KPIs for Google Analytics

Data Mining KPIs

There's a tool all of us use and just about no one knows exactly what it does. I'm talking about Google Analytics. I've been using it for almost a decade now and I'm still discovering new features. And by “new” I mean features it's always had but I didn't know about.

So to help anyone else out who might be in my shoes I've made a list of useful metrics you can track in Google Analytics.

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Have You Heard of Trypod?

Woman Listening to Headphones

The month of March is all about #trypod. It's a month long campaign between dozens of podcast producers to get people who are podcast fanatics (that's me) to recommend podcasts to others (that's you). Since I find podcasts so valuable I'm helping out.

I'm going to share my favorite podcasts and why they're my favorite. I'll also share some podcasts I used to love and why I no longer listen to them. And then I'll share how I listen to my podcasts efficiently.

My Favorite Podcasts

From top, being my most favorite, to the bottom, the ones I'm probably going to drop soon.

NPR Politics Podcast

NPR Politics Podcast

The NPR Politics Podcast started about 1.5 years ago and talked primarily about the US 2016 election. And now that that's over they cover the current state of politics.

This is the only podcast where when they're late posting episodes I actually notice. They have a weekly recap of everything politics Thursday as well as episodes covering current events.

They do a phenomenal job summarizing the news into digestible bites. I feel like I can skip the day to day news digest and get a really good 40 minute summary with this podcast.

After I listen to this podcast I'll often see articles on Facebook that are missing the nuance of the situation… if only everyone listened to this podcast.

99% Invisible

99% Invisible

99% Invisible talks about the hidden design in everything. They have really well crafted episode that show us how things we use everyday are either poorly or well designed. Often these things are invisible to me until they point them out. And then I see them everywhere!

They just had a phenomenal 2 part series (1 & 2) on where Sanctuary Cities come from. Hint: nothing to do with liberal cities.

Planet Money

Planet Money

Planet Money is an NPR podcast all about economics. They talk about the economic principles behind water shortages in California, what the border adjustment tax could look like, and what effect, if any, refuges have on the economy.

My favorite episode from last year might have been a panel of 22 economists that weighed in on the primary candidates for the 2016 election (Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, & Ted Cruz). In short just about every economic theory they put out there had flaws in it.

eCommerce Fuel LogoeCommerceFuel

eCommerceFuel is both a private community and a podcast. The private community is 6-7 figure store owners who talk about everything e-commerce. And the podcast features that community and other e-commerce experts. There's really great content on here.

And it's higher level content. Very rarely are people asking about the best tool for X. They're talking about higher level strategies.

Unfortunately the host, Andrew, Youderian, has taken a bit of a backseat and now we're only getting monthly episodes instead of weekly episodes. But the content is still good. If you're into e-commerce at all you should listen to this.

Reveal LogoReveal

Reveal is an investigative journalism podcast. They talk about everything. They had a great episode on how the US Navy builds ships (hint: poorly), one on air pollution around schools, and one on current border issues and how that might change.

They tend to focus on one topic, ex. US naval industry, and then approach it from three different angles. For the naval industry they look at how ships are approved from congress, the working conditions on a shipyard, and how one fishery observer went missing. The different angles really help you understand how nuanced these problems are.

Apply Filters LogoApply Filters

Apply Filters is the go-to WordPress podcast for developers. And in this case by developer I mean people who code. They interview interesting people (and some not-so-interesting people 😉 ), discuss recent WordPress developments, and answer Q&As.

And my favorite part might be where Brad & Pippin give their updates. It's pretty amazing to listen to updates like these that go back for multiple years. You can see that things don't just happen. Life is a marathon and then only way you get somewhere is by putting one foot in front of the other over and over.

Unemployable LogoUnemployable

Unemployable is a podcast hosted by Brian Clark, the man behind the Rainmaker platform.

He talks about about marketing & audience building. And interviews a lot of entrepreneurs. My favorite aspect are all of the entrepreneurs he interviews. They aren't just people who have made a lot of money. And they typically aren't VC funded companies. They're usually people who have built a business with profit in mind since day 1.

Nerd Marketing LogoNerd Marketing

Nerd Marketing is a short but very tactical podcast. Drew Sanocki does awesome marketing for e-commerce companies. And he tells (and sometimes shows) how to do the exact campaigns he does for his e-commerce companies.

He goes very deep into e-commerce & newsletter marketing if that's your thing.

Invisible Details LogoInvisible Details

Invisible Details is an interesting podcast. They talk about branding. And all of the tiny things that matter but aren't directly related to business.

I like the podcast but it's a bit long for me. I'm hoping for the same sort of content but boiled down a bit more. I really like the hosts. I think I'd be able to have a cup of coffee with them. And their style is great.

The Independent Characters LogoThe Independent Characters

The Independent Characters is a podcast all about Warhammer 40,000. Yes. A podcast about my hobbies.

For a Warhammer nerd it's pretty great. The host, Carl, is just a phenomenal guy who cares very much about the hobby.

The Long War LogoThe Long War

The Long War is another podcast I really enjoy. They also talk about Warhammer 40k. This is more of a “most recent news” type podcast.

While The Independent Characters is really well thought out. Sometimes you want to hear whats going on every week.

Business Reimagined LogoBusiness Reimagined

Business Reimagined comes out about once a month which I enjoy. I can only listen to so many weekly podcasts.

