ch3 - getting traffic for analytics

(NOTE: You can download a copy of this chapter in PDF format at the very bottom of this page.)

Fun with Analytics

Chapter 3: Getting Traffic for Analytics


Welcome to Fun with Analytics. If you’ve come across this material on its own – it has two homes – one is a site where you can download copies of the chapters or read them online, at - the other is a LinkedIn Group, Learning Google Analytics, where you can discuss the material and ask questions:

In This Chapter

In this chapter we’re going to look at a couple basic techniques to generate traffic for a blog or website, following on our previous chapter about creating a blog. The purpose of these chapters is to be a self-contained experiment. Ultimately you need traffic in order to be able to look at analytics, so this chapter has a few ways to generate traffic.

Basic Social Promotion

One of the easiest ways to get some test traffic for your blog or website is through sharing the link on social media accounts you have. (If you don’t, I’d suggest signing up for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn).

And if you want more connections, you can always use the feature where you share your email contact list, and the programs can suggest new “connections”.

“How do I import friends from other accounts?”

“How to import contacts into Twitter”

“How to import contacts into Linkedin”

Once you have some connections to work with, the next step is to take the link for your blog, and post an invitation to social media. This isn’t about social media promotion per se – this is just an exercise to generate traffic, for the purpose of being able to look at the data.

Get the Link

So, go to the blog you created (see Chapter 1 of this book on Web Analytics –

And you’ll need to select and copy the link into memory.

For example, at this blog, the “general” link would be:

But there’s a difference between the blog link, and a link to individual blog posts, so click on the title of a blog post you made, and you’ll see the “longer” link – this is the one you’ll want to share on social:

TIP: visuals are good. Include a pic in the blog post. When you post to social, to get more notice, include a pic in your post. Technically you could post a photo to Facebook, and include a link in the post, but what you really want to do is include visuals in your original blog post – then when you post to social media, in some cases (Facebook/LinkedIn), it gives you the option of having a visual preview – this will get more attention, more clicks, more data to play with.

TIP – make blog posts ongoing. For learning analytics, I recommend that you get in the habit of posting once a week to a blog (or website) that is connected to google analytics, and then looking back at it. So to generate ongoing data, one thing that can help is to add the “Follow by Email” feature in Blogger. So when people visit, they can sign up to get posts automatically when you post them. In theory this should help get some ongoing clicks.

Make your Pitch

This chapter isn’t meant to replace the (free) Social Media Marketing book – I do recommend you read that too, because it’s all connected. ( But we’re just making a simple quick tour on how to get some clicks.

So when you post to social, make a pitch for clicks – just tell people what you’re up to, invite them to “click on the link below” – something like this:

Friends, colleagues, please click on this link. I’m doing a test for a free book I’m writing to help people learn Web analytics, to show readers how they can share their blog posts on social media. Every click will help generate some “data” that I can look at in the book. You’re also welcome to subscribe by email if you’re interested in the topic. (And please feel free to pass along).

Post it to Social Media

Then, take your post, put it on social media. Notice how Facebook picked up the image from the blog post in the preview.

You may not realize that you can do the same thing on LinkedIn.

When you log in, there should be a spot to “share an update”:

It’s worth trying.

And when you’re on LinkedIn, to get some clicks, don’t forget you can come to the “CASA” LinkedIn Groups and make a post there – and

.Promote Your Post

I get kind of an icky feeling even sharing this technique, but it’s built into Facebook, and it feels a bit like a mafia shakedown. (See the Social Media Marketing book for my skeptical perspective on how advertising on Facebook has evolved). Where it is because there are too many posts by too many people, or whether Facebook has intentionally limited who sees your posts – the bottom line is, not as many people will see your posts on your personal profile, unless you pay Facebook to promote them.

But the quickest, easiest way to get some more notice for your posts, is to click the Promote link at the bottom of the post, and pay the Facebook Mafia:

This extortion is probably worth the money, as a learning experience:

.Enter your credit card information, and click Pay to Promote:

It’s a one-time limited thing. A bit like blackmail. Blackmail payments have a way of growing, and not going away. So too with social networks’ interest in monetizing everything – even if you had the impression that it shouldn’t cost anything to share with the network of friends you built. I suppose Facebook provided the platform to build that network, but still. But for grins lets give Facebook the benefit of the doubt. Personal social advertising is just like professional social advertising. Pay to get exposure.

