

Creative Commons – is a universal system for categorizing shared photography and other images by six types of allowed usage. Creative Commons Zero (CC0) being completely open to use, sharing, changing and without any attribution necessary to the artist, whereas the most restrictive Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND) allows sharing works, but without any changes and with attribution to the artist.

Creative commons images

All of sites recommended in this post offer Public Domain or Creative Commons Zero (CC0) licensed images. This means no attribution (neither the name or link to the artist) is required. Regardless, you should do your due diligence and ensure any image you download and plan to use or manipulate is free of restrictions.

BEST SITES FOR FREE IMAGES

There’s lots of advice on finding the best sites for free images, but I find often the results are mixed.

I’ve tested all of the sites listed below and most I use frequently for my blog and SlideShare decks. At the time of writing they all have big libraries, are free of licenses, and have good search tools to help you find that perfect image. In some cases you will have to give attribution to the artist.

  1. Pixabay — reliable, simple to use, and quality images with a very good search tool that lets you narrow your free image search by image orientation (vertical or horizontal). I often check Pixabay first, before trying other sites. You’ll see for-fee Shutterstock images at the top of every search.
    Pixabay
  2. Unsplash — brilliant landscape, people and nature pics, with 10 new high-quality photos released every 10 days. If you need a quick meditative moment, just head over and scroll through Unsplash (it’s cheaper than red wine).
    Unsplash
  3. red — pretty simple site, maintained in Switzerland, basic search tool, multiple sizes to choose from. Not a huge library, but I’ve found some funky free images in a pinch. Free images - Red
  4. Refe — created in Lithuania (go figure), Refe has stunning images with a twist towards “imagery of people interacting with technology.”
    Refe free images
  5. Compfight — a search tool for Flickr that allows you to quickly navigate through world’s largest photo site (Flickr). I certainly wouldn’t call Compfight user friendly – you’ll have to sort through amateur contributions and you might get pics that require attribution – but you definitely won’t get tacky stock photos.
    Compfight
  6. Magdeleine — similar to Unsplash, Madeleine offers stunning free images in limited volumes. You can sort by either public domain (CC0) or requiring attribution. Magdeleine
  7. io — loads of gorgeous pics sorted by popularity. Very easy, but limited, search tool – great for landscapes and “mood” images.

Anytime you list sites like these someone will have two more (go for it, list them in the comments), but these will give you a good start.

Now, let’s look at how to best use them.

MAKING AN OKAY IMAGE GREAT

Searching for the perfect image can burn up hours of time – at some point, who cares?

Instead, look for an okay image that you can make great. Here’s a couple of tricks that will save you time and might even get you better results.

Resize and crop

Sometimes an image has the right element but there’re distractions you don’t want. Rather that spending more time hunting for a better image, resize what you have and crop the unwanted parts.

In this example I liked the image, but I wanted to remove the man in the hoodie (far left) to allow more blurred space to layer text over.

before after resizing and cropping

Fade into background

An easy solution to fix a so-so image is to simply fade it into the background. The image can give texture and feel to the message, but the text you layer on top will become the main focal point.

fade background

Screen under text

A third option is to layer a screen over your image to highlight your text. I use this effect often when building a SlideShare deck when I want to viewer to focus on what I’m saying but also have the image pull their attention.

screen under text

MISTAKES TO AVOID

As a final thought (or two), some mistakes to avoid are:

  • using stock photography. I’m sure you can picture a group of perfectly groomed, multi-cultural, smiling folks, all with their hands in centre of a circle to represent team work. Using stock photos in your blog is more than passé – it’s boring.

True confession: I’m guilty of using cheesy, stock photography (sorry). Now, I’d much rather manipulate (see list above) a so-so image and put the focus on my text, or even use something I shot on vacation or walking my dog. If I want people to be interested in what I’m sharing I have to use images that are interesting.

  • using large files. I’m no expert on resolution, but I know large images (like over 140kb) will slow your site load time. In our instant gratification world you can’t afford people clicking off your site because of slow load time.

There’s a number of free services for reducing image size, like Pic Resize, and Tiny PNG. Or you can use free design sites like Canva or PicMonkey to get the right size and resolution for any social media site or for your web site.

  • not giving attribution. If you’ve ever received a “cease and desist” letter for copyright infringement you’ll know to never grab an image off Google, or not follow Creative Commons requirements (I’m just saying.)

Your blog, slide show, or promotional piece will always get more attention and shares if you use an image. Full Stop.

Learning how to find great ones or do some simple manipulation shouldn’t be a barrier. Heck, if I can do it…

 

Welcome to the blog!

Sometimes a good thing just takes a bit longer – like this blog.

We’ve know for some time that we need a blog on the BlogWorks site. Every day we are getting asked questions about blogging, SEO, content creation and more. With the blog we’ll be able to share best practices and, of course, let you know about updates with the BlogWorks service.

Here’s a quick run down of what’s available to you.

What is BlogWorks?

BlogWorks uses your blog to create daily social media posts to get your blog noticed and save you time. We started to develop it in 2014 and now have clients in 3 countries. Imagine having a trained assistant who promotes you daily – that’s BlogWorks. Your BlogWorks Editor (all live in North America) learns about you, your market and solutions you provide. Every week they read your blog and create and schedule attention-grabbing social media posts. We also blend in curated articles from high traffic sites (you supply the list).

Imagine having a trained assistant who promotes you daily - that's BlogWorks! Click To Tweet

How to get started?

If you blog regularly (at least 2X/month) you might qualify for BlogWorks.  It’s simpler than you might think to get posting on social media working better and off your hands .

Client Resources

If you are a BlogWorks client (thank you!) you should be familiar with our Client Resources. This is where you can find recorded videos, templates, check-lists and more. Check it out here.

The BlogWorks blog

The BlogWorks blog is going to be full of advice on blogging, social media, SEO and making your blog work better for your business. And it’s a work in progress – so if you have ideas for future posts, please let us know! You can email your ideas to us.

Please share these posts and let other people know what you’ve learnt here. The more traffic we can get to this blog the more excited we’ll be to create great content for you, so you can build traffic to your blog.