Danny talks about online education which is something that is very relevant to me.

I enjoy the show but I don't love the format. It seems scripted. Like they write every workd ahead of time and they just read off of a script. I'd like something a little more authentic and a little less polished. Just a personal preference of mine. I'm still listening to this podcast but I might replace it soon.

Business Reimagined LogoShopify Masters

Shopify Masters talks to store owners who use Shopify. The talk about all sorts of things. If you are thinking about starting your own store I highly recommend this podcast. One episode they'll talk about sourcing your products, in another they'll talk about micro-influencers, and in another they'll talk about intellectual property law.

It's neat in that you can learn anything related to e-commerce. The only issue I have is that the velocity is a bit high for me. There are several hour long episodes per week. I have a hard time choosing which ones to skip and which to listen to. So I'll probably replace this podcast soon. But if you're getting into e-commerce definitely give it a listen.

Old Favorites

I also have some old favorites. I've heard them for years and learned just about all I think I can learn from them. But they might be useful for you.

How to Optimize Your Experience

I use Pocket Casts to listen to my podcasts on Android. Using a few features like:

  • 1.1X listening speed
  • Removing long silences

I was able to save 1 day & 1 hour of listening time out of 8 days & 22 hours total listening time since last year.

Try a Podcast

If you don't already listen to podcasts just look at the amount of content I consumed in a year! 8 days + 22 hours. That's 214 hours of content! That's an hour long webinar 4 days a week every week of the year. And I do that without having to be in-front of a screen. I could be walking my dog, washing the dishes, or walking to a coffee shop.

If you aren't already listening to podcasts. Now is a great time to start. And it doesn't have to be one of the above. There's a huge list of podcasts on #TryPod.

Happy podcasting!

What do you do?

mountain peak with flag - mission

It's been more than 6 months since I left my job. And when someone asks me what I do I still don't know how to answer. Because I've done a bunch of things.

  • I helped a WordPress software company market their products.
  • I helped debug a few WooCommerce bugs.
  • I helped a WordPress VIP company with a proposal for an e-commerce project.
  • I'm helping a hosting company create infrastructure made for WooCommerce.
  • I'm helping WooCommerce choose topics & speakers for WooConf.
  • And this whole time I've been making e-commerce courses for Lynda.com.

So it's hard to answer. Do I go with what I'm working on today? Do I go with what I've been doing the longest? Or do I go with what I want to be working on?

Mission

I've found that what I do on a week to week basis varies quite a bit. But my mission has been pretty consistent:

Help people build their own business

And e-commerce is an arena where I have a lot of expertise and can help them succeed.

Plans

Some people obsess over plans. They want to have a 1, 5, & 10 year plan. And they stick to these plans even when they shouldn't. And I think this is because many people don't know how to make an impact in this world without large & complicated plans.

But large and complicated plans don't guarantee you make an impact. They just guarantee you'll accomplish some thing at some point. And this resonates with something that Seth Godin said:

A ten-year plan is absurd. Impossible, not particularly worth wasting time on. On the other hand, a ten-year commitment is precisely what's required if you want to be sure to make an impact.

And this is how I'm approaching my business. I have a mission: to help people build businesses. And anything that falls under that mission is something I would consider working on.

I have a 2-3 month plan and when I finish that plan then I start a new 2-3 month plan.

I'm working on different course ideas, talking to companies, and helping individuals. And my plans keep changing. And for right now that's okay. I'm trying lots of things and figuring out where I can make the most impact.

It's still a tough question when someone asks me what I do. But at least now I answer with:

I help people build online stores.

It covers my mission, provides a hook if they're interested, and it keeps my options open.

So if you have trouble answering the “what do you do question” just think about your mission. It's the most true thing you can say anyway. You can always go into more detail if they express interest.

Habits Over Motivation

Man Running Through Town

Thursday morning was cold. The weather was slightly foggy & overcast, and I foolishly only brought running shorts & a t-shirt. Despite the conditions I ran 3.2 miles and I had an 8:57 minute pace which is the best time I've had in over a year!

This past year I've been hot & cold with running. On average I ran twice a month. But there were months where I didn't run at all. And one month where I ran eight times. There was no consistency. And every time I started running after a break I had to start all over again. Running 12 minute miles which is pretty bad for me.

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For Better User Interviews Be An Outsider

Two Groups People Divided

Over the last few weeks I've been talking to WooCommerce store owners. I've been asking them questions about what they're struggling with, what they want to learn about, and where they want to go.

I've been asking these sorts of questions for the last couple of years. But recently I've heard different responses:

“There’s a perception in the community that Automattic is taking over all the things”

“I’ve been using [WooCommerce] since 2011. It was pretty crap back then.”

“The Woo people were the least interesting, most boring, most useless talks.”

I'm getting lots of positive feedback but I've seen an increase in negative feedback.

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Filter Google Analytics Crawler Spam

Multiple data filters

Crawler spam is what happens when a bot crawls through your site and leave fake data. They might leave a fake referral just to get you to check out the referring website.

Social Network Traffic Spikes

Wowzors I must be improving my writing. Look at these spikes on social media!

In fact I've had this exact thing happen. I was looking at my analytics and thought someone mentioned one of my articles on Reddit because over a few day period I got several hundred visits. I wasted my time digging through analytics to try to find the exact post.

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