Wait, isn’t social media supposed to be “free” advertising?

At any rate, when you pay Facebook to promote your post, it then shows “Sponsored” at the bottom:


Make an Ad

Another way I’d suggest trying to add more clicks is a simple Facebook ad campaign. As much as Facebook ads have complexified as Facebook has grown, it’s still probably easier to make a Facebook ad than a Google ad, for example. Although we should probably take a poll on that, from people who have tried both.

So we’re just going to take the simplest way possible through the process, without getting into specifics. It’s all about the data.

So first, go to:

And click on the “Clicks to Website” option:

Then, take your trusty blog link – the one to the specific post, and paste it in the field:

Until/unless Facebook changes, when you paste the link it may flip you to another screen. Don’t be alarmed.

On the screen you’ll want to upload an image. It recommends a large image, and if you try to run the ad with a smaller image (like the one below that Facebook picked up from the blog post), it won’t run the ad. If you’re just testing things, you might search for “earth” on google, click the image link at the top of the google page, right-click (Windows) or CTRL-click (Mac) and save the image to disk, and use that.

TIP: If you’re enjoying this detour on the way to analytics bliss, chapter 2 of the social media marketing book does cover a few basic tools for working with content, including images, and source of images.

So when I tried a slightly larger image, it still didn’t work:

So in the end I just grabbed that “earth” image, which was 300x300, and that worked.

.After you have an image in place, type in a headline and text for the ad. It’s an art and a science, but just put in something short and direct with a call to action. The little numbers on the right tell you how many characters you have left to type in. There are limits.

Next you pick an audience. You could send it to completely random people, but you’ll end up with more clicks if you put in some interests.

.So try clicking in the Interests field, and typing in an interest, such as “social media marketing” or “web analytics”, or whatever your blog is about. If you don’t have a topic, make it about online marketing, and read all the free books, and keep posting!

As you type, options will come up, and you can click on them:

Narrow things down a bit, and then review the budget at the bottom:

If you want to limit your investment, you can click on Per Day and switch to lifetime budget.

Then click on Place Order:

And if you get a message like this, you might need to upload a new image:

(And you might need to click on the “X” by any image you uploaded that isn’t large enough – you can use multiple images to see which generates the best clicks).

Then you should get a confirmation, and you can click Continue:

If you want to come back later and see how things are doing in Facebook, try:

(And if you want to know more about Facebook ads, see the social media marketing primer at

But the overall point is, a Facebook ad may generate more clicks and attention than your personal social posts. The more clicks, the more data you have for this learning experience, the better.

And if you plan on running a month long experience, or quarter long experience (Q1, Q2, etc. – 3 months), or a semester long experience – you can always set a monthly budget, and set an end date, and just let the thing run. If you do something like that, be sure to blog regularly, such as once a week. Follow the tips to add “Follow by Email”. And see how things go. In some cases Web Analytics is a dedicated role, but it’s fair to say that in many cases it’s a skill anyone can use, including people who are responsible for getting traffic in the first place.

Don’t Forget the LinkedIn Group

For extra traffic, come and make your blog post to, and, and chances are anyone who is in either group will give you some clicks.

Learning More

Here’s a few more resources to review for getting more traffic/contacts: > Social Media Marketing

  • social bookmarking

  • offline promotion – fancy that!

(Getting more contacts to post to):

“How do I import friends from other accounts?”

“How to import contacts into Twitter”

“How to import contacts into Linkedin”


Congratulations on exploring how to “generate” analytics! It’s important to set these things in motion – partly because having real live data is more fun than just looking at a screenshot of data. Next up we’ll look at how to “review” performance.


You are welcome to visit and join the LinkedIn Group at - if you want to come on and say “huh?” or if you would like to set me straight on something, or just have some feedback.

Remember, there are NO DUMB QUESTIONS. If you have the question, someone else surely also did.

(NOTE: You can download a copy of this chapter in PDF format at the very bottom of this page.)
Todd Kelsey,
Aug 12, 2014, 8:25 AM