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Jeff Sauer

Interview with Jeffalytics: How to Get Web Traffic

We talked to Jeff Sauer, aka Jeffalytics, a natural-born problem solver who has been creating and measuring on the web since he was in 8th grade. He was named the 2012 CIO of the Year in Minneapolis/St. Paul for emerging companies.

Jeffalytics is the persona that he has adopted to develop an audience that is interested in sharing the same level of excitement and passion that he does for online marketing.

We asked Jeff to share some of his secrets of success as a blogger, a web creator, and a sage business coach, especially when it comes to one much-neglected aspect of maintaining a blog, and that is the metrics.

Is Google Analytics sufficient for a full insight into the performance of your website or should some additional tools be used?

I look at Google Analytics as the central nervous system of your marketing campaigns. It may not be the best tool for measuring every single digital activity, but it is always there to support your efforts.

Most of the time, I don’t consider Google Analytics to be the best in class at any one function of analytics. However, it’s always there, it’s powerful, and it’s free, so for most marketers, it is synonymous with their analytics.

What tools are best in class, then? Well, there are hundreds of SEO tools for SEO functions. Hundreds of PPC tools for PPC functions, etc. The more specific the tool, the more powerful the features. But it often comes back to Google Analytics always being there when you need it the most.

What important metrics do people miss when analyzing the success of their individual blog posts?

Bloggers often set KPIs that have nothing to do with the reality of the outcomes they create. For example, they may focus on writing five times a day to meet a self-imposed deadline, thinking that quantity will win over quantity.

I’ve looked at the analytics for thousands of blogs, and quality always wins.

Quantity may get short term pageviews (like a sugar rush) but rarely has a long term impact. A well-researched, thorough blog post with thousands of words could have a traffic impact for years to come.

No matter how you monetize your blog, more web traffic means more revenue. So focusing on what drives traffic long-term is what I find to be the most important activity for bloggers. Write less, write better quality, and you will be rewarded.

Where do bloggers make mistakes when analyzing their audience’s behavior through Google analytics?

Most bloggers don’t analyze their audience’s behavior in Google Analytics, so the mistake is not doing this at all.

How often should a blogger monitor Google Analytics and make adjustments to the website according to it?

To me, it’s simple. Unless you are sharing your content to a social platform or have cracked the viral code, most blogs sustain their web traffic from search engines. So if you want to improve how search engines view and send traffic to your content, learn from what’s working. Study your successes, and work to replicate them over time on other posts. Also, target specific keywords with each post, and study your results in Google Search Console.

Do you need advanced knowledge of WordPress or any other blogging platform to independently manage a website if you’re only just starting your blog?

If you are starting a blog, the #1 thing you can do is write. Most people wait for perfect inspiration, and for 99% of people – it won’t come. So just keep on writing and eventually, you’ll get better at writing and find your voice. Maybe even a small audience. From there, you can start to define who you really are, and worry about the platform you choose to reach an extended audience.

How to choose the perfect niche for the blog?

Research a topic, find terrible results and build something better.

What are your biggest challenges in maintaining a professional marketing blog?

My biggest challenge is curbing my ambition and writing a manageable number of posts and releasing them more consistently. I’ve got no shortage of ideas that come through questions from my Data Driven students. The key is to organize them in a way that answers their questions and draws in prospective students from search engines. Not every answer deserves a blog post, and there are only so many hours in a day.

Being strategic with how you use your time is key to long-term blogging success.

How can Google Analytics help you monitor your competition?

There are benchmark reports in Google Analytics, but they don’t provide details on known competitors. Generally, you will need to look elsewhere if you want to monitor competitors.

How do you manage to travel full time, be a non-profit member of several marketing organizations and teach people to become better marketers, while keeping your business and blog in line?

Good question. The key is to focus on long term goals, and then translate them to short term activities. The further I get into building my business (and travel, which I have done full time since 2015) is to plan for periods of extreme productivity and use these times to produce assets. Then use the rest of your time to plan for the future, research, and build a team to execute.

The biggest productivity gain I have had in business is to hire smart team members who can build upon the foundation I put in place. The team is the secret to it all!

What do you do for fun outside of work?

My favorite activities are travel hacking, exercising, food, and wine. I’m always striving to enjoy the best that the world has to offer and work hard to provide the best marketing education materials in the business.

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