With the evident rise in the number of multi-author blogs, we really need some tools to measure how efficient an author is. Today I am going to show you how to use Google Analytics to do it. Since, almost all blogs already use this service it should be easy to implement it.
Before we show you how to measure efficiency we must first learn how to setup Google Analytics the right way so that it records all the required data.
How to Configure Google Analytics for WordPress?
I know the Thesis theme has an in built feature where you can just paste your tracking code from Google Analytics. Now, the trouble there is that you will have to do a lot of customization with the tracking code in order to correctly record each event. So, to keep it simple we are going to remove the tracking code from Thesis Site Options and instead install “Google Analytics for WordPress.”
In case you already have the plugin installed, well and good. Now, go to the Settings page for this plugin. Under Custom Variables Settings make sure the “Author Name” checkbox is ticked. In case you enabled it right now, Google Analytics will be able to record author data only from today and will not display data from the past even though it may be recording other data since earlier.
Now that we know how to record the Author specific data we need to learn how to view it.
How to View Author Data in Google Analytics?
You can use Google Analytics to see which Author is getting the most traffic to your website. This is something your WordPress Dashboard can’t tell you. You can measure efficiency on both long term and short term basis. Now what do I mean by these?
When I say long term, I will be looking at combined statistics of a few months together and compare each author’s stats. Similarly, like the name suggests short term study will help us look at immediate results. For example, you may need to decide which author deserves how much pay by looking at the record of last 30 days, if you have pay per post authors for your blog.
Measuring Long Term Efficiency:
Once you Sign in to Google Analytics and select your Blog, Click on Visitors on the left pane and then on Custom Variables.
Now, Under Custom Variables, select Author in the right hand frame.
Now, select the period you want to review by clicking on the Calendar/Timeline in upper right corner. For example, we are choosing a period of one year from Jan 1, 2010 to Jan 1, 2011 for CallingAllGeeks Blog.
Now, as you can see in the screenshot above, we are able to see the following attributes about each Author for the chosen period.
- Total No. of Visitors
- Total No. of Page Hits
- Avg. Time spent by Reader on Site
- % New Visits
- Bounce Rate
Of these values, some hold a lot of importance while others don’t. For example, for a new blog % New Visits is absolutely irrelevant as it is going to be same for all Authors. You can choose to sort the list based on any of the above values. In the above example, the list is sorted according to number of visitors.
Measuring Short Term Efficiency:
First, let’s discuss why the previous approach won’t work in this case. Sure, we can filter the timeline to show Visits from only the last month but the results will show you hits from articles posted before the period too.
For example, if we are viewing Author A’s stats it will show hits for both his posts published in last month as well as those published a few years ago.
This method will require some Spreadsheet Expertise on your part if you have a lot of authors and many posts. Navigate to Content > Content by Title in the left hand frame.
Click on Show Rows at the bottom and increase it to 500. Now, export all the data to a spreadsheet by clicking on the Export button at the top. Write a Macro to sum up all the numbers for a particular author by comparing it to the list of current Articles(fetched from WordPress). It requires some work the first time, but the results are really worth it. If you know an easier way to do this, please do share it with us.
Why should We Measure Author Efficiency?
I would use this data to check which Author’s stats are falling and whose are on the rise. At the end of the day it’s not just all about pay but about learning. While writing for CallingAllGeeks we learn from both the good qualities and the shortfalls of other Authors. Thus, helping each other.
Let us know how you like this post and your suggestions, if any.