Are your site metrics getting you down? I mean really getting you down, depressing you each time you look? Are you measuring your worth by the number of ad clicks you got today? It’s not surprising, if you’re working for yourself online, but it’s a slippery slope into a new type of addiction that can and does cause depression.
Being a web worker is such a new profession, and the external factors preventing success so numerous, that few studies have been done regarding how website performance can cause depression. It’s unlike a traditional business, where you have a relatively greater amount of control over your forecasting your revenues.
More than a few bloggers have expressed the concern that building a stable, revenue-earning blog takes a serious commitment but can be emotionally draining, and that it’s difficult to rely on stable income. You have several factors to be concerned about:
- Coming up with fresh content.
- SE (Search Engine) “penalties”, or having your blog be ignored by SE spiders.
- Having content stolen by scrapers.
- Ranking lower in an SE than a social media site that uses your content simply because the story submitter used the exact same title.
- All of the above, simultaneously.
This sometimes fuels the need to constantly check your site metrics all day long. But unless you’re doing something about your site performance on a given day, checking your metrics obsessively is kind of like watching the proverbial kettle boil.
In other words, it doesn’t matter. Heisenberg’s Wave Equation aside, checking your metrics does not change them. All it does is give you temporary highs or lows of emotion. Here are some suggestions:
- Focus on trends over time.
- Review short/ medium/ long-term trends for your blog/site, which is far more valuable than knowing what you earned at 5 pm today.
- More specifically, use data “windows” of 30-60-90-etc days and run moving average windows on various metrics (pageviews, clicks, revenue). [This is something I’ll get into in the near future.]
- Trend information can be used to choose future actions for your blog (such as adding more content, adding specific content, changing the direction of your blog, or dumping your blog and working in another niche).
I use a combo of site metrics tools including Performancing’s PMetrics, Google Analytics, Sitemeter, and various WordPress plugins. Each has its own strength, but I really most on PMetrics and sometimes Google Analytics. I know that many people have their eyes glaze over when the subject of statistics comes up, so I’ll do my best to cover trend analysis as simply as possible, with diagrams and sample spreadsheets, in upcoming posts here at Performancing.
What do you use for checking your metrics? Do you obsess about the daily numbers? Does it help, at least emotionally, or does it make you feel worse?