How Tracking My Statistics Helped Increase My Productivity

By Leslie Samuel
29 Comments

When it comes to running an online business, it is extremely easy to get caught up in the numbers game. I’m the kind of person who is fascinated by numbers. I like to keep up to date with how things are going with my sites numerically. I’m always interested to know…

Going beyond those stats, I also like to know how much money I’m making and how I’m making that money. Which affiliate campaigns are productive and which aren’t? Are people purchasing the services or products that I have to offer?

Why Do I Care About All Of These Details?

There are different views out there when it comes to checking your business stats. Some people just don’t care, and figure that as long as they are making money, they are fine. Others kinda care, but don’t take the time because they’d rather be doing something else. For me, I like to keep a very close eye, for the following reasons:

  1. It gives me peace of mind – I don’t know about you, but I hate not knowing how much money I have. Whenever I go without doing a budget for a while (which has been happening more recently), I have an insecure feeling about where I am. Knowing exactly where my business is gives me assurance that’s worth it’s weight in Gold.
  2. Charting the Future – It’s hard for me to determine where I’m headed if I don’t know where I currently am, or where I’m coming from. When I look at these details, it’s easier for me to come up with ideas on where I can make improvements in my business and build a better future.
  3. Early problem detection – Another very important reason is that it helps you to notice when things stop working. If, for example, I see that my opt ins go from 20 per day to 0 per day, almost overnight, that can be a warning sign for my to check to make sure my opt-in form is working. If I never check these stats, something can be broken without me even having the slightest idea what’s going on, which can result in a reduced amount of sales, and lower income. I mean really – Who likes that?

The Problem With Obsessing Over Statistics

Ok, so I’ve already covered why I believe it’s important to keep track of these details. However, if you are anything like me, this can lead to a significant problem.

I love checking these stats so much that I’ve spent a significant amount of time logging into my various accounts reviewing the numbers. I’ve down right wasted a TON of time probing into a bunch of minor details, getting excited about little bumps here and there, wondering what’s wrong when there is a decline in some area.

As you can imagine, this can be quite tedious and time consuming, and for me, this was definitely the case. I eventually came to the conclusion that it had to stop. The amount of time I spent was not resulting in enough of a profit to justify spending the time. It became an issue that needed to be dealt with.

The Stat Tracker Solution

At that point, I decided to continue checking my stats, but in a more efficient way. I decided on 11 different key metrics that gave me an good overall view of where my business is and where it is going.

Those metrics include things like…

When I wake up in the morning, after taking care of my preliminaries, the first thing I do is log into my various accounts and fill the details from the previous day into my spreadsheet. I have the spreadsheet set up to automatically produce graphs so I get a visual image of where my business is, where I’m making money and what areas of my business aren’t doing as well as I would like. I can also see what percentage of my income comes from certain affiliate promotions vs. products and services.

I’m a very visual person, so having those graphs really help me to SEE where I am, and that comes in very handy. Not only that, but having ALL the important details in ONE place has turned out to be quite valuable.

The entire process of logging into my accounts and entering the important details literally takes me around 5 minutes every day. However, I get significantly more value from this system than I’ve ever gotten before when I spent a lot more time logging into those accounts multiple times in a day. I can take a quick glance at this spreadsheet at any point and get an almost immediate overview of where my business is and how it has grown.

If you have a virtual assistant, this would be an ideal thing to have them work on and update for you. I have my assistant take care of adding the details into a spreadsheet that I uploaded into Google Docs and that works perfectly.

Should You Have A Stat Tracker?

Umm . . . Yes! It does takes some time to get it set up, but it’s definitely worth it. Here are the steps for you to take if you decide to do something like this:

  1. Decide on the important metrics in your business.
  2. Place them in a spreadsheet. You can use Microsoft Excel or Numbers (on a Mac). I’m a mac guy, so I’m particular biased to Numbers, since it has a way of making everything look so sexy and sleek :)
  3. Decide on when you are going to input data on a daily basis.

The details you track probably won’t be the same as those I track, and that’s fine. However, I’m sure you can see how this can be very handy.

About Leslie Samuel

Leslie Samuel is a blogger who believes that the internet can change the world. He runs an Interactive Biology website that Makes Biology Fun and teaches people how to grow their online business in his Learning With Leslie podcast. He also runs a Become A Blogger - A blog dedicated to helping people Change The World with their blogs. Follow Leslie Samuel on Twitter.

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29 Comments

  • You should always track your visitors.This helps in improving the content for those visitors.And in affiliate marketing it is a must one.When i started affiliate marketing i neglected it.After that i realized set up tracking.It was very hard setting up.

    • Jon

      Tracking is indeed very important, I agree with you. Too bad it is often underestimated by even the most experienced marketers (that perhaps suffer from overconfidence in their abilities?)

  • Argh. I’d prefer to enjoy a radical root canal compared to dealing with stats tracking, but I do know it’s key. So I’m going to have to add that analysis to my own daily routine as well. I know there are some nifty wordpress plugins that aid in this – will start to research.

    • This strategy works very well for those that don’t like dealing with tracking stats but know that it can be very helpful, because it really only takes me 5 minutes every day. You should try it. The good thing is – It doesn’t cost a penny :)

    • Barbara,

      I laughed when I read your comment…probably because I am the same way. However, I do see how it is necessary and beneficial. Oftentimes its the things we don’t really like doing that are the most help in the long run.

