Dublin, Guinness and your website analytics

I had a great time last week speaking at the Net Imperative Digital Roadshow in Dublin. Apart from enjoying a great pint of Guinness :-) I found out that Twitter is alive and well in Ireland with over 20 active users in the audience.

As part of my presentation I covered using your website statistics to help you plan and measure the success of your online PR activities. For those of you who aren’t yet active in the online world the following is a (slightly) edited version of an article from my latest Fresh Business Thinking online PR newsletter which covered this topic.

How your website analytics can help your online PR

One of the great things about the Online Media World is that nearly everything you want to monitor or measure is there to be found. In the “real” world it is almost impossible to know what people are saying about you to their friends or colleagues in the pub or round the water cooler. Online there is a vast array of tools which allow you to track what people are saying about you including RSS, social bookmarking and Twitter.

But one of the less obvious PR tools in your armoury is your website statistics package. If you aren’t using a website statistics package yet to track activity on your site then if you only do one thing after reading this article make it signing up for such a service. Google Analytics for example is free, links to their AdWords system and can track multiple websites from one simple to use dashboard.

Why is this relevant to Online PR? Because amongst other things it tells you a number of significant pieces of information about your public relations activity.

1.Referring sites No.1 – You can use your analytics package to tell you if articles that have been written about you in response to, for instance, a news release, subsequently send traffic to your website. Assuming they included a link to your site in the article of course.

2.Referring sites No.2 – What about other news sites that are sending visitors to your website? These sites must be talking about you and by tracking these referrals you can then visit these sites and see what they said and potentially start a dialogue with them if you think you have more information they might find of interest.

3.Referring sites No.3 – Are you getting visits from social bookmarking sites such as Delicious, social networking sites such as Facebook or microblogging sites such as Twitter? If you are then it could be worth your while investing time in finding out what the relevant members of these communities think is interesting enough to spend time sharing, commenting or talking about you.

4.Keywords – The keywords that are driving traffic to your website also gives you an indication of what people find interesting about you. This could be useful when thinking about what stories might be of relevant as part of your online PR activities.

5.Visitor information – Are you getting visits from particular geographic locations? If so are they markets you currently operate in and try and target from a promotional perspective? If not then perhaps it is worth considering engaging these visitors to understand why they find your organisation relevant.

These are just a few examples of how your website statistics can give you an insight into what people find interesting about you and help you to craft a much more effective online PR strategy that is based around starting conversations with people who are relevant to you and about topics they want to talk about.