blogging

Breaking It Down: The Healthy Maven Analytics + A Guest Post from C!

October 29, 2014

Hello THM friends! Do I have a post (ahem novel) for you today.

Breaking it down - THM analytics uncoveredOver the past few months I have started to take an interest in how I can better tailor the user experience of THM to my lovely readers. I want to get a better sense of what you guys want to see. No matter how many times I ask you on social media or on the blog, it will not be an accurate assessment as 90% of you won’t answer. I don’t want to let a small subset of readers dictate what the sum of you want to see. Sorry my background in research is to blame for this…

The problem is that I am not good with numbers. I still count on my fingers, whip out my phone calculator to figure out tips and just barely passed grade 12 calc. I needed someone who could objectively assess THM’s analytics who also knows how to count. Luckily I live with a guy like this!

I haven’t talked much about this on here but over the past few months, C (my wonderful Minnesotan boyfriend and roommate) has taken on a larger role with THM. He’s now running the behind-the-scenes business operations and is reviewing and assessing the analytics. This allows me to focus more on the parts that I love most about blogging, content creation and engaging with you guys!

A few weeks ago C gave an amazing presentation he had been working on which broke down THM’s analytics. I learned so much from it and wanted to share it with you guys in the hopes that it may help you get a better understanding of your blog/business’ analytics.

For those of you who come for the food, feel free to skip over this post (unless you want to hear about THM’s journey!) and for those of you who want to learn more about blogging and how you can make the most of your audience, read on.

I realize and respect that most of you are not interested in all this blogging stuff, so I am trying to keep it to a minimum on this space. Instead, I am planning to move all of that content over to an email list where I will share blogging tips, things I’m learning and effective techniques, exclusively with its members. You are all welcome to join, so be sure to click “blogging tips & tricks” below and then sign up!

blog school
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Now I’ll let C take it away…
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

At last! The long awaited debut post of C. For those of you who are not regulars (well, you should be) of The Healthy Maven, allow me to introduce myself…I’m the man behind the woman behind the blog.

me and cSince our early days in New York when I was at a structural design engineering firm and Davida was in research at Columbia, she and I have been dreaming and scheming of building our empire. We were both on steady and respectable paths, yet neither of us has ever envisioned ourselves following any sort of typical course.  Regardless of the caliber of her growing credentials, she had no passion/drive/nor interest for her day to day. She wanted to bake, to be her own boss, to mid-day yoga, to manage her own time, to blog, and let’ be real – finally be famous 😉 (editor’s note: NOT TRUE…okay kind of true).  Davida has always given me unwavering support so when she told me she wanted to quit her job and focus more time on THM, I was happy to give the support right back.

Under a year later, we’ve already seen incredible results. THM has grown tremendously and her successes continue to manifest: a self-published e-cookbook, over a million page views reaching over half a million people, thousands of comments from readers, and most importantly (!) endless deliciousness for yours truly. Her growth was rooted in constant generation of new content, never ending learning in photography and editing, and a fundamental connection with the community of bloggers and foodies that she loves so dearly.

As THM grows, it has become clear that there is more work than one person can handle so we recently began talking about how my analytical & business oriented self could help take THM to the next level.  She wanted to learn how to intentionally drive growth and engage her loyal readers in the best ways, while I viewed it as a case study to evaluate the analytics of a start-up website and a means to support her as best I could.

Et voilà! Mission accomplished for round one and it’s time to talk about it.

Intro picHere’s the game plan – I’ll go through how I see it, what I used to actually look at the numbers, things to look for if you’re analyzing a site, as well as some of the findings for THM. Hope you enjoy! I promise delicious food posts will be back soon…

the toolkit
To get a first look at a website’s analytics you really only need three things:

  1. The site under investigation (THM in da house)
  2. The data on the site (Google Analytics aka “GA” is the most widely used)
    If you have a website/blog I highly recommend you sign up for GA. Here’s the link to sign-up.
  3. And lastly, a few basic parameters used to understand the madness:
  • Users:  the number of individuals visiting the site across all platforms in a given timeframe
  • Sessionsthe number of visits to the site – it is defined by Google help as “the container for the actions a user takes on the site”
  • Page views: the total number of pages viewed, including repeats
  • Bounce rate: the percentage of single interactions (or page views) followed by an exit (closing the page)
  • Channel:  the online path by which users arrived at the site, typically broken into the following sub-categories:
    • Direct: straight to the site (www.thehealthymaven.com )
    • Social: via redirection from social media platforms (pinterest, facebook, twitter…)
    • Referral: via links opened from other sites (foodgawker, huff post, blog networks)
    • Organic: via search platforms (Google)

THM big picture
As this was the first look at THM’s numbers, step one for us was to gain a general understanding of the site traffic thus far. Two of the first things I looked at were (i) how many users, and (ii) from where users were coming. The results are pretty interesting…

total exposure

Side note: I only signed up for Google Analytics in April 2013 and the blog was started in February 2013 so the results don’t encompass all visitors since THM was born.