  • “Some people just don’t care…” Well that would be a very small section of the blogging/affiliate marketing community. I think most of us do care about our stats.

    That said, I am not as much into numbers and graphs as you are, but I think it’s a very valid suggestion. Having a graphical representation of stats would be very nice indeed.

  • Hi Leslie

    I’m a numbers man too and I can easily get caught up as much time in front of the spreadsheet as writing content. So, yes it is procrastination fodder, often, but since I’m very very feedback driven, the numbers also keep me going.

    One question: why don’t you mention google analytics? It does al the work for you doesn’t it?

    Dieter

    • Good question. Google analytics is vital in this entire process. That would’ve been a good thing to mention. The info in my spreadsheet deals with stats that I get from:
      - Google Analytics
      - Aweber
      - Commission Junction
      - My affiliate accounts for various programs

      • OK, I see. My tech guy takes care of the MailChimp (we’re not at Aweber – yet) stats and we don’t make much affiliate sales or sales altogether, so as far as blog traffic is concerned, all Google Analytics functionality suffices for me. If you do have all those levels together, then I understand why you would want to integrate everything into a stat sheet. We do have our accountancy on google docs, for example (costs, mostly :( )

    • Yup. Google Analytics can track the traffic and Aweber can track subscribers and open rates. There are also paid statistic programs for those that want advance stats. But those two can pretty much cover the basics.

  • Tracking can be a good thing if you want to know more about your visitors. However, it goes bad when you take every second of the day checking stats. It is the same with emails. If you take so much time, it can get ugly because you are robbing yourself of time you can dedicate for other projects.

  • I track everything I do, and this can make or break an website if you don’t understand how things are working. Google Docs do help me stay on track..

    “TrafficColeman “Signing Off”

  • I usually use Google Analytics to keep track of hard stats when it comes to traffic and where my visitors are coming from. Another tool I use is Google Webmasters, which helps me see what keywords I’m ranking for and what position they are in. I absolutely love it, because it’s easy to see where I stand. Plus, I usually find some keywords that I wasn’t even targeting in the first place.

    The only problem I have as far as stat checking is checking my income :) I do that WAY too much. That’s what I need the most help on. Trying to limit it as much as possible, because that’s what clobbers up most of my time.

    I’m downloading your stat sheet and going to take a look at it. Seems like a decent method overall.

  • I find affiliates leaving money on the table every day because of decisions they make based on “feelings” and not “DATA”.

    We believe in tracking the affiliate sale right back to the article that generated the sale (for article marketing) or even track back to the search term a visitor used if they found our site through Google, Yahoo, Bing.

    Best,
    Roger

  • I use Analytics, as well as Google Docs to bring in the Adsense, Analytics, Commission Junction, and several other revenue sources data to compare month to month on what’s working and what’s not, I would say it’s key to my motto of work smarter not harder…

  • Awesome post!
    Yeah, its good to have a website tracker! it will help you pin up some loops and bring about better changes! thanks for sharing. Have fun.

  • Frankly, I never use any other program than GA. This looks like promising tool.

  • I used to track of analytics and feedburner a lot, I have stopped as it drove me insane when number went down and made me jump when numbers were up. I agree, having a online blog, it is great to have stats, making money add up so we can make changes accordingly, I am going to check out more about this. Thanks.

  • Thanks for your advices. I’ve solved my own problems. Wanna know, here they are:

    First, I’m not kind of people who fascinated in numbers. Working with numbers drives me headache. When running my bussiness online, I don’t attach exaggerated importance to keeping tracking my statis. It really makes my business difficult. I can’t control my own! Such a nightmare.

    Second, I know google docs but I don’t use it effectively. I don’t even know it also includes graphs! It’s so bad, you know.

    Thanks again for what your great job.

  • Thanks for your advices. I’ve solved my own problems. Wanna know, here they are:

    First, I’m not kind of people who fascinated in numbers. Working with numbers drives me headache. When running my bussiness online, I don’t attach exaggerated importance to keeping tracking my statis. It really makes my business difficult. I can’t control my own! Such a nightmare.

    Second, I know google docs but I don’t use it effectively. I don’t even know it also includes graphs! It’s so bad, you know.

    Thanks again for your great job.

  • Since last two years I always use google analytics. It’s very useful to track visitors from all referrers, including search engines but now I would like to try with stat tracker. So I will download your stat sheet and going to check with it. Thanks for update me.

    • Obviously, we can find ways to increase our current ranking from analytics stat. If we have not taken action in GA, then most probably we won’t with the new tracker too.

  • This is good. I used analytics. Google anatytics and Aweber. But im still searching for other tools that can be helpful..

    • Then, you find a good alternative here. Yaro won’t simply share something is not so effective here.

  • I find keeping track of my stats a little addicting. It does help me figure out which of my posts is attracting more readers and even what kinds of titles and keywords work best.

  • I often times forget to look over my websites traffic details. I agree completely you can learn so much from your visitors and it is an often over looked method to increase your websites productivity.

    - Robert

  • there was a time when i was glued to stats and numbers (i.e. adsense earnings by the hour). as success took over, the stats became less important to observe in high frequency. today, it suffices glancing at KPIs once a month at a high level, and i do it the long way of logging in – i actually like seeing the dashboards and enjoy the process

  • Howdy! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to check it out. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Great blog and outstanding style and design.

  • I know this is truly boring and you are skipping to the next comment, but I just wanted to throw you a large thanks – you cleared up some things for me!

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