Chances are, if you clicked through on this blog post you’re an author that is trying to build your digital platform. You probably have a website, use social media, even have an email list. So what works best for you?
If your answer is “I’m not sure,” you’re going to want to check out these free analytics tools.
1. Google Analytics (GA)
Your website should be the hub of your online presence and everything else you do should drive traffic there. Perhaps more importantly, your website should have a clear and easy path for users to reach your goals. No goals? Simply answer “why do I have a website” for each type of audience you are trying to reach.
Common goals for authors are:
- Click on the link to buy my book.
- Leave a comment on a post.
- Request to work with me via an online form.
- Subscribe to my eNewsletter.
Google Analytics allows you to translate those objectives into actual digital analytics goals in the software. From there, you can look at all kinds of interesting reports to help you learn which traffic sources and content are best for your site and audience. (AKA which marketing efforts are working the best for you!) Google has a full Analytics Academy online to learn more.
2. Google Tag Manager (GTM)
Google Tag Manager is a free tag management software. It is a more advanced tool, but it is one of the best ways to get the full tracking you need from Google Analytics and many digital ad platforms. On a lot of platforms authors use for websites like Wix and WordPress, GTM is a much easier way to place things like event tags for GA (so you know when someone completes a form or comment, for example) and conversion or remarketing tags for digital ad.
3. Google Data Studio (GDS)
GDS is a data visualization tool. It is incredibly flexible and you can make just about any kind of report you’d like. There are templates available, you just plug in your own data. It is actually on my list to create some templates for authors in GDS, so sign up for my eNewsletter to be alerted when they’re ready. (See what I did there?)
GDS can pull in data from Google Analytics, social media, spreadsheets and databases. Everyday there are more third party connectors launched. Basically, if you have data, it can be pulled in and made pretty. Here’s some getting started help from Google.
Hootsuite is a social media monitoring and scheduling platform. While the analytics features on Hootsuite are paid, you can still do a lot with the free version.
You can connect your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn so you can manage social all from one dashboard. You can also schedule posts if you know you’re going to busy.
All of that is nice, but it’s the listening features that I think are really cool. You can plug in brand names (your name, book title, etc.) to be sure you see when someone is talking about you. You can also just follow interesting hashtags and be sure to join in on relevant conversations.
5. Instagram for Business
Most of you probably have an Instagram account, congrats, you’re halfway there! Upgrade it (for free) to a business account and you will have access to the Insights reports.
Through these reports I’ve learned which kinds of posts my followers tend to like and comment on most (selfies, good writing quotes, useful items) and what days my followers are most active (Thursday and Fridays). Here’s Instagram’s guide.
While I realize your writing career is not a Fortune 500 enterprise (at least not yet), investing a little bit of time up front to set some of these things up can save you time in the long run. Analytics can help you select the right type of content for your website users. This data can help you prioritize the social networks that are driving the right kind of traffic to your site and these tools can help you time your next post to catch the most eyeballs.
Want to learn more? Read my post, Why Authors Should Bother with Analytics.
Happy Tracking! Bex
Hi, I'm Bex Drate.
I started telling stories as soon as I could talk, narrating my life as part of some grand epic. But for a career, I took what felt like a safer path.
After an exciting decade in digital marketing consulting, I took a step back to raise my two sons.
Now, as I'm finding (tiny) cracks in my calendar, all I can imagine filling them with is my original passion.
Follow and get in touch with Bex Drate
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