Keep in mind the above data points are the number of monthly users. Each point does not represent the cumulative number of people having visited THM (which is much higher), but rather a recap on the month in question. When plotted consecutively, the graph gives a good indication on how things are going, month-to-month. Up is good. The Healthy Maven has been gaining an average of 20,000 monthly users (unique visitors) every 5 months. Around 75% of each month’s users are first timers, which translates to 15,000 new users over that time.

If a standard downtown skyscraper can hold about 150 people per floor (not unreasonable), that’s the equivalent of a 20-storey building full of new users every month!

That’s the ‘how many’, next up is the ‘from where’.

Because we’re in Canada (whatUP, eh?) it actually does impact the reach of The Healthy Maven. The US is still the clear heavy weight for visitors (thanks mostly to Google and Pinterest) however being outside the States seemingly does open The Healthy Maven’s reach to an international scene that it may not have had otherwise. Observe…

THM InternationalAn interesting point for me on these numbers is that all 4 top countries are represented in the top 5 cities. As opposed to having the 10 best cities in the US, then trailing cities elsewhere in the world, The Healthy Maven has strong hubs across these international markets. The UK and Australia together are nearly 60% of the Canadian reach, and together those three are nearly half the number of users in the States – these aren’t insignificant numbers.

While the US is certainly the target for growth (and potential brands to work with), who knows!  Perhaps you’ll see us touring the UK and Australia soon under the pretext of a bui’ness trip for THM. Not sayin’, just sayin’…

the breakdown
While it’s fun (and cool) to know the big impressive numbers, see the big picture graph and look at how many people in different countries are following along, the motivation behind looking at analytics is to understand things one layer deeper. Even looking at best days ever and the posts from those days can be extremely misleading.

Did you know that on average, the daily post of The Healthy Maven typically drives less than 5% of users for that day? That’s unexpected, right? Well, maybe not. Past blog posts are not replaced with the new, but rather one piece of a growing collection of content that lives on. Each post is effectively an asset with its own media exposure and will all continue to drive traffic, users, and engagement. These existing assets, or posts, will fluctuate in their popularity depending on features from other sites, seasonal tastes, a visit from the Pinterest fairy, etc…

When looking at the analytics, this is why it’s important to go a step beyond seeing what days did best, and what was posted that day. Instead of looking at these factors, the landing page (the site that users went to directly) will give the greatest insight as to what content resonates most with THM readers. If the landing page shows the top posts, referral source will show how they got there. Together these will give insight into what content users are most interested in and how they discovered said content. Looking at that information will reveal lessons learned for how to drive things forward.

However long winded, this was actually only a portion of the report I put together for The Healthy Maven. To keep things brief (ha!) we’ve put together the complete presentation which you will receive directly to your inbox TODAY if you sign-up for THM’s blogging tips & tricks subscription list (be sure to click that box). Here’s a sense of what else is covered:

what's in the doc

blog school
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I am interested in: 

I’ll be back to your regular programming on Friday.

p.s. C come home! Enough of this travelling, I miss you. I’ve got cookies 🙂

Are you interested in the analytics behind the blog? Did anything about this post surprise you?

  • Reply
    Arman @ thebigmansworld
    October 29, 2014 at 5:50 am

    This might surprise you but my workouts are not at the gym- it’s me going to various internet sources in Sydney and opening your blog. I stand behind that 10,000 +. The other 25,000 is mum and niki. It’s their full time job.

    Stoked for this post- it’s great to get another perspective and break down the nitty gritty which is so useful. Cheers D + C.
    Arman @ thebigmansworld recently posted…Copycat Kind Bars

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs for Food
    October 29, 2014 at 6:23 am

    I’m always interested in the analytic side of the blogging world. Always interesting to learn more about your audience. Thanks for sharing!
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs for Food recently posted…WIAW- Chicken sausage stuffed peppers

  • Reply
    Christine @ Gotta Eat Green
    October 29, 2014 at 6:28 am

    Loved this post. It’s always nice to hear from the man behind the women behind the blog. The content was super interesting too! I find it so interesting how past blog posts actually get more attention after the day they were posted.
    Christine @ Gotta Eat Green recently posted…My Fall Make Up Bag

  • Reply
    erin @ The Almond Eater
    October 29, 2014 at 6:35 am

    Tricky tricky making us sign up for the email 😉 But you know I’m doing it! C–you are so wise. Thanks for the insight!
    erin @ The Almond Eater recently posted…Fall Essentials with ModCloth

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      October 29, 2014 at 8:14 am

      Thanks, love! Will be sending lots of blogging tips and tricks your way! Enjoy 🙂

  • Reply
    Presley @ Run Pretty
    October 29, 2014 at 8:34 am

    I suck at blogging stuff, so this just blew my mind. 😉
    Presley @ Run Pretty recently posted…Tuesday Tangents Because I Couldn’t Wait for Thursday Thoughts

  • Reply
    Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment
    October 29, 2014 at 8:52 am

    Great post! I am new to blogging so this was very insightful. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment recently posted…Farmed or Wild Caught: Fish of the Sea

  • Reply
    Shashi @ runninsrilankan
    October 29, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Such an interesting post Davida – and congrats! Your growth has been phenomenal – in such a short period! Loved reading this – thanks for sharing! Wishing you continued growth!
    Shashi @ runninsrilankan recently posted…Pizza with Caramelized Onions & Beyond Beef Crumbles

