Stats Wrangling IV: Referrers and Clicks

This summer, we provided a bird’s-eye view of your Stats panel and have taken tours of various modules (Days, Weeks, and Months and Top Posts and Pages) that offer data about your site’s visitors and your most popular content.

Today, let’s take a look at two more sections: your Referrers, which tell you where your visitors come from, and your Clicks, which tell you where your visitors go.

Why thank you, internet, for referring others to me!

Just how do people find your blog? On your Stats page, look for your Referrers section. Here, you can access your referrers for the current day and yesterday. These lists display other blogs, websites, and search engines that link to your blog. (A view is counted as a referrer when a visitor on another site clicks a link there and lands somewhere on your blog.)

Many of you will see a mix of items, including:

  • Search engines (Google Search, Google Image Search, AOL, Yahoo, etc.).
  • URLs of posts from bloggers who have mentioned and linked to one of your posts.
  • Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and the like (as a result of readers sharing your stuff on their social networks).
  • Discovery and recommendation services (like StumbleUpon and Bloglovin).
  • And the good ol’ WordPress.com Reader, of course!

Referrers

Also, click on the Summaries link on the top right of the Referrers section to view your 7-day, 30-day, quarter, year, and all-time summaries — here, you’ll see which sites and specific URLs have brought visitors to your blog, consistently, over time.

After studying your referrers, what can you do to make it easier for people to find you and your posts in the future?

If visitors find you via search engines, tag your posts appropriately as you’ve been doing. Take a look at another section on your Stats page, Search Engine Terms, to see what people have typed into search engines, like Google or Bing, to land on your site:

common-search-terms

Do more of the same. Publish more content on these topics. Refresh your posts on these subjects with up-to-date information or add links to related posts to drive people to other pages on your site.

Notice referrers from image searches, like Google Image Search? Continue to optimize the images you upload to your posts: use clear, succinct file names and add alternative text and captions, which you can do with each image via the Edit option in your Media Library. In short, if you want your images to be found, label ’em appropriately.

Continue the conversation and highlight your mentions. If someone quoted your latest think piece on racism and pop culture, consider a follow-up response and link back to the site. If you were included in a “top 20 travel blogs” roundup, toot your horn — c’mon, you deserve it! — and tell your readers in a post. You’ll find great fodder for content in your referrers. Use it!

See referrers from the same blog or website multiple times? Visit these sites often and engage with the readers and communities there, and network with and have ongoing conversations with the bloggers who continually mention you and your work. Build bridges. Or better yet, form a collective with people who share your interests or experiences.

Fill in any holes. See lots of referrers from Twitter and Facebook, but nothing from other networks? Connect to Google+, Tumblr, Path, or LinkedIn to tap into social and intellectual circles you haven’t reached.

Click, click away: where do your readers go?

While it’s enlightening to see where your visitors come from, it’s also interesting to see where they go next. Now, head over to the Clicks sectionThese are readers’ actual clicks, primarily on links that lead to other sites on the web. These links include the links you add to your posts and pages, links in your blogroll, links that visitors leave in your comments, and links attached to usernames, too.

clicks

Some suggestions and things to think about as you browse your clicks:

Are readers clicking through your blogroll? Be sure the blogs you’ve listed are active, and refresh your list periodically — if these are your favorite blogs and go-to sites, they should reveal more about you and your current interests.

Are your other social profiles getting love? If readers are clicking over to your Instagram or Flickr profiles, or seeing what you’re up to on Tumblr or LinkedIn, keep these accounts updated with new stuff, too. Lead your readers to more of your awesome creations online.

Notice lots of clicks on specific (or certain types of) links? Is a particular New York Times story link or YouTube video extremely popular? While it’s possible the content in the story or video is the real draw, it’s worth revisiting these posts to see what you wrote about and how you wrote it — and brainstorming ways to give readers more of what they want.

Ultimate questions to ask yourself: Where are you sending people once they leave your blog? Do you see any connection between your posts and the places your readers go? If many people click over to your photography elsewhere ’cause they just can’t get enough, keep publishing your awesome images. If readers love visiting a certain blogger-friend’s site, continue suggesting her posts as complementary material to your own.

No blog is an island — you’re part of a very wide web, and the richer your connections, the better. Both your referrers and clicks offer insight into how and where your blog fits in on the internet: how other users find you and your work, and how your own cozy corner here at WordPress.com is a part of a user’s serendipitous journey of reading and discovering on the web.

More reading material for you:

Other Stats Wrangling posts in this series:


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Posted by WordPress Guru