There's lots of blogging "advice" going around about what to include in your sidebar, but rarely do I see numbers to back this up. So I went poking around to find out which links perform well, and which don't - and I used Google Analytics to do it. Here's how.
After signing in, click the date range at the top right hand side of the page, and a menu will pop out which will allow you to select the dates you would like to look at. I'm looking back at the month of July 24 - Aug. 24, 2013.
Choose "Content" and then from the drop down menu choose "In Page Analytics."
If there is a problem loading the in-page analytics, then click the option for "Load In Full View", which will open up your website homepage in a browser, with the Google Analytics bar at the top. This will show you Pageviews etc. but what we're interested in at the moment, is the number of clicks for the various items in your sidebar. So scroll down and let's start looking - here's what I found for my site's homepage - Girlxoxo.com.
- The image with my blog name, which links to the home page & the link to "More About Me" - 12%
- The social media buttons - 0%
- Recent posts (7 listed) - total 26.5%
- Link to the Archives - 2.3%
- Books Read Recently (images) - 0%
- Books Read in 2013 - 0%
- Categories have been clicked on - Book Discussions, 0.8% and Blogging Tips, 0.8%.
- Link to see all the categories on the blog - 0.8%
- Literary Awards Calendar - 0%
So What Does This All Mean
- People really do check the "About Me" page. Better make it a little more spiffy.
- The "Recent Entries" is the most popular item in my sidebar - so that aint going nowhere.
- Doesn't seem like anyone is interested in my "Book Awards Calendar" but I like having it there are a reference, and since my sidebar isn't really cluttered, it aint going nowhere either.
- The images look great in my sidebar - but they aren't getting any clicks. Maybe I'll experiment with switching to text.
- Some categories aren't being viewed, but since I don't list all the categories in the sidebar, I can switch out some that aren't being clicked on, and see how others perform.
Do you have a stats software for your blog? Can you see how each item in our sidebar performs? Which links perform best?
Check out the Google Analytics section to see more tips on how to use this stats program effectively.