  • Reply
    GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth
    October 29, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Got this post in my inbox this morning and signed up for the new mailing list before I even read it. Did this all on my phone with one eye open cuz it was too early. Clearly, I’m interested 😐
    In other news, I was positive all those Australian view were from Arman. Glad he confirmed haha
    GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth recently posted…Maple-Coconut Butternut Squash Bread

  • Reply
    Cassie
    October 29, 2014 at 11:06 am

    I am so interested in this. At my old job, we wanted an analytics person to break down this stuff for us. I mean it’s not like they could afford a digital/blogger specialist SOOOO… but anyway, I am so excited to see the report!!! Heading to my inbox now!

    PS: C COME HOME BECAUSE THEN IT MEANS SOONER UNTIL YOU’RE HEADED TO #BESTCOAST.
    Cassie recently posted…Necessary Splurges

  • Reply
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles
    October 29, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Annnnd I’m signed up. I’m horrible with analytic stuff, so this was really interesting to read!
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted…WIAW: Traditional Style.

  • Reply
    Jen @ Chase the Red Grape
    October 29, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Oooooh you should do a business trip in the UK – come visit me in Scotland! 🙂
    Thanks for the tips and breakdowns C! Still getting to grips with all of this but you certainly explained things well!
    Jen @ Chase the Red Grape recently posted…What I ate Wednesday – London Highlights!

  • Reply
    Alexis @ Hummusapien
    October 29, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Holy moly, who knew C was so eloquent?! That man has a SERIOUS way with words. Also, I don’t think I new you went to Columbia. Beauty AND brainzzz!!!

  • Reply
    Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl
    October 29, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Great post! Can’t wait for more blogging tips… and of course the delicious recipes, too!
    Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl recently posted…Easy Healthy Eats from the Week

  • Reply
    Erin @ Her Heartland Soul
    October 29, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Awesome post! You two are very cute together!
    Erin @ Her Heartland Soul recently posted…Fall Weather Runs

  • Reply
    Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness
    October 29, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    I love how C has taken on a behind-the-scenes role of your site! Interesting stuff.
    Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness recently posted…Apple & Greens Hemp Heart Juice

  • Reply
    Sarah PIe
    October 29, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    I’ve been playing with it on and off for months and still don’t get analytics, you can bet that subscription box was the first thing I clicked! so nice of C to stop by and give us a taste of the man beside the maven, I can’t wait to see your Blog School newsletter.
    Sarah PIe recently posted…Why I joined #OctoberUnprocessed

  • Reply
    Miss Polkadot
    October 29, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Okay, I kid you not: After being annoyed by certain other bloggers’ constant advertisement-like mails I had no plans of ever signing up for another mailing list. In this case? Signed up without giivng it a second thought and commenting.
    Also, C, you have a way of making numbers and analystics sound interesting even to me as a girl who’d usually go out of her way to avoid any of that stuff. I’m looking forward to future posts.
    Also: come to Germany. You clearly need to expand THM over here.
    Miss Polkadot recently posted…How to stress less about expectations.

  • Reply
    Michele @ paleorunningmomma
    October 30, 2014 at 6:05 am

    Really informative and helpful to see it all broken down. Definitely saving for future reference.
    Michele @ paleorunningmomma recently posted…A Runner’s Brain During Peak Training – Thinking Out Loud

  • Reply
    Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves
    October 30, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    This is such a cool post!! Proud to be reppin’ New York in those view stats 😉 Love reading about your journey and learning about how to continue mine!
    Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves recently posted…Behind the Scenes #32: I’m Just Weird

  • Reply
    Kim
    October 30, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    I started off good but the more I read the stupider I felt – I need someone to show me and then help me – maybe if I read this a few (hundred) more times I will get it. I do love the idea of the info I just have an old/tired brain.
    Kim recently posted…Sometimes You Just Have to Admit Defeat

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      October 31, 2014 at 10:54 am

      Awww I didn’t mean to make you feel dumb!!! Trust me, lots of this stuff is way over my head too…hence why I outsource it 😉

  • Reply
    Best of October 2014 - The Healthy Maven
    October 31, 2014 at 5:01 am

    […] of all, WOW. Thank you to everyone who stopped by THM on Wednesday for C’s guest post on THM’s analytics. So many of you visited that you actually crashed the blog! A huge thank you to Bluehost for […]

  • Reply
    Glenda
    November 1, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Great article I have been wondering how to read and use my Google Analytics. I signed up for your blogging tips so I look forward to more great tips! Thanks!
    Glenda recently posted…How to Make the Best Cauliflower Mash

  • Reply
    Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Run
    November 4, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    What a sweet post from C 🙂
    Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Run recently posted…5 Blogs I Am Grateful For

  • Reply
    Best of THM 2014 - The Healthy Maven
    December 17, 2014 at 5:02 am

    […] HLB – a light-hearted post poking fun at my fellow bloggers. I still love you guys! 5. Breaking It Down- The Healthy Maven Analytics – C guest posted all about the growth of THM and how to uncover more from your